Sunday, September 16, 2007

Capt. Bouncer Smith ~ South Florida's Top Fishing Guide

I first met Bouncer at The House of Snook perhaps twenty years ago. That North Miami bait and tackle shop was a local institution on and off, through several incarnations and two or three owners, from the time it was started by Russel Franz in the early 1950's until it finally faded off into history fifteen or so years ago. Like any successful fishing guide Bouncer didn't shop at just one place. He made sure to spread his purchases around, getting to know everybody that possibly might steer business in his direction. He was good at promoting himself on the radio and in the newspaper as well as varoious fishing magazines. He could do this because he could produce the fish! He was also an active member of the South Florida Fishing Club, and I'm a member.

Whether you want to catch tarpon at night or a sailfish during the day, fish in Biscayne Bay or out in the Gulfstream, use live bait or fish with jigs on spinning tackle, or even try your skill at using a fly rod, Bouncer knows the techniques and has the tackle. Or you can use your own equipment. One thing you're sure of though, is that you're going to catch fish.

During my brief stint as a fishing guide Bouncer arranged for me to be a speaker at a seminar put on by Saltwater Sportsman Magazine. My talk was about fishing for sea trout in Biscayne bay and I probably looked really out of place dressed in suit and tie, but another speaker that day was Florida Governor Jeb Bush. He spoke about the health of the bay and how it was improving under his policies. I wanted to get a photograph of myself with Jeb and I knew that he wasn't about to show up wearing jeans and a rumpled fishing shirt. I really wish that Jeb was the brother who got to become president.

But back to fishing. Bouncer uses my jigs for seatrout and a variety of other light tackle fishing, and a number of his clients have ended up as my clients. On this particular night he talked to the South Florida Fishing Club about swordfishing at night off Miami Beach, where to look for them, what tackle to use, and how to rig various types of baits. After the meeting we chatted a bit and he got some more jigs. He's the big guy standing on the left in the beige shirt, talking fishing as usual.

If a South Florida fishing experience seems appealing check out his web site and tell him that Capt. Al Kaplan sent you.


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