More times than I care to count I have rolled out early, fired up the 4Runner, hitched up the Trophy, and with help from an elevated tractor, launched at Pompano’s soon after dawn. Often, when my sweet Sandy was along, we’d run the 90hp Merc at top end from the marina to about seven miles past the high rises on Sandy Beach. I’d continue out past Pelican Point on the flip side of Black Mountain where there are dozens of small reefs further north and west, shut down and drift with the breeze.

Shallow reef fish don’t often see an artificial lure, so we’d tie on 1/4-ounce stainless jigs, and thread on plastic chartreuse twister tails. Less than five minutes later we’d have four or five rock bass in the boat. Sometimes called knuckleheads, rock bass are a ridiculously easy species to catch. Most are under a pound, but the larger ones get very serious about not being boated.

I cut the first few fish into 3/4-inch chunks, and we’d have “live” bait for the next two hours. It was not at all uncommon, in only an hour, that the two of us would use laughably light spinning tackle to catch and release 40 fish. Two people. Forty fish. One hour. Believe it. They were not huge, but hugely fun. And we’d hook an occasional scrappy triggerfish or big-eyed mystery creature to add to the excitement.

The important thing is to set a realistic objective when you go fishing here. You can charter a long-range excursion for dorado, groupers, snappers, whatever, and you may very well score a ton, which is excellent. But if you want to catch instead of just fish (which is especially important with younger kids) Cap’n Greg says to get yourself in a boat over shallow reefs within sight of Peñasco and have a fish frenzy ball. I guarantee it.