Using Fishbites E-Z Clam strip baits, Local surf caster Manuel Briceno landed what turned out to be the world’s largest Pompano, landed on the shores of South Fl.
Fishbites goes “Behind the Reel” to hear to hear the full story of the Venezuelan born Horse trainer – turned “King of the beach” Pompano fisherman, Manuel Briceno, Vero Beach FL.
Manuel was born in Venezuela and didn’t go fishing much as a child. His father had large fishing boats and it was more like work than pleasure to Manuel. “The smell of the fuel and all of the blood just wasn’t for me” he said.
It wasn’t until after finishing college in South Florida that Manuel began to learn to fish. Local surf casters taught him to read the tides, white caps, sun placement and ultimately turned him on to Fishbites EZ Clam Strips scented bait.
One afternoon, enjoying the scenery and sunset, he had a hit like no other. He had two lines out, one using fresh sand flea, the other Fishbites. The rod with the Fishbites took off and bent over as if he had a large shark on. “It went side to side. At first I thought it was a shark, but the sharks typically show themselves by jumping or showing off their fins. This fish kept running hard side to side. I kept pressure on it, constantly reeling and backing up on the beach, hoping I wouldn’t lose it. I knew it was a monster!” It appeared! “I saw him swim sideways through the wave. With the sun shining down on it, it almost glowed. It was a big deal, it really changed my life”.
“I used to be anxious all the time. I was driven with work and deadlines. This fish taught me to enjoy life. He (The fish) was sent there for a reason” says Manuel. “I have learned to enjoy the moment, to relax, to appreciate things more.”
Although he knew he had a special fish, he didn’t know just how special it was. He had started cleaning the fish when one of his fisherman friends told him to get it checked out. They looked up the record and found that the FL record was 8.2 lbs and the world record was 8.4 lbs. He took the fish to the bait shop and it tipped the scales at 8.8 lbs – gutted! “It would have weighed so much more if I had known. Next time – I’ll know what to do! I am out to get another world record fish!”
We spent some time talking with Manuel. He was generous with some very helpful tips for catching Pompano. “The best time to go fishing is two hours before low tide and when the sea is choppy. The Pompano like to get close to the shore, camouflaged with the water to avoid the different risks of predators, it is a very nervous fish. That’s why they appear in the chop. You can stand close to the shore and close to the swirl. It’s the best way and time to fish when it comes to beach fishing. It’s because the tide brings all kinds of foods and nutrients for the fish. All of the small and big fish come together – it’s when the food chain comes to play.”
“When I go fishing, I use Fishbites, and it is the best bait. It has different flavors, I use the different flavors in depending of what I’m going to fish for. I like shrimp flavor, orange color, and pink sand fleas because the look like sand flea eggs. When the bait touches the salt water it releases its flavor and attracts the fish – that’s how you get it! I personally recommend Fishbites, it is the best bait in the market.”
Manuel, now completely hooked himself on fishing, has spent countless hours perfecting the art of catching Pompano. He has perfected what he calls the King Pompano rigs, which are sold all over South Florida. He has mastered the hook size, a pink poly tubing that covers the shank protecting against mackerel bite offs, he adds a jingle at the top, and then adds a piece of Fishbites scented bait. “It’s a triple threat – it’s visual, it makes a noise and the scent spreads drawing them in, you can’t miss” he says.
“The rigs I use have three or two hooks. I prefer two hooks because you want to throw you bait as far as possible. The bigger Pompanos are in the deeper waters. Having only two hooks allow you to throw farther, it’s all strategy”.
“Fishbites made this artificial bait with the color of the sand flea’s eggs, so you put it in the hook and when the hook touches the water it spreads the sand fly’s odor and that’s when the pompano comes smell the sand fly, sees its color and it comes to attack and plakata!!
“You got it and now you are the king of the beach!”
King Pompano Rigs
To get your own King Pompano Rig, handmade my Manuel Briceno, call 954-384-9107, and/or email [email protected].
Here is the video in both English and Spanish! Enjoy!