So, there we were on our last evening, facing a dinner of hot dogs, beans an assorted leftover vegatables. We decided to hit the old Coast Guard pier, which had long served as a last resort, and from which all manner of fish had been caught over the years. In particular, we hoped that we might be able to hook into a flounder or two.
Two of the gang put out Sea Striker flounder rigs, one tried a Berkley Gulp jig, while another trolled a Gotcha Plug. I put out a basic two-hook weighted leader baited with shrimp and cut mullet, vying to catch anything, though knowing recent history suggested sand shark and skate would be the most likely to bite.
Not even a nibble for any of us.
The sun was giving us another or so hour of daylight, when the Gotcha Plug hooked into a fair size croaker. Hardly enough to feed one of us, but it gave me an idea. I rigged up my Penn International trolling rod and reel combo with a Carolina live bait rig, blew up a balloon and attached it to the rig’s ring, live hooked the croaker, and flung it off the pier.
It took a while, but the wind, tide and swimming live fish bait eventually pushed the rig some 100 yards out from the pier. Out where my father had hooked into a King Mackerel many years before.
And, Bam! Right as the sun was going down, the balloon exploded as a fish erupted out of the water with the live bait and rig in mouth. He fought hard, but the fish was no match for the Penn combo.
It wasn’t the hoped-for king mackerel, but it was a 24-pound bluefish, more than enough for dinner.