New Book a Must Read for Anglers Without Boats

Options for Miami-Dade and Broward Counties of Florida

Lydia Le of Sebastian - 32snook

Lydia Le of Sebastian with a 32″ snook

When you think of saltwater fishing in Florida, you think of heading offshore in a boat. But plenty of fish are caught from beaches, piers, jetties and bridges, and a new book explains exactly how anglers without boats can do that.

“The Ultimate Guide to Fishing South Florida on Foot” by Fort Lauderdale outdoors writer Steve Kantner, is a detailed, comprehensive guide to catching everything from snook, pompano and tarpon to mackerel, sharks and bluefish, as well as freshwater species such as largemouth and peacock bass, grass carp and snakeheads. Published by Stackpole Books, with a suggested retail price of $29.95, the 260-page softcover book is available at tackle stores and numerous online sites.

Kantner, 66, has had tremendous success catching fish from shore in the region for nearly 60 years. A fly casting instructor and light tackle expert, Kantner also is adept at using heavy duty conventional outfits to tackle big saltwater species. Depending on where he’s fishing and what the fish are doing, he’ll catch them on lures, flies, dead baits and live baits.

The book explains how to rig and fish those different offerings and has loads of color photos of them, as well as instructions on how to tie the flies. There are also photos of fish and fishing spots and directions on how to access those spots and where to park your vehicle. There’s also information you can’t get anywhere else, like what side of a canal snook and tarpon will swim on during the incoming and falling tide.

Even if you have a boat, you’ll catch more fish after reading this book. I have fished with Kantner many times over the past 20 years, and I’ve never ceased to be amazed by how he can glance at the water and figure out exactly what we need to do. After reading his book, I now know that he considers the wind strength and direction, the tide stage, the water clarity and flow and the presence of bait, among other factors.

If conditions are right, we’ll fish. But rather than just flinging a lure or fly or live bait into the water, Kantner puts it in a specific spot and retrieves it a certain way to elicit strikes from the fish we’re after. His book tells you exactly how to do that.

Take pompano, a highly esteemed food fish caught by surf and pier anglers. Kantner prefers to use baits such as sand fleas, clams, and fresh, dead shrimp, which he puts on a No. 1 to 2/0 Kahle hook. Typically he rigs two or three of the hooks in series above a pyramid sinker. He casts the baits slightly upwind, which helps keep the sinker anchored and the line free of seaweed, so that it lands just beyond where the sand meets the clearer water.

As far as places to surf fish, Kantner doesn’t mince words. He called Miami-Dade and Broward counties a “surfcaster’s wasteland. Not only is fishing marginal at best, just getting to a fishable beach is a nightmare. It’s hardly worth the effort when a better opportunity lies just 30 miles north, in Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties.” And then he tells you exactly where in those counties to fish.

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Steve Waters has been the outdoors writer for the Sun Sentinel since August of 1990. He got his start in journalism in Charleston, S.C., where he was a sportswriter and covered sailing. In his spare time, he fished for striped bass on the famed Santee-Cooper lakes with one of the high school football coaches he knew and later bought a bass boat so he could fish there on his own. When his sports editor at his next paper, The Tuscaloosa News, found out he had a boat, he asked him if he wanted to cover the outdoors in addition to covering the Crimson Tide. It wasn't long before Waters realized that writing about fishing was way more fun than covering Alabama football. He went on to cover the outdoors for two more newspapers and a TV station, as well as sports ranging from golf and baseball to NASCAR and the NHL, before writing full-time about fishing, boating, sailing, diving, hunting, powerboat racing and environmental issues for the Sun Sentinel.

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