People fish for different reasons. Some do it to relax on the beach. Others do it to catch an occasional dinner. And then there are those who do it to be the best fishermen they can be. It’s not hard to guess the group to which Dann Jacobus belongs, especially when it comes to pompano — one of the most sought-after and delectable game fish among shore-bound Florida anglers.
“Anybody can catch a pompano when everybody is catching them,” says Jacobus, “but if you catch them when no one else is catching them, you’re a pompano fisherman.”
Tan and lean, Vero Dann, as he is known by local fishermen, wakes up at 4:30 most mornings — not because he has to, but because he wants to. If the pompano are running off our shores, the 72-year-old retiree-turned-commercial fisherman is more likely than most to catch them.
Much of his success hinges upon choosing the ideal sandy spot to plant his toes and sand spikes. In the wee hours before dawn, while coffee is brewing, Jacobus flips on the computer to check weather and sea conditions along the coast. Next, he “wakes up” his fleas (his bait of choice) in the cooler next to his garage by dousing them with salt water. Soon, text messages fly back and forth among five or six fishing buddies, describing the beach conditions from north of Sebastian to south of Fort Pierce.
By the time he climbs into his Ford truck, loaded with fishing gear and four 14-foot custom-made pompano rods, Vero Dann has a plan. The sandy spot he typically chooses is one of the many private beaches along Vero’s south shore, where he is a guest of the homeowner and a familiar presence among morning beach walkers from October through May (prime pompano season).