The baitfish massacre of last month has ended, as it was bound to do. It was spectacular while it lasted, I’d love to see that become a regular event of the November and December time frame, I could call it the “winter warm up”. But we’ve moved on now to more typical and also very entertaining fishing for January. Bluefish, Spanish mackerel, (some of the Spanish have been huge, seven or eight pounds and fight more like kingfish), king mackerel pompano, barracuda, ladyfish and the first encounters with spinner sharks. There are also some spots literally choked with nice jacks in the ten to twenty pound range. One spot especially has been very cool. The jacks are in a massive school on the bottom in about forty feet of clear water. Using a ten or twelve-weight rod, you drop a large surface popper out on a long cast over the school. The first loud “Chug” of the popper causes the water to turn white as the entire school comes up off the bottom to investigate. At the second “chug” a dozen jacks all pile on the popper. Loads of fun.
There has been another spot where just about all of the above-mentioned species are all in attendance in five to twenty feet of water in close along the beach. Several times we’ve managed four different species on four consecutive casts.
 I managed to explode a twelve weight in this spot a few days ago. The spinner sharks were there, but with so much food in the area, they wouldn’t come up a scent trail to throw a fly at. But if I threw around a teaser plug for the bluefish, a dozen bluefish would pile on the plug and this would get the attention of the spinners. The shark would come up behind the pack of bluefish, the bluefish would peel off and the shark would continue after the teaser plug, giving about a three second window where one might get a fly where it needed to be. Well, it was a little beyond what my guy could muster, understandably so, since he had just had his first casting lesson and had never even seen a twelve weight fly rod, so he was doing teaser duty and I was attempting to pick off the shark on the way in. Just as I let go on a long cast, the shark changed direction. The fly landed in the water, I took up the slack and heaved back to pick up the fly and re-direct the cast and just as I reached the apex of the pick-up, a ten pound jack hit the shark fly going the other direction. And Ka Pow!!!!! I’ve heard a lot of rods break, and this one let go with a sound like a 22 cal. pistol shot. Four extra pieces of the rod lying on the deck. Totally my fault, I’m sure no rod on the market would have survived this experience. And to add insult to injury, the jack is still hooked up, and in the process of hand lining him to the boat, the shark comes back and eats him. Now I’m hand lining, bare handed I might add, a spinner shark. Obviously, and thankfully, this doesn’t last long, which is good that I manage to break him off because what was left of the shattered rod, including the reel, were in very real danger of going over the side in a hurry. From rod breaking to the aftermath of the shark-tug-o-war all happened in about twenty seconds, at the end of which my customer looks at me and asks if that was what was supposed to happen. I almost fell over laughing.