Angler of the Month - Francis Pons E-mail
Thursday, 31 March 2011 07:30

by Chris Parson

Francis_Pons_April_2011_Angler_of_the_Month

I first met Francis while on a fishing trip to LBI with the Wolfpack. We tried a little early season fishing in the area and received quite a beating from the winds and low temperature. After we decided that we had given this outing our best, we agreed food was the next order of the day. We found “A little Bite of Italy” and settled in. After only a few minutes, the deli owner, Francis Pons saw our kayaks in the parking lot and introduced himself. We all sat there sharing fishing stories and enjoying lunch for a couple of hours. Francis is a true, die hard kayak fisherman that puts more than his share of time in the seat. He shared pictures of his past catches, which include a beautiful 47” Bass. Skip Bytes returned the favor with his own scrap book of amazing catches. If you are in the LBI/Surf City area, I recommend stopping in for not only a great meal and fish stories, but to make a new friend. Just as Seaflea, FlyGuide, Skip Bytes and I did.

Tell us a little bit about your background.

My name is Francis Pons, born and raised in the southwest of France. I am a classically schooled and trained Executive Chef and Pastry Chef by profession. I grew up in the Pyrenees Mountains, France which is very popular for trout fishing and the Tour de France bicycle race.

Do you prefer fresh or salt water fishing?

Both. I love to hunt in the stream for trout using different techniques. I like freshwater fishing.

When I came to New York City eight years ago for a new job as Chef de Cuisine, I fished for pike, trout and bass in the rivers and lakes of upstate New York and New Jersey.

Five years ago, my wife Debra and I decided to buy a business in Surf City, Long Beach Island, NJ. Once there, I learned to surf cast. I have had good experiences, but I found it a bit boring because you don't hunt or move around.

Francis_Pons_April_2011_Angler_of_the_Month_2

When did you first learn of fishing from a kayak?

A few years ago, my friend Louis (whom I met here on the beach fishing four years ago), told me about kayak fishing. I thought this would be good for me because of the constant movement, looking for fish, as I like to move around and be active.

In the spring of 2009, I studied and read about kayaking on the internet and kayak fishing magazines.  This is how I found out about kayak fishing and now subscribe to Kayak Fishing Magazine. It all sounded great, so I decided to take the "bait".

So what is your current kayak of choice?

I bought an Ocean Kayak Prowler Trident 13. I love it!  Over the past few years, I constantly rig my kayak and me!

Francis_Pons_April_2011_Angler_of_the_Month_Ocean_Trident_13

Do you prefer to fish the areas around Long Beach Island?

I enjoy kayak fishing on Barnegat Bay, New Jersey, in the morning at 5 am in the peace and quiet as I look for my fish. It reminds me of when I was a boy fishing for trout in the peaceful Pyrenees.  If i could fish on my kayak 24/7, I would. I go as often as possible. I must fish early so I can open my deli to raise money to by bait!

We met during a fishing trip when a group of us took and lunch break and visited your deli.

I own and operate my deli and bakery "A Little Bite of Italy" here in Surf City, on Long Beach Island, New Jersey. I feel I have the best of both worlds here. I can feed my passion for cooking (in the deli for customers and catering parties) as well as my passion for kayak fishing all year.

A lot wonderful and interesting people come into my store from all over the world. Many are fisherman and kayak fisherman. We swap stories as they get a bite to eat. Every year they come back to say hello, eat and find out if the fish are biting!

Francis_Pons_April_2011_Angler_of_the_Month_A_little_bite_of_Italy

What would you say is your favorite fish to target?

I like to fish for trout, striped bass and bluefish. I have caught striped bass, bluefish, flounder and king fish in my kayak.

My ultimate goal is to find and catch the biggest bass in my kayak on the Atlantic Ocean.  Last autumn, I caught a 47", 28 lb striped bass that I filleted and cooked into a beautiful tasty meal for my neighbors and me, as the sun set for the day until the next time. See you next bite!!

 

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