Bill’s Fort Lauderdale Fishing Trip

Posted on by Captain Steve

Bill Catch Sail fish

Most fishing trips on charter boats here in Fort Lauderdale are limited to 6 passengers. 6 is the maximum we can carry at one time but on occasion, 6 people aren’t wanted or needed. Sometimes it’s just 1 person on board with the captain and first mate. And today, we had Bill.

Now having just 1 person on board is kind of a treat for the crew. We have to learn just one name, there’s never a question of who will fight the fish and so on.

Fishing lately has been fairly active on the reef area. Some Bonitos are still around and our first bite turned out to be quite a test for Bill and his new shoulder. Just 2 lines out and the deep one went off. A BIG run taking drag as we moved the rod to the chair and Bill took over. With a run like that? It must be a Wahoo! After about 10 minutes we found it could also be a foul hooked Bonito, a big one, but a Bonito none the less. While Justin and I were kind of disappointed, Bill seemed quite happy with his first fish of the day.

One fish that has been consistent lately has been Kingfish. Most have been between 5 and 8 lbs. and the bite has been good. We began catching these and I think Bill might have thought about maybe having one more person on board to help. You see, even when we have just 1 on board, we fish just like we do with 3, 5 or 6 people. Our two deep rods were going off often and many times Bill would finish with one only to have another put in his grasp. His rotator cuff surgery was holding up well.

With the Kingfish action so good, we stayed with them and caught our limit and then some. Finally we opted to try for something bigger and began heading to deeper waters for a shark or Grouper… Time to give Bill a little rest. But Mother Ocean decided Bill needed one more challenge and one of the top baits got hit with another big run.

Once again Justin and I surmised that another large Bonito had struck and we were preparing things as Bill fought his fish. After almost 10 minutes into the battle, what we thought was a Bonito jumped and showed his true colors. A Sailfish? In September? The absolute worst month to catch a Sailfish off Fort Lauderdale?

Seeing what was on the line kind of changed our attitudes a bit as we went into sportfishing gear clearing lines and moving the boat backwards to aid Bill in his quest. The Sailfish we do catch in October are usually small but this fish was full grown and angry. Even after 30 minutes, he managed to jump close to the boat and completely clear the water. Another 10 minutes and we had him boatside for billing, pictures and his release. It took a bit to revive the fish after the long battle but he swam away in excellent form.

So you don’t have to have 6 on your fishing trip here in Fort Lauderdale but it’s not a bad idea to maybe have one other angler. You might want the rest…

Captain Steve

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Fort Lauderdale Sport Fishing Improves

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Bonitos Fishing

While the sport of fishing here in Fort Lauderdale is a year round thing, certain times of the year cause an excellent result in how good the fishing is and what we catch. As the sun begins to move to the south and the days are shorter, the water temps begin to fall. The cooling water is usually first shown by schools of Mullet traveling south along our beaches and through the waterways. This is already beginning here in Fort Lauderdale.

While Mullet are easily seen, even by novices, other baitfish are also moving south and with them they bring the fish. Always on the prowl for food, schools of Bonito, Kingfish, Mahi-mahi, Barracuda and Sharks follow these schools of bait right past our shore and it’s just starting to happen here.

Our trip yesterday was the kind of trip that the need for talking wasn’t needed. There was so much action and so many fish, our poor customers barely had time to catch their breath. In just over 2 hours of fishing, we caught over 40 Bonitos and 2 Kings. It was over an hour before we were able to get ALL our lines set, as each time we started putting something out, it got hit. The one time we did have everything out at once, all lines came down with fish on them. The group was having a blast and Justin was delighted with the help he got from all involved. The guys were bringing in the shock cords and boating the fish while Justin rigged and set lines.

This is the time of year when most our action is close to shore by these schools of migrating bait. Small Mahi-mahi are beginning to show and fishing for their big brothers and sisters has been excellent in the fall the last few years. We expect the same this year as well.
People always ask when is the best time to fish? The answer is when they are biting, and right now? They are biting in Fort Lauderdale…

Keep em tight… Keep em on
Captain Steve

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Fanntastic Fishing Lands Mako Shark

Posted on by Captain Steve

Upon my return to Fort Lauderdale from the Bahamas, my first fishing trip back got even me excited! Our trip today was a mixed group of people and of course, they ALL wanted to catch fish. Trolling had been producing some small sized Bonitos on the reef and with little wind, we decided to keep the boat moving in our high 80’s temps and begin out day with some easy fish to catch.

The Bonitos were biting pretty good as were the King Mackerel. It took a little over an hour to catch everyone aboard a couple of fish. Bending the rod is always our goal and the reef was providing this with no problem.

But as usual, things tend to slow a bit as the sun gets high and the waters warm. We’re not really in a season where sharks are plentiful but you never know what will happen when you deploy large baits. Grouper, Amberjack, even Sailfish and Swordfish can find these baits. And of course, any kind of shark.

We set a top bait and then began dropping a bottom bait. It didn’t get far before Justin let me know we had a bite on the drop. With young Robert in the chair, we hooked and caught a large Barracuda. At just under 4’, I’m afraid he was no match for the heavy gear we use when we fish for “the BIG stuff” and was easily caught and released.

Another bottom bait was rigged and sent down to the bottom with no interruption this time. The thing about this kind of fishing is waiting for the bite. The scent travels with the current, which there was plenty of today, and anything swimming through that water column will track the scent back to the bait. Our enemy in this kind of fishing is time, the longer we do it, the better our chances but time was running out.

As I called for lines up and Justin began cranking the bottom rod about half way up he yelled he’d had another bite. This time it was no Barracuda that bit, if it was, it was a huge one. The rod bent, some drag took off and Anthony was in the chair for the fight. It took about 10 minutes to land his Mako Shark, very aggressive and somewhat angry at the boat. I can only guess he was somewhere around 70 to 80 pounds and maybe 6’ long. While I kept the fish tight as Justin hung on, the group was taking pictures before we released him back to the sea to get bigger. While not a huge fish, very exciting as we don’t catch many of these sharks here in the warm waters off Fort Lauderdale.

BarracudaI’m afraid I never got a picture of this fish and my requests to be sent the ones the guests had fell on deaf ears. So Robert’s Barracuda will have to do. But the thrill is still with me upon my return to fishing at Fanntastic Fishing here in Fort Lauderdale where you just never know what will bite.

Keep em tight… Keep em on.

Captain Steve

 

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Hammerhead Now His Biggest Fish

Posted on by Captain Steve

Biggest fishFort Lauderdale fishing has been fairly consistent lately. Trolling the reef area has been producing Bonitos, a much sought after bait fish, in some good numbers. These fish are false Tuna’s, also known as Little Tunnys. Their edibility is poor because of the dark red meat and strong fishy taste but they supply us with strip baits after we thin out the meat on the skin and cut them to shape. These baits provide us with most our trolling baits.

With Anita, her son Christian and his girlfriend Megan, Megan’s brother Dillan and his girlfriend Chelsea (I think I got that all right… LOL), we were on our way for some fishing fun for a few hours. Seas were calm and the skies clear to allow our summer sun through today. Folks, I’m telling you, it’s hot! No wind in the early hours of the morning and lake like conditions as far as waves.

Our first bite was a small Kingfish and as we circled around we found no more Kings but the Bonitos were biting pretty good. Anita just watched from the bridge as Christian and Dillon caught fish, while the girls were struggling to land one, they each lost a fish. Megan was taking it personally, Chelsea didn’t seem to care.

But after some time and coaching from the now expert boyfriends, all had caught a few fish and we decided to try for something bigger. Just 1.5 miles from shore in 300’ of water, we deployed our baits and waited. With no breeze from the boat moving on the troll, it became quite warm. Anita retreated to the deck for some sun while others ran to the AC in the cabin.

We had waited over an hour and no bite had come. It was time to go home and we were bringing in the baits. Out time was up and I was disappointed but… the surface bait came down. We could see the balloon we use for a bobber bouncing on the surface and when it finally began to run out line, we set the hook and came tight with a Hammerhead shark.

This is what we call a “Whistle bite”… Right at the whistle when it’s time to go home. Christian, a big young man was huffing and puffing as the fish was having its way with him. It took 20 minutes for him to land this fish, which was now his biggest ever, replacing a 20 lbs. Catfish. We pulled this Shark up on the boat to remove the hook and take a few shots. I swear I was laughing so hard trying to get Megan to get close and into the picture… Christian wasn’t moving from the chair. LOL

We headed home all happy and smiles as the moving boat had refreshed the breeze. Thes folks from Kentucky had a blast!

Keep em tight… Keep em on.

Captain Steve

 

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Fanntastic Fishing Gets Son First Sail

Posted on by Captain Steve

Fanntastic Fishing First SailfishThere aren’t many places in the world where just 20 minutes or so from the dock you are wetting lines and fishing in the deep sea. Fort Lauderdale happens to be one of them and since so many people visit us here, it makes this fun and exciting sport very accessible.

Bernie and his son, Nicky, showed up right on time for the afternoon trip. What was supposed to be a shared fishing trip turned out to be a private charter and with just the two of them on board, we were off.

The afternoon trip can start off slow, with the heat of the day making the deeper baits the most hit. Very little surface action until that sun gets down a bit. We trolled and picked at some Kingfish and a Bonito or two before trying for something larger. You just never know how things will go.

We set a few deep baits for big fish like shark, Grouper, Snapper, whatever might be around. After all, that IS the thrill of it all, catching something big. We were also positioned close to a shallow wreck in about 150’ of water and were dropping some small baits for any Snapper that might be lurking.

First mate Adam had put out a couple of small Pilchards from the rigger, there had been a few Mahi’s around. Our big baits weren’t being touched and the small reef stuff was having their way with us. This was turning out to be a bust. But wait… There’s more! Isn’t there always with me? LOL

A rigger line came down and a Sailfish began jumping. He had eaten one of the Pilchards and we had him on 20# test line. The spinning rods are great for catching Sailfish… It’s just that they don’t hold a ton of line. We have to retrieve everything to go after this fish before he spools us.

It was quite an acrobatic fish for sure… Jumping, running out the line, we were down to maybe 1/3 a spool left before we finally began backing down on this fish. Even as we got close, this fish was still jumping and taking drag, putting on quite the show. After 30 minutes or so, we finally had him at the side of the boat and Nick had his first ever Sailfish!

The picture shows Adam releasing this fish as we revive him. Adam holds the fish, the customers hold Adam…

Not a bad way to end our trip and remember, this is just a little over 1 mile from shore. While we don’t always catch “The BIG one”, Fort Lauderdale fishing can certainly be exciting either way.

Nice job Nick.

Keep em tight… Keep em on!

Captain Steve

 

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Family Fishing Fun Fort Lauderdale

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Family Fishing FunJust another typical day here in south Florida as dad Joe, with his two kids, Spencer and Christian, and dad Michael with Megan and Brice showed up ready to go fishing. Fort Lauderdale has been fairly consistent in both weather and fishing as of late. Calm seas and light breezes in the mornings make for almost lake conditions as we headed out to see what could be done to keep this crew occupied.

One thing about kids, they like action and today the Bonitos were cooperating. One rod, then another would sing out, the kids grabbing rods in their turn which had been pre-determined. Megan went first and they kind of rotated after that. I honestly lost count of the Bonitos we caught, a few Kingfish mixed in for good measure but we had a blast putting them in the box.

Well, both dad’s had been kind of slighted to this point so Adam rigged a shark bait and we stuck it out there hoping for something big. Shark, Grouper, whatever came along. As always, while we wait, we might as well fish, right? So we set the kids up with some bottom gear to see if any Snappers were around. Our first two bites were Triggerfish, not exactly the targeted species. But the kids got better with the rods and soon we were catching Mutton Snappers.

All in all we let 5 or 6 go and kept 6 legal Snappers to add to our bounty. I believe a Tuna was caught as well, but no big bite for either dad today. I know they were a little disappointed, I could tell by the way they kept trying to get the rods from the kids…

But we had plenty of action and lots of family fun here in Fort Lauderdale. And a pile of fish for this stellar crew.

Keep em tight… Keep em on.

Captain Steve

 

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Fort Lauderdale Dolphin Fishing Trip

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Mahi MadnessAn all-day fishing trip for Dolphin this time of year in Fort Lauderdale can be very rewarding. Dolphin, or Mahi-Mahi as we call them to eliminate confusion between the fish and the mammal, can be caught just out of the blue but are usually found around weed lines or floating debris. Almost anything floating can hold fish… Pieces of wood or rope, netting, barrels and buckets… The key to success is finding that debris.

Our fishing trip today was Tammy, who has fished with us before, her two sons Brandon and Justin, and Curt, a nephew or cousin, I can’t really remember. LOL The request for Dolphin was what they wanted and we set a plan for the day to spend most the day off shore looking but first? Let’s catch a few fish close in.

We didn’t have to wait long either for our first few fish. Just outside the sea buoy at Port Everglades, a deep line went off, then 3 other hits all at the same time. We boated a nice sized Kingfish and 3 Bonitos. The boys got to handle the rods and some quick instructions on level winding the line in would be advantageous later. Getting covered up like this is a great start to our day. A few more passes did nothing to improve our fishbox so we left the area and headed off shore in search of our prize.

Dolphin fishing trips can be a hero or zero type thing and as mile after mile from shore went by, we were beginning to get concerned. We’ve had lots of rain and the water was brown in color to about 600’ or 3 miles from shore. It then changed to a sort of blue but not clean blue like Mahi’s like. We then found the really pretty blue water out about 6 miles but nothing to fish to except scattered weeds here and there so we pressed on until we were out about 11 miles from shore.

We had found a streak of weed and fished this for some time with nothing happening. It was now about 11, our trip getting close to half over and we still hadn’t boated a single fish, or even had a strike for that matter. The mate, Justin, and I were both wondering if today would be a bust. Absolutely nothing was being heard on the radio. But outside us another half mile or so was yet another something, we couldn’t tell. Let’s check that out.

A nice line with huge beds of weeds was certainly the formula for what we were looking for. As we got close and made our turn to fish along the edge, our first hits from Dolphin came from under the weeds. And this began what ended up being over 2 hours of pure catching. Each pass brought more Dolphin, 2, 3 or 4 at a time. The area of weed ran for about a mile or so and with the current of the Gulf Stream, we drifted north about 6 miles. At times, we had to regroup as nothing to fish with was left in the water, they had eaten everything we had out.

As time went on, we ended up throwing back some of the smaller fish and keeping those that we knew were of legal size. No really big ones though we saw a few nice ones jumping, the biggest being about 10 or 11 lbs. Our cooler was packed full and we left them biting and headed home.

Back at the dock I snapped this picture. All in all, we had caught over 30 Dolphin, I stopped counting at 30 because everyone was picking up fish and taking pictures. Can you blame them? This had truly been Mahi madness, one of the best days for catching Dolphin we have had in a long time. And I have to thank Tammy and the boys for doing so well and making us look good when we came back in. This off shore Dolphin fishing trip ended up being one of the great ones. I know I and they will remember it for a long time to come.

Keep em tight… Keep em on.

Captain Steve

 

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Happy 4th Fishing Celebration

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Andy T headThis time of year in Fort Lauderdale our guests often request to fish Dolphin for the targeted species. Our group today was no different with 20 lbs. of chicken back at the house to barbecue, some fresh fish would be a nice addition. Greg, Andy and Jeff were all ready to go on the 4 hour morning trip and with our early start, we were first out.

The sea buoy that marks the entrance to Port Everglades is an excellent place to start trolling too. The chain and the buoy it holds has all sorts of growth on it, as well as offering a place for small bait fish to hide. A lap or two around this marker can bring excellent results. But our first two hits were misses… One cut the high line, another on a deep line. Both baits cut as if with a knife, probably Kingfish.

As we wandered away from the buoy another strike on the deep line did not connect. It was reset immediately and another strike came and missed. This is the pattern of a Sailfish and when the line was reset and tripped again, Justin let it come up some from depth before resetting it. And he did it just enough for the Sail to find and eat my high line. Fish on!

Andy was in the chair and even though this wasn’t the target today, it was exciting as can be. The group helped Justin get the other lines in and Andy did a great job fighting the fish. He had us stretched out pretty good for a while, me on the radio asking other boats to keep clear and soon our prize was boatside for pictures by the crowd. I’m afraid I never had a camera shot at this one, he released himself before we could remove the hook for him. We were letting him go anyway.

Now when anyone who knows sees a charter boat backing up, they know something cool is going on and a very short time later we were , once again, clearing lines to back up! We’d had a good hit on one of the deep lines and this fish was taking us to town. We were down to the backing in no time before we got the lines clear and the boat into reverse. Now gaining back some serious line, this fish again took off. A call came in on the radio asking what we had on now??? No clue I’m afraid. But this time our prize wasn’t a fish but a mammal eating what we’d caught. A large Porpoise had found our Bonito and was having a game of tug of war with us. He was enjoying it, our angler was not. This happens often when Porpoise are around. They have the ability to steal our fish without so much as a bat of their eyes. They don’t eat the entire fish and their telltale mark is left on the head, a sharply cut V in the top.

A small King was caught without incident, a Blackfin Tuna and another bomber Bonito. We came across an east west tidal line and caught a decent Dolphin. Lately, the Mahi’s that have been in shallow waters have been attracted to the boat sitting rather than trolling so we put out a few shark baits in the area and hoped for the best. The Dolphin activity was too far from shore to get to on a 4 hour trip.

The Mahi we’d caught would turn out to be our only one but we did manage to hook a Hammerhead Shark. Andy again was in the chair and is pictured with this 7’ T head. The hooks were removed and he was set free and our trip was over.

Happy 4th of July guys… Hope the fish added to the barbecue.

Keep em tight… Keep em on.

Captain Steve

 

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Big Hammerhead Makes Our Day

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Amy's sharkIt started like any other fishing trip we run here in Fort Lauderdale. Good morning, get their names and where they are from. Mark and Amy, like so many couples, just out for a good time and Amy says she wants to catch something big.

So out we go to see what we can catch, just the two of them on board with Adam and me. We begin trolling and right away hook a couple of Bonitos by the sea buoy. Both people fighting their respective fish, Mark on the long deep line, Amy on the short. It’s always good to catch a few right away in the trip, give our guests something to bend the rod with.

But as time went on, we found it wasn’t going to be a hot and heavy day with the fish biting every few minutes. We had to do some searching and caught a few, missed a few. One fish was a 20 lbs. Kingfish that Amy landed. As a matter of fact, I think mark only caught 2 of the 5 or 6 fish we caught trolling. The big King had Amy excited about catching something big and mentioned catching a shark. Oh sure, she wants a man eater…

While most our best shark fishing is late winter and spring, there had been a few around and we rigged some baits and deployed them. We fish a surface, mid bait and bottom bait when putting out a full spread, deployed in that order. Adam was sending the mid bait down and was maybe 60’ from the boat when he yelled “GO”. Something had eaten the mid bait on the way down to depth.

Amy parked in the fighting chair, rod strapped in with the safety lines, the battle began with Mark videoing the entire affair. International 130’s are the biggest rods we used and this fish was owning us. Amy said she just couldn’t do this but Adam coached her through the tough spot and then put the reel in low gear which helped her fight her fish.

It took 20 minutes to get the fish to the boat, remember it ate the bait just 60’ away from us. Adam got the leader in his hand but this fish was not ready and still had plenty of power. We estimated the fish at 7.5 to 8’ long. And then, Amy’s hammerhead shark decided this boat thing was not for him… And left.

Amy was kind of disappointed as the fish swam out more line than he had taken before and the battle began all over again. But Amy had new wind in her sails and now was determined to land this fish again, even though she had caught it once.

The fish was finally caught again, the hook removed, he was measured, photographed and released. Hammerhead sharks are protected in Florida waters. We can only estimate the weight of this fish around 300 lbs. or so but his length? 109” exactly. For a male, that is huge.

Our trip was over, Amy and Mark were done and after all my years of doing this, I still enjoy hearing my customers say how cool that was.

Great part is? I get to do it every day.

Keep em tight… Keep em on.

Captain Steve

 

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Fort Lauderdale Mahi-Mahi Fishing Exceptional

Posted on by Captain Steve

MahiWhile not always this way, the Mahi-Mahi fishing has taken off in Fort Lauderdale’s off shore area. The last week has been exceptional for these highly sought after fish. Light winds and calm seas have had Sargassum weed everywhere and with this sea weed comes the food Dolphin love to eat. Small brine shrimp, Sargassum fish and other small inhabitants attract small bait fish and the Mahi-Mahi, Dolphin, El Dorado, whatever you wish to call them are flocking to these weed beds migrating south.

This is the time of year we mostly troll for fish and Mahi’s are one of our favorite to catch. Even the small ones put up a great fight, especially if we can drop down the size of our tackle. Many “peanuts”, the ones not big enough to keep, are released but keepers are with them and some large ones as well.

Most of this action has been out in 750’ of water, about 4 to 5 miles from the shoreline. Closer to shore, the Bonitos and Kingfish have been biting well. People enjoy the Bonitos because they fight hard but after a bit in the Florida sun and heat? They are happy to take a break and go look for the mahi-Mahi that have been off shore.

While this has been plenty of action for us, we’ve also had a number of sharks being caught. There was a lull a few weeks ago and sharks became rare to find but that hasn’t been the case as of late. Some Hammerheads, Sandbar, Bull and even a Dusky have been caught recently. So if a big fish is your wish, it’s happening right now!

Fort Lauderdale fishing has been exceptional this week. Get them while they’re here!!!

Keep em tight… Keep em on.

Captain Steve

 

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