Marine expert and Bait 'Em Up owner Cristian Lobaina has some tips for aspiring and veteran fisherman that just may lead to a good catch.
Lobaina took over the shop, located at 98 NE 79th St., almost four years ago, but a bait shop has stood on that corner for more than 20 years. During that time, it has become a favorite of many locals entranced by Biscayne Bay’s blue waves and the creatures that live beneath them. “When you fish saltwater, there can be anything on the other end of that line,” Lobaina says. “There’s an unlimited amount of fish. You never know what’s on the other side of the hook.”
Father's Day is traditionally one of the best weekends for the bait shop, with many fathers planning some one-on-one time with their kids. To celebrate the holiday, this weekend Bait 'Em Up offers a dozen free live shrimp to families with children who are planning to spend the day fishing. “Just a little extra to get everyone started so they can spend some time with their family. That’s the most important thing,” Lobaina says.
The expert also shares some fishing tips to ensure your family fishing expedition is fruitful:
Like many things in Miami, an important factor is location. A good spot can make or break a fisherman’s catch. But in a state as replete with piers and bridges as Florida, it’s not hard to find a place from which to cast a line. Lobaina’s favorite spot is the classic Haulover inlet, but the veteran sportsman also likes the 79th Street Bridge, Blackpoint Marina, and Pier Park in Sunny Isles Beach.
For bait, Lobaina heavily recommends live shrimp because their movement and noise almost guarantee a catch. In fact, anything live works well to attract fish. As a last resort (or for the squeamish), frozen shrimp, squid, and ballyhoo also make good bait.
Lobaina’s final tip: Work on your presentation. A messy hook can cause your Father’s Day fishing trip to sink instead of swim. “It’s not true that the bigger the hook, the bigger the fish,” he says. “It’s best to stick to clean presentation, between cutting the bait and putting it on the hook. That’s what entices the fish.”
As for what Lobaina and his children will do this Sunday? Maybe fishing, but he’s not sure. “We’ll definitely be out on the water, though. That’s the best part of living here.” Indeed.