Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

HAVING A PLAN B IS THE KEY Switch Baits to Find Meal Fit for King

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

HAVING A PLAN B IS THE KEY Switch Baits to Find Meal Fit for King

Article excerpt

It has happened to everyone who kingfishes. The boat is

gassed, the weather is fine, the sea is flat but -- what's

this? -- there's no bait on the beach.

Now what do you do?

If you're Steve Proctor, captain of the Wellcraft Blue Magic

boat, you improvise. Whether you're tournament fishing or simply

fun trolling, the ability to produce alternative baits can be

critical to success.

Proctor, who has won a dozen kingfish tournaments over the

years, will come prepared this week for the Nissan Greater

Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament. Assuming pogies are available

for cast-netting on the beach, Proctor will slow troll with

them, in conjunction with ribbonfish baits. Live pogies have

caught most of the winning fish in past kingfish tournaments.

But should he and the other anglers come up pogie-less this

week, Proctor will have other options. He knows that several

unlikely baits -- dead weakfish and spots, live mullet and

croakers -- have suckered the biggest king in the Jacksonville

tournament.

Proctor remembers one GJKT in particular, several years ago.

There were no pogies to be had -- none -- so he stuffed his

cooler with 20 ribbonfish and ran to Matanzas Inlet.

"Fifteen minutes after we started fishing, we had a 40-pound

king," Proctor said. "Then we caught 12 more kings, all about 20

pounds, two tarpon, two cobia and three sharks.

"We didn't miss a fish. It was one of those great days, and

ribbonfish was all we had."

Ribbonfish, which have been scarce lately, will be at a premium

for this week's tournament. Already last week, they were

reportedly selling for up to $8 apiece. But for attracting big

kingfish, Proctor ranks ribbons right up there with pogies.

Menhaden, a.k.a. pogies, are the live bait of choice for beach

kingfishermen. They can be easy to find -- or impossible. The

signs to look for include diving pelicans, "flips" in the water

and mud balls or areas where the baitfish have churned up the

bottom. …

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