The fisher people who gather daily on this quarter-mile-long wooden pier have snagged snook, cobia, jack, bonita, mackerel, kingfish, tuna, and even an occasional tarpon, confides pier master Charles Hamilton. But all of that is nothing compared to the creature that glided by one day and brought all the lines cast into the briny blue up short. There, off the city-owned pier, the waves darkened as a 40-foot-long whale shark glided by. The whale shark is vegetarian, so swimmers weren't in danger. But fish like that make good stories. And good stories make good fishing. "I wasn't here, but I heard about it," says Nicholas Wax, conveniently proving the point. Wax antes up the $2 charge to fish just about every day. Asked for insider info on the top fishing spot locally, the 12-year-old angler doesn't hesitate. "Right here!" he just about shouts. For a stroll out over the Atlantic Ocean, where blustery breezes buffet and the 25-foot-deep sea mesmerizes, the two bucks to fish -- or 50 cents for just watching -- is piddling pocket change.

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