Fanntasic Fishing Report Hollywood Florida

Posted on by Captain Steve

Hollywood fishing

One of my first trips from our new dock in Hollywood, Florida was not exactly the perfect south Florida day and my fishing report is about this trip. Doctor Dale and his crew showed up in windy conditions, overcast skies and a 60% chance of rain for their all day trip. The seas were running about 4’ and that was about his threshold so across the street we went to take a look. They had driven quite a distance to go fishing that day and the waves breaking on the beach were around 4’ so they opted to go rather than postpone. It turned out to be a good choice too.

As I said, Doc had done this before and was all about buying some live bait for kite fishing. No problem with wind, we had plenty and kite fishing is probably one of the most comfortable ways to fish in seas. While conditions at the beach were 4’, it was surprisingly comfortable out in the ocean where the waves were 4 to 6’ with the occasional 10. And fish LOVE this kind of weather! The only thing that could dampen our day was if the weatherman was correct about the 60% chance of rain. They haven’t invented a kite that will stay up in rain… yet…

We set up and began waiting for our first bite. It took a bit but there was finally an explosion of water out by the long right kite bait. One of Doc’s guests went first, I think it was Caj, and with some coaching, after about 10 minutes, she landed a nice 25 lbs. Kingfish. This fish was a real stud and Doc was already happy about his decision to go fishing as they were quite hungry. LOL

We reset and again had to wait a bit for our next bite. This was a decent sized Barracuda which was landed by Doc’s other guest, Rick. This bite also came on the right long bait. As crew, we prefer the hits, when they come as singles hit a short bait. Then we don’t have to do a complete reset, just reel the kite to the short pin. I felt a trend developing.. . LOL

Again we reset and had to wait. That’s the part of fishing that sometimes get to you. With doc up and ready, our next bite was seen coming for the… you guessed it, long right kite bait. A Dolphin was approaching and quite excited about his next meal. This fish took some time to land as the big ones can be especially acrobatic and are not happy when they get close to the boat. Darren finally was able to stretch out and gaff this 20 pounder which was immediately put in the fishbox and the lid slammed. They have a tendency to jump back out of the boat and it would be a shame to loose such a prize.

Ok, this long right stuff is getting old, right? But we’re not done yet… Some more waiting and here’s comes Mr. Sailfish. He’s on and jumping and Rick, who caught the Barracuda, is now battling his first ever Sail! Doc and Darren are down there coaching and I’m just trying to keep the boat close to the fish as we land and photograph this delightful fish before releasing him back to the sea. It took a bit of reviving by dragging him slowly by the boat in the water until he regained his strength. We really try to do what we can for successful releases to protect our fishery.

To this point, we’d only missed one hit, a small Kingfish had chopped a bait in half. Our time was running short and with only 10 minutes or so more to fish before we headed back, I was kidding with Darren about a shark biting a bait and extending our trip. Sharks do NOT come to the boat easily… And there he was, his fin cutting the water headed right for the LEFT long… finally. Finally another bait got eaten! LOL

Doc was up for this battle as he had never caught a Shark before and on a class 80# rod and a Penn International 130, he actually made fairly quick work of this fish. About a 7’ Hammerhead had eaten our bait but luckily he never sounded to the bottom. He stayed up near the surface making the fight much shorter and within about 20 minutes, we had him to the boat but couldn’t hang on. He screamed out some more line but returned to us shortly to be captured, pictures taken boatside and released. And with that? Our day was done and it was time to head home.

We never had any rain except for a few sprinkles. The seas were big but not uncomfortable. Sunscreen was not needed today but all in all, it turned out to be a banner day of fishing. 5 for 6 on bites, 5 different species. And they were nice ones too. And that’s how Fanntastic Fishing made its start at our new dock in Hollywood, Florida. Not a bad fishing report if I do say so myself. 

Captain Steve

P.S. It wasn’t until I sent the picture from my phone to the computer that I just remembered our 4th passenger. That would be the dog by the bottom of the fish. This truly was a sea dog too.

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Fort Lauderdale Fanntastic Fishing Report

Posted on by Captain Steve

Amberjack Fort Lauderdale

This fishing report, for the southeast of Florida and the Fort Lauderdale area, is by Fanntastic Fishing, an upscale charter fishing service.

As we enter October, we have already experienced our first cold front taking temperatures to a brisk 71 degrees. While this may seem like a small thing to you, especially if you live up north, down here this slight drop can mean all kinds of good news for the fishing. With this kind of drop, the Mullet and other baitfish are moving south as the sea water temperatures cool. The other day in very close to shore, Mahi-mahi were seen chasing Ballyhoo in only 11’ of water. You could almost cast to them from shore.

While the Dolphin fishing has been on the rise, the Kingfish and Bonito are slowing down some. The Bonito will mostly vacate the area except for the rare few soon and the Kings come and go. Right now has been in a lull period partially due to the full moon we’re experiencing.

But trolling is still in the cards. October is an excellent time for the small Sailfish to make their appearance before the larger fish get here in November and later winter. Fishing live bait will soon be replacing trolling for the Sails, Wahoo and Tuna that come. The big Kings are also not far behind.
While this is mostly surface action, this time of year is when we turn to bottom fishing for Snapper, Grouper, Amberjack and more. The Amberjack in this picture gave George quite the fight, a 20 minute battle of tugging on both ends.

Cooler weather, winds from the northeast, ocean waters cooling? All great signs of changing conditions for fishing here off Fort Lauderdale. If you’ll be in town for the International Boat Show at Bahia Mar, you might want to take half a day or so and give fishing a try. It’s a blast!

Captain Steve

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Bill’s Fort Lauderdale Fishing Trip

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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

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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

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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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