Wreck Fishing This Week

Posted on by Captain Steve

Wreck Fishing

There are times, as in the past week, when we turn to wreck fishing. Just coming off the full moon and some very clear ocean waters with south current, our game and edible fish are scarce. But some of the shallow and deep wrecks provide us with many options.

 

Many of the wrecks we fish are artificial, they were sunk on purpose through the Broward County Artificial Reef program. Ships and other kinds of structures like bridges, docks and even the original molds for fiberglass boats from Chris Craft have been used. They are placed in various depths and provide a habitat for all kinds of marine life. It takes years for these to develop.

 

 

Both soft and hard corals will grow. This provides food and protection for smaller fish, which attract bigger fish. Amberjacks, Barracuda, sharks, snappers and groupers are just some of the fishes we catch when wreck fishing.

 

This week we have been concentrating on some of our deeper spots. The action has been very good but there has been a problem with a couple of these spots. Getting a bite has not been the problem. Getting the entire fish to the boat is.

 

Just as we use live bait to attract our sport fish, when wreck fishing, a hooked fish is like a live bait, even when that fish is 50+ lbs. Bending the rod, having the fish take line, the angler winding away and all of a sudden the line goes light or slack.

 

If you’re lucky, you get part of what you hooked, usually the head and maybe some of the body. Other times, the hook is completely gone. While this can happen fighting any fish in any area, this time of year is especially tough because shark season is upon us. It is mostly Bull Sharks that rob you of your prize.

 

The solution to all this? Reel as fast and hard as you can! LOL And hope for the best. And just maybe, you too will catch your prize like the one in the picture.

 

Captain Steve

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Exciting Deep Sea Fishing

Posted on by Captain Steve

Fort Lauderdale Fishing

Fort Lauderdale FishingThis week we have had some very exciting deep sea fishing. No two days have been the same except for our near perfect weather off the Fort Lauderdale coast. Tuna, Sailfish, Dolphin and Sharks have been the main targets.

 

One trip stands out as the most exciting and a somewhat disappointment as well, an afternoon trip that started with such a bad luck. But it goes to show that perseverance does pay off.

 

We begin this trip catching some live Bullet Bonitos for bait. We fish for maybe 20 minutes and our first bite comes. Everything goes smoothly as Adam feeds the fish and then he’s jumping. A big Sailfish is on the line! And he’s taking drag! And he’s gone… We call that a swing and a miss. Barely had time to get our angler in the chair.

 

So we reset and in less than 10 minutes, we get another shot at another Sailfish. We see him come in and try for the bait but he got tangled in the leader and is jumping and throws the bait before we can get tight. Talk about frustrating? Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…

 

So we reset again and get a bite on the down rigger. We get tight and all is going great! Our young angler is finding out that this isn’t as easy as it looks on TV. And after 15 minutes? The hook pulls and the line goes limp.

 

These were all great fish and would have been great to land but that is fishing sometimes. But wait… There’s more.

 

With our baits out and tons of weed making things tough, we raise a huge shark. He is far too big for the light tackle we have out so we pitch a big bait on a big rod. His first approach was amazing, just to see his speed and agility in chasing the bait. He tries the big bait and then fades. Been that kind of day… Another bait is put out and this time he eats and gets hooked.

 

There are many different kinds of Hammerhead sharks. This one happened to be a Great Grey, the largest of the species. Getting the fish to the boat wasn’t easy. And then measuring and getting this fish back out of the boat wasn’t easy either. He measure out at just over 10’ and we estimated him at about 400 lbs. I’m afraid our picture isn’t the best as the fish took up most of our cockpit and was not enjoying his first boat ride.

 

There is video on our Facebook page that shows the fish behind us before he bit. You only get glimpses of the cycle fin and he was much more relaxed than when we first saw him. Four bites and one fish. But a great one at that! Yes, very exciting deep sea fishing this week. https://www.facebook.com/Fanntastic-Fishing-1476203306014764/

 

 

Captain Steve

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Shark Fishing Fort Lauderdale

Posted on by Captain Steve

Shark FishingThis is the time of year that we do some Shark fishing off the Fort Lauderdale coast. But a recent catch added to a subsequent catch a few days later created a stir.

 

First is our catch, a Mako Shark, a fairly rare catch of the south Florida coast as they prefer cooler waters. Not only was catching one of these a surprise but how we caught it was even more of a shock.

 

You see, we were fishing for Sailfish, among other things, with semi light tackle (30# test) and mono-filament leader. These sharp teeth can easily cut that line and the fight is over. But as you can see in the picture, the hook is placed perfectly and with some luck, the leader and line held for an hour and the fish was landed.

Fort Lauderdale Fishing

Now the second catch was on our sister ship and was another Mako Shark. This catch brought some notoriety because they are rare but it also might have had something to do with the 3 NFL players on board as well. None the less, here is the clip from local news. http://wsvn.com/news/local/nfl-players-catch-mako-shark-off-south-florida/

 

Now I mention all this because a few days later I received a call from Cathy in Palm Beach. She had seen the news story and wanted to know if we had released the shark. When I told her no, she was very upset. At one point it got kind of funny as she said she didn’t want to argue but I think she did. I was never able to educate her on what really goes on.

 

Each year my boat releases somewhere around 50 or so sharks live back into the water. If we boat the fish to remove hooks, we put the fish on a water hose to help them breath. Sharks are an important part of our fishery and we like keeping it healthy. This is the first killed shark of my year and the first kill for my sister ship of these creatures. It could be the last as there are only 2 sharks that are considered excellent to eat, the Mako and the small eyed Thresher. And even when they are edible, we don’t necessarily bring them back to the dock.

 

Recreational fishing and hook and line will NEVER have any significant effect on any species in our oceans. According to NOAA’s data, recreational anglers account for 2% of all landed finfish. That is landed fish and doesn’t include the 100’s we release each year. Regulations, permits and other incentives protect our fishery further.

 

So when you see a fish on a dock or brought aboard a boat and the local news is there? It’s because the fish was landed. They don’t show up every day when we release them.

 

And that’s all I have to say about shark fishing off shore of Fort Lauderdale.

 

Captain Steve

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Fort Lauderdale Fishing Great

Posted on by Captain Steve

Our latest cold front has made the Fort Lauderdale fishing great! The weather has been picture perfect lately. A cold, or should I say “cool” front came through and while the temps dipped, the fishing took off. We are having great luck as of late and the last few days are providing a sailfish bonanza!

 

Shark sightings have been frequent with Hammerheads, Sand Bar, Bull and other species. I am surprised if we don’t get the bite when fishing the big baits. Small and good sized Blackfin Tuna are also in our area. The Kingfish have been extremely sparse but Bonitos have been making up for their absence. Bottom fishing is improving as well.

 

But it’s that north wind that creates the swell and the Sailfish are surfing down the seas. Riding near the surface, Sailfish actually ride the wave aiding them to swim south for the migration. In this form, they look nothing like you see in the picture here today. Their fins are all tucked in, they have pockets that encase the fins, and their color is grey. When the water is that deep ocean blue? They stand out like sore thumbs.

 

This is called “tailing” and you may see just one at a time. But they can also come in bunches and if they get excited when seeing the bait? They “light up”! All their colors come out and they transform from slender grey fish to almost black. Their sails add size and have bright blues with dots that look electric. They become aggressive and even fight over a single bait. Once they bite? It is up to you, our angler, to make it all come together.

 

Jim, Karen, Mike and Jamie from Minnesota had just this day. We caught 2 sails, missed 2 other bites and had another fish on that may or may not have been a Sailfish. The line parted before we ever saw it, disappointing after the 20 minutes we fought it.

 

We usually release Sails, as we did the first they caught but after almost 50 minutes of battle, this fish was exhausted and we couldn’t revive it.  It will make a beautiful trophy in their home.

 

So what is it that makes Fort Lauderdale fishing great? Just being here and doing it. So… where are you? J

 

Captain Steve

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Shark Fishing Showdown

Posted on by Captain Steve

SharkWith the winds finally slowing down and March being upon us, it’s time for some of the large predators to migrate through our area. With some of our guests hoping to catch something big, Shark fishing is a great option for the next few months.

 

Many species of sharks will be moving through the area for the next 3 months or so and if you’re looking to test your strength and our biggest tackle? Now is the time to go fishing. As with any kind of fishing, some waiting might be involved. So we like to keep our options open while we wait and one of these ways is some bottom fishing with the “entertainment” rod.

 

Most of the time, we are out in over 300’ of water with the BIG baits out. Dropping a rig to the bottom can be very lucrative. Tilefish, snappers and groupers can all be caught while waiting for something to come along. With both live and dead baits out, anything can bite. But this time of year, expect to see the sharks along with Sailfish, Dolphin and Tuna.

 

I have a picture of a slightly bigger than average Hammerhead we caught a few days ago while shark fishing. I’m sorry but this fish was not very cooperative in having his picture taken. All Hammerheads are protected and after removing the hook, he was released back into the sea, but not before giving Adam a nice slap on the lower leg with his tail.

Tilefish

I also have a picture of some Blueline Tilefish we were catching. While usually weighing about 2-3 pounds, these were all nice sized ones with the biggest going around 6 lbs. When you see the mate grab the gaff while bottom fishing? That’s always a good indicator you’ve got some nice ones!

 

So right now, shark fishing is a must if you want something big. Hope to see you soon.

 

Captain Steve

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Great Day Fishing

Posted on by Captain Steve

Fort Lauderdale Fishing

Fort Lauderdale FishingToday was just a great day fishing in Fort Lauderdale. The weather was near perfect. Enough wind for the kites but not so much to make the seas rough, plenty of sunshine for our group from Baton Rouge, LA.  Todd, with his 3 sons, and a couple of friends from the business. And after a quick stop for beer at a local marina, we were off for our full day fishing.

 

Now it goes without saying that catching fish is certainly a big part of what makes a great day fishing. Attitude is another part of a great day fishing and this group had plenty of that! Listening to the boys trade shots and barbs was hilarious, their uncle egging them on.

 

So a trolling we will go and though the water looked great, things weren’t happening. We managed a nice Blackfin Tuna and missed a couple small hits. With a nice color change and rip current in 400’ of water, we decided to switch gears and deploy some live bait in the kites. A few big baits for whatever might be around and some deep dropping for Tilefish while we waited.

 

The deep drop rod is called the entertainment rod. It keeps our anglers busy while we wait for a big bite on the kites or big baits. The Tilefish didn’t disappoint us, most were good size but that went on hold when a large Mahi-mahi showed up for a Goggle eye.

 

The fish was over 30 lbs. and became airborne as soon as it struck. One of the boys on the rod fighting him with excellent finesse as a follower came into view. Captain Adam managed to get another kite bait in front of the male and we soon had both fish jumping.

 

Big Mahi’s are always a handful when they get near the boat and the smaller male proved to be more difficult and stubborn. After 40 minutes, both were landed, and while high fives were going on, the jug went down and we had a sea monster on!

 

For a third grader, the youngest son took the first shot at whatever had eaten the bottom bait. It turned out that he stayed put throughout the fight, the entire 70 minutes to land a 110” shark! Tenacity is all I can say about that. To see the video of the shark, check out Fanntastic Fishing Facebook page.

 

https://www.facebook.com/Fanntastic-Fishing-1476203306014764/

 

Just a great day fishing off the coast of Fort Lauderdale. This is one of those days that just flew by…

 

Captain Steve

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Fort Lauderdale Drift Fishing

Posted on by Captain Steve

Two days a week I have the pleasure of working with Captain Adam as my first mate. Captain Adam operates the drift fishing boat on a few of his other days. A few of his “regulars” decided to charter the boat for the day. Orlando and his crew showed up bright and early so Adam and I thought we’d give them a chance at a few things we do.

Some trolling for Blackfin Tuna was our beginning as we headed out for deep drops with the electric reel. The Tuna were spotty at best and we made haste to get to our depth of 800’ of water. When you fish with 5 to 8 lbs. of lead? The electric reel sure makes things easy and after a couple of blank drops, the Black Bellied Rosies were biting!

Being seasoned Drift fishing customers the guys were aching to be doing their own fishing with their own rods. Our first stop turned out to be our last and the bite was on! Vermillion and Lane Snappers were biting well. So were the Porgy’s and Triggerfish. The group was very comfortable baiting their own hooks, handling any tangles that occurred and hooking fish. We made 6 or 7 drifts across our spot and each time added to the collection which was filling the box.

I caught some of the fishing action from the fly bridge with my phone. And Orlando was kind enough to arrange their catch for a photo back at the dock. All in all, we ended up limiting out on the Vermillions, had another dozen or so Lanes, 10 to 15 Triggers, a handful of Porgies and 15 Rosies. Not a bad day’s work drift fishing off Fort Lauderdale. We look forward to your return.

Captain Steve

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Kids Fishing Fort Lauderdale

Posted on by Captain Steve

Fort Lauderdale Fishing

Fort Lauderdale FishingOne of the greatest parts of my job is taking kids fishing. Here off Fort Lauderdale so many families vacation here, we get all ages on board. The younger they are, the more excited they get. Today’s fishing report is about 2 half day trips. The one in the morning was all adult guys, the afternoon trip had kids.

 

With somewhat dirty water and little current even catching bait has been a bit tough. This lack of current and unseasonably warm weather has our Sailfish still north of us so we’ve been relying on some trolling and deep wreck fishing to provide action.

 

Grouper are out of season until May 1 so Cobia, Barracuda, Amberjack, various snapper and other species hang around these wrecks. We welcome any of these for action and fun. The light tackle makes things a challenge and the fight can be over 20 minutes at times.

 

Our group in the morning did not have much fun reeling in the small baitfish we like to use but they did enjoy the Amberjack and two nice sized Barracudas we caught before time to head in. The guys did have a good time, it was absolutely beautiful out. But one fellow’s disappointment about not catching something good to eat kind of soured the mood. That happens sometimes on shared charters.

 

Now we come to the trip with kids fishing. First off, catching the BAIT was exciting to them. I swear, I could have probably just done that for them, they were having a ball and keeping track of who caught more. Just reeling in the bug lines with 2 to 4 baits was tough for these kids and they got pictures taken of each one! One dad looked up at me as this went on and gave me a big smile and a thumbs up as the kids caught fish.

 

And then we decided to play “Let’s make a deal”. You can keep the bait you caught or trade it in for what’s behind the surface of the sea. And this picture shows Christian with just what he caught, a fish almost as big as he is. With help from dad and Captain Adam as mate, the 20+ minute battle was done. His trophy had been boated, measured, tagged and released after photos were taken.

 

So expect what you wish and be happy with what you catch. Something you always get when you take kids fishing.

 

Captain Steve

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Fort Lauderdale Sailfish

Posted on by Captain Steve

Fort Lauderdale Sailfish

Fort Lauderdale SailfishAs we begin the New Year I always look forward to Fort Lauderdale Sailfish fishing. It is one of our most exciting fish to catch just a mile or two off our coast. While we can catch Sailfish year round in any month, it is at this time of year we target them. They migrate through our coastal area heading south and if you’ve never caught a billfish? You’re in for a real treat!

 

From now until May, live bait will be the most productive, usually presented in kite fishing. Kite fishing usually allows you to “see the bite” as the fish approaches the bait held on the surface. Sometimes their sail is up out of the water, other times just the bill slashing at the bait attracts your attention. And if the fish eats the bait? Patience is a true virtue. Don’t come tight too quickly or you will pull the bait from his mouth.

 

A text book bite is the fish takes the bait and swims 10 to 20’ down and away. He will stop and at this point, he is adjusting the bait in his mouth so that he can swallow it head first. He may then swim another short distance and stop again. But once he begins his run with speed? You count to 3 and push up the drag.

 

If you’re fishing circle hooks, there’s no need to “set the hook”. Just coming tight with the fish takes care of that. J hooks do require some winding and setting of the hook. And at this point? He’s either on or gone.

 

Most sailfish jump when hooked but not all. There have been times we’ve fought a fish for 20 to 30 minutes before he presents himself. And if all goes well? You’ll have him boat side in 30 minutes or less. Don’t get anxious when he’s close, this is a critical time to play things smooth and easy. Give him some line if he needs it.

 

We release most Sailfish here in Fort Lauderdale. Even when you see a picture as I have here today, the fish was released and swam away. We have a tube that delivers salt water to the fish as we boat, measure, tag and photograph to keep him happy and healthy. And this way we can help our Fort Lauderdale Sailfish season be great year after year.

 

Captain Steve

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Last Fishing Charter

Posted on by Captain Steve

Fishing Charter

Fishing CharterOur last fishing charter trip of this year will happen sometime tomorrow. Christmas week, those days between Christmas and New Year’s, is always a busy week for us. This year the weather has been perfect, with little rain and mostly calm seas and sunny skies, which Fort Lauderdale is known for.

 

I’ll be re-setting the boat’s trip log Sunday. This year we covered over 10,000 nautical miles while fishing. Considering our average speed is less than 5 knots, with most those miles either trolling or live baiting? Well, I thought it is kind of a neat fact, maybe you will too.

 

You may have noticed that the picture for this report was taken in the dark. It happens quite often around sunset, a Sailfish will bite and it makes for a difficult fight. With almost no winds, we had opted for live Ballyhoo and small bullet Bonitos for live bait from the riggers. Blackfin Tuna and Kingfish were really our target. But when this fish bit? Opportunity met preparation and the game was on!

 

The battle began with dad Mark in the chair. His son was video graphing the fight and this fish was angry and taking line. This became a family affair after a few minutes and the younger Mark took over.

 

This fight went on for 45 minutes. We would gain some line and then the fish would take some away. Captain Adam was in the pit and as the light faded from sunset, his guidance of where the fish was helped me follow this fish. By the time we had the fish next to the boat? A flashlight was needed to help spot the fish so it could be boated, measured, tagged and released. Once the fish was taken off the salt water hose, we got a few pictures before reviving and releasing the fish.

 

We at Fanntastic Fishing promote the tagging and release program on all our fishing charters. It protects the fisheries of these magnificent sport fish and we learn of the great distances they travel in migration.

 

Have aa very safe and Happy New Year.

 

Captain Steve

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