Fort Lauderdale Fishing Improves

Posted on by Captain Steve

Fort Lauderdale Fishing ImprovesFishing in Fort Lauderdale is on the upswing, as it usually is this time of year. April is a kind of starting point where our springtime fishing increases the number of fish and species we catch. Those winter months are usually Sailfish season and even though those up north had extreme winter conditions, we down here in the south experienced and unusually mild winter. With the water never reaching its lowest temperature, the fish had no reason to migrate. But they will, and soon!

We’ve seen this before, most recently just a few years ago. April came after a slow billfish season and in mid-April, we were having some of the best billfish fishing we had seen in a few years. Sailfish were migrating both directions at the same time. But it’s not just about billfish, there’s more.

We’ve already seen increases in King Mackerel, Bonito and Tuna. Mahi-Mahi have also been around though not abundant yet, that is yet to come. And with the Kings and Bonitos around? Here come the sharks as well. April is the time of year we catch most of our biggest sharks as they breed and feed through our waters. I should mention that almost ALL sharks we encounter are protected and released. Only the short finned Mako shark is kept and they are very rare to catch.

With the abundance of fish on the troll, we haven’t been Snapper fishing much but April is a good time for that as well. We’ll also be looking forward to grouper season opening back up May 1st.

Our trip just yesterday with Tim and his boys, Matt, Brian and Tim, netted us 12 Bonitos, 3 nice sized Blackfin Tuna and we released 2 Sailfish. We got both Sailfish to the boat but elected to leave them in the water instead of boating them for pictures, less stress on the fish. Our release flags that the boys are holding will have to do. All in all, a fun trip!

It all starts in April, right now as a matter of fact. Fishing is improving and it’s going to get better in Fort Lauderdale. We’re ready and waiting. See you soon.

Tight Lines

Captain Steve


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Family Fishing Fun

Posted on by Captain Steve

Family Fishing FunMost fishing trips that have family and friends involve the hope of catching some fish to eat. Dave, his daughter Betsy or Boo as he called her and the rest of the group were looking to barbecue something later that day. Most on board had done some fishing here and as we talked trying to decide on a plan of action, I had mentioned live bait. There have been a few Sailfish around and most the decent Dolphin (Mahi-Mahi) we’ve been catching had been on livies… A Sail would be cool so we ordered a ½ dozen live baits.

Our trip out was uneventful as it was a fairly calm day with just enough wind for the kites. Only a slight chop on the water and clear skies was the forecast. Absolutely perfect! We began trolling but the response from the fish was poor on this and just a few small Tuna were caught. Always fun kidding those big, strong boys as they land a 3 pound Tuna…

So we opted to try the kites, we had actually trolled waiting for a little more wind to come up as it usually does in the afternoons here. As had been predicted, a decent Dolphin made an appearance, was landed and put in the box. Dinner will be served…

With the kites back up and loaded, our next bite was Betsy’s turn, everyone but Dave had caught a fish. And here comes Mr. Sailfish! Textbook bite and the game was on with Boo hearing everyone tell her how to fight this Sail, her first.

There is one great thing about women anglers, they listen and do what they’re told. They don’t try to overpower the fish, they use finesse and let the rod and reel do their work. It took all of about 20 minutes or so to get the fish at the side of the boat and Justin reached over, grabbed him by the bill and brought him in for pictures. I mean who wouldn’t enjoy seeing a pretty blonde next to her first sailfish?

Everyone was delighted as we headed home and when our guests are happy? So are we!

Tight Lines

Captain Steve


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Patience Pays Off

Posted on by Captain Steve

1 of 2 SailfishThere are fishing trips here in Fort Lauderdale that start with bites as soon as you wet a line. Right out of the port, fish can be abundant right by the entrance of Port Everglades. Then there are those trips you have to search a bit to find the fish. If you’re trolling, this is rather easy as you are covering  a lot of area as you move along.

But today we were kite fishing with a repeat friend. Arthur and Marcelo were back with us again, local bankers that bring clients and vendors. They had Zach and Peter with them, two guys that seldom get to fish, especially deep sea fishing. The kites were up and were drifted with the current to the north. Light winds allowed us to move in and out of depths and most fish that had been seen that day had been in fairly shallow waters.

We were hoping for Mahi-Mahi, Arthur loves fresh fish and a few had been around. There were also a few sailfish as well in the same depth. But the afternoon was proving to be slower than the morning trips as we waited and only saw one small Kingfish attack our spread.

I’ve always preferred, if things are going to be slow, that the excitement comes toward the end of the trip rather than the beginning. Catching a really cool fish right out of the gate and then not having action afterwards can be somewhat boring. But if you have to wait for that bite, as we did today? All that waiting goes away and the excitement is what you’re left with. And with 2 Sailfish showing up toward the end of the trip? That’s exactly what we had!

When you hook 2 fish at the same time, they seldom swim together. They cross and recross the lines, which has to be orchestrated by the mate to keep things clear. These are powerful fish so they can take line from a reel in no time at all and that’s just what they did. And as one fish ran north and the other to the southeast? Chasing after them with the boat was not an option… yet.

This is where patience pays off big. The fight is done by working one fish and getting some line back. Then the other fish is worked, even though you may lose a bit of line on the other. Arthur and Marcelo did excellent jobs in following instructions from Justin and within about 45 minutes, we had released Arthur’s fish and boated Marcelo’s for pictures.

So that patience pays off in both waiting for the bite and winning the fight. It can’t be rushed or hurried. And what you end up with is all smiles and repeat guests. I know Arthur will be back!

Tight Lines

Captain Steve

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Summertime Fishing In March

Posted on by Captain Steve

Summertime Fishing in MarchWe have had an unusual year as far as our weather here in Fort Lauderdale. While most of you have been freezing your butts off, we have been experiencing higher than normal temperatures. The cold fronts we did have didn’t stay long and the water never got really cool enough to move the fish through. January and February were slow months for fishing but things are changing for the good.

We’ve already experienced some Dolphin which is usually a spring and summer fish. But the BIG surprise is the Tunas and Bonitos are showing about 1 month early! Bonitos, a valuable bait source for us, are biting well and giving our anglers some well-deserved action. Bending the rod is always our goal and these fish sure do fit that bill. With them, some nice sized Blackfin Tunas are also in the area, again arriving earlier than normal.

Our trip yesterday was quite a surprise to find us reeling more than talking. Bonitos 2 and 3 at a time, a Blackfin here and there, even a Dolphin that’s being held in the picture.

And with these fish come the predators, the big Sharks! Mix this with some Sailfish action and you’ve got yourself a great trip! Fort Lauderdale fishing is lighting up. It’s time to get out there. I look forward to it every day.

Tight Lines

Captain Steve


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Mahi Madness In March

Posted on by Captain Steve

mahi madness in marchFort Lauderdale’s time table for fishing has been a bit off this year. While everyone up north are freezing or shoveling, we in the south have been experiencing warmer weather than normal. The Sailfish that were due in January and February came through in a very spotty migration but things are changing as the last few days have shown and in a good way.

We had Sergio, his brother Fabio, another brother and friend whose names I can’t even begin to spell, much less pronounce. LOL The chatter changed from English to Italian frequently as the visitor from Italy didn’t speak much English. It was a sunny, breeze day with east winds for some kite fishing but first a little trolling.

We began trolling and our first bite came quickly right by the sea buoy, a strong hit that tore line off one of the deep rods. A second big run came and this kind of bite usually nets a big Wahoo or Kingfish. Well, it was a King but not a big one. As a matter of fact, it was only about an 8 pounder and just half of that when we got him to the boat. Something big had eaten half our fish. A Barracuda or maybe a shark is the most likely culprit bit we’ll never know. A few other hits and boating a King brought cheers from our group on successfully landing the entire fish.

We switched to kite fishing with the purchased live bait, Fabio as an avid fisherman and Sailfish had eluded him, it was his hope and dream. It hadn’t been red hot for Sails but a few have been around. We even raised one, a window shopper, looking but not biting. He was there and gone in a flash.

Mahi-mahi is the Hawaiian name for the fish Dolphin, also known as El Dorado. According to Wikipedia, Mahi-mahi means very strong which suits this fish well. Even small Dolphin can give quite a fight on hook and line. A bite came fast and furious, a Mahi had swam into our baits and eaten one… While Justin hooked that one, another ate the long bait on the side and with 2 mid-teens fish on, the fun began with our English/ Italian language barrier.

Mahi’s swim and jump erratically constantly crossing the lines. You have to move around, under this rod or over to the left to keep the lines untangled. And both fish were within a few feet of each other, coming to the boat at the same time. As they approached, another follower was with them but we didn’t have time to pitch him a bait. With both fish finally boated and safely in our fishbox, that 3rd fish ate one of the remaining baits in the kite. A bit easier with just one on and we worked the fish to the boat and got him into the box as well.

That’s the great thing about kite fishing, while truly the best for Sailfishing, anything can and will eat those baits. Our group was quite pleased with their bounty as our time was up and we headed home.

Back at the dock we snapped pictures. Sergio had gotten over his sea sickness; he predicted he would get sick… Fabio was already making plans to return with friends this week in search of that sail he wants and us? We’ll be here, ready and waiting to go again. And looking forward to it.

Tight Lines

Captain Steve

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Kid’s Fishing Fun

Posted on by Captain Steve

MiloUsually when we talk about a fishing charter with kids in Fort Lauderdale, it involves a family charter where everyone is involved. Today was a bit different as we were chartered for the sole purpose of catching fish for Milo, a 4 year old from London.

It was absolutely gorgeous today with clear, sunny skies, light breezes, calm seas and fairly nice temperatures in the mid 80’s. With Milo’s mom, his “special mom” as he called her and baby brother on board, we began trolling in the inlet. Spanish Mackerel have been around and the tide was just beginning to fall. Small spoons are used and they work well, our first fish was hooked less than 5 minutes after leaving the dock.

4 year olds are very curious and keeping Milo’s small hands away from the Mackerel’s mouth wasn’t easy, he wanted to touch his fish. Another fish he was unable to touch was caught, a Leather Jack. Shiny silver with a bright yellow tail, these small fish have tangs in both the lower and upper parts of their bodies. They can make a mate’s hands throb for hours if handled incorrectly and Justin chose to de-hook this one and let it go. Of course, mom got a picture.

Early fall is when the baitfish move through our area and a bit further out to sea we began catching small Bullet Bonitos 2 at a time. Milo was going from one rod to the other reeling them in for us. It became humorous as he’d wind the fish in while pointing with his other hand at planes and other things that caught his attention, asking questions the whole time. Apparently these fish didn’t require his full attention. LOL And we finally had caught some fish Milo could touch and hold. He was quite excited.

With plenty of live bait in our well, we headed for shallow waters in search of Barracuda, something a little more substantial for Milo to reel in. The tide had turned and the water in close was getting murky from recent rains. It took some time to finally get our bite but Milo waited patiently, unusual for a 4 year old.

The line was singing out and Justin had the rod positioned sideways in the rod holder, Milo was too small to hold the rod and he fought the fish as he had all the others. It took him over 10 minutes to land this Barracuda all by himself. He was quite proud and should be, considering the fish is almost as big as he is. Another fish we kept away from Milo, Barracudas are known for their canine like teeth and can move quickly if not held tight.

We still had some time left and ventured off shore a ways looking for Mahi-mahi or Tuna but struck out on that. However, we did see a few turtles and other things that brought forth a barrage of questions and before we knew it, out time was over.

Kids, fishing charters, Fort Lauderdale… It all adds up to fun and excitement. Oh, and questions.

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35# Wahoo

Posted on by Captain Steve

pic_5Deep sea fishing in Fort Lauderdale this time of year is a bit different than it is in our summer months. The action is a bit slower by comparison in the winter time but, the fish we catch this time of year are usually bigger, substantially bigger.

While summer months usually find us trolling the seas, winter time we switch to using live baits. And we did just this the other day with Doris and Enrique from Peru and Doris’ step grandson Jason from Georgia.

Doris has done some fishing back home boasting about the White Marlin bite. We set out to catch some bait as the winds were too slight to fly the kites. Bullet Bonito were what we were after and these are excellent, active baits for just about anything. Doris and Jason were having fun catching these and a few small Tuna added to the excitement.

We then set the baits out and as in all fishing, began our wait for the first bite. Slowly bumping the boat around with our baits behind us, Jason and I talked fishing on the flybridge and about patience in waiting for what is supposed to happen. Doris however, was becoming bored and wanted to go back to catching small stuff. As crew, Justin and I do not get involved in these discussions.

As it was being talked about, one rod sang out, Justin set the hook and was about to hand the rod off when it went slack. The fish was gone that quick. Almost as quick as that was over, another rod sang out and this one did get hooked. Jason got the call and ended up fighting this fish in excellent form for over 20 minutes before we got a good look at what we were fighting. Once landing this 35 lbs. Wahoo, I asked Doris if she still wanted to go fish for the smaller fish.

Even though we still had time, Enrique was stating they needed to get back so we headed in a bit early. It was a beautiful day in Fort Lauderdale and the fish gods had smiled upon Jason. He was still beaming at his catch. Fort Lauderdale deep sea fishing… Sometimes it’s just that one fish that makes your day.

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Snapper On!

Posted on by Captain Steve

pic_4Combining a few different types of fishing in Fort Lauderdale makes the day go by quickly and increases your chances of catching fish. And with the winter months bringing on kite fishing and using live baits? It’s the perfect time to drop a bait down for some of the snappers we have around here. And this is exactly what we did with Ashley, Brittany and dad Chuck the other day.

Flying fishing kites is a very productive way to fish and we do it often this time of year. Primarily used for catching Sailfish, anything that eats in the sea will bite these baits. But as in all fishing, there might be a bit of a wait for that bite. So when conditions allow, we like to use an “entertainment rod” to keep our guests busy as they wait for that big bite.

This is a rod that the guest actually hold themselves. We set it up and explain how to use it. It takes a bit to get used to it if you’ve never done it before but Ashley showed us once again that no experience is necessary… The bait is dropped down to the bottom or close to it and if they are biting? It doesn’t take long before the first hit is felt.

Ashley wasn’t really into this fishing thing and was very casual in her holding the rod. That changed when the rod bent and began jerking in her hand. Adam was quick to help her get situated with the rod and soon she was reeling up what appeared to be a nice sized fish. It turned out to be a 10 lbs. Mutton Snapper, an excellent eating fish. We had already caught a few small Tuna and had just added to the menu.

It’s my job to watch the kite baits when this is going on but in truth? It’s hard to concentrate on them when there is other action in the cockpit. Brittney was next and caught a smaller Mutton that we had to release.

Not only snapper will bite this rig and dad chuck got a nice bite and reeled in a small Silky Shark that took some time to land. We usually lose them as they bite through the line.

The weather was changing and rain and wind was making the seas change. All in all, we ended up with the two Tuna and 4 keeper Muttons, the biggest caught by Ashley. The hard part now was finding a restaurant that was open on Christmas Eve day to prepare the fish. But we got that done too.

And that’s snapper fishing, Fort Lauderdale style. Fishing while you fish. I like it!

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Sailfish Fishing Improves Off Lauderdale

Posted on by Captain Steve

pic_3We can catch Sailfish year-round here in Fort Lauderdale but as the winter months approach, this is the time that fishing for Sailfish really improves. Each cold blast from the north moves the baitfish south and the Sails are close behind. So being in position with the live baits out in the kites is where we fish these days.

But this kind of fishing takes patience. What might seem boring to a novice can become exciting in a mere second. And our group today had plenty of patience.

Susan, a native Floridian, was delighted just to be out on a boat without her 2 twin boys of 3 months. No surprise there. LOL Her husband Tom and his twin brother, Tim, rounded out our group and we immediately headed out to the grounds to deploy the kites. We also like to run a bottom bait and this time we set our sights big with a big bait. With the buffet now open, we waited…

Very few fish were being caught and little was being said on the radio but we knew this was our best shot. Something big was wanted and we love to please. Our first bite came on the bottom bait. Small fish had been picking at it, making the tip of the rod bounce. These little fish create noise which sometimes attracts a large fish to investigate and one did. The bite was fierce and bent the rod hard toward the water. But as we tried to set the hook, the line went slack and we had missed whatever had tried us. There were no teeth marks in what was left of our bait so that eliminates a shark.

We set another bottom bait but never got the chance to see if anything was around. One of our kite baits was going nuts and soon, A sailfish appeared beneath it. The bite was classic and we had our first fish on. We usually move the boat ahead to help get the slack out but we say still for this bite hoping for a second fish.

And as we set the hook on the first, a second one appeared and he too was hooked. We had to clear one of the kite baits to avoid a tangle but still had one out there and Tim and Tom began the battles.

When 2 fish are hooked at the same time, they always seem to go different directions. You have to choose one fish and go after him, just playing the other as you go. Direction, size of the fish and how much line is left on the reel are the determining factors. It took about 20 minutes to land the first fish and then we zeroed in on Tom’s sail.

Remember that bait we still have out? Well, as Tom’s fish is getting close to the boat, another Sailfish ate that last bait and we’re back to 2 fish on at the same time. This third fish was landed by Susan after releasing the others.

So here’s our crew, back at the dock with their Sailfish flags behind them. It went from waiting to sheer pandemonium in mere seconds. Our group did an excellent job of catching their respective fish and since these were their firsts? They all had to throw each other into the water as is the tradition. We cut them some slack and said they could do it in the pool at their hotel…

Sailfish fishing is improving off Fort Lauderdale. Expect it to get even better!

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Sailfish Fishing Charter Fort Lauderdale

Posted on by Captain Steve

pic_2While we may target Sailfish on our fishing charters here in Fort Lauderdale, it is seldom that we exclusively fish solely for just Sailfish. We like to keep our options open just in case something else happens by. With our first cold blast of this year’s winter season, we headed out on a grey, cool and windy day with Mark and his wife, Debbie, with Sailfish on our minds. With temperatures in the 50’s it wasn’t exactly comfortable unless you were from Wisconsin, which they just happened to be.

Getting the kites set in the heavy winds was a challenge and with this strong wind from the north and a chop on the sea, these conditions were perfect Sailfish weather. Once that was done, we tried a little bottom fishing to pass the time as we waited for what we hoped would be our prize.

But fishing was slow today, even the bottom was difficult to fish as the winds blew us along at quite a rapid rate. We managed a couple of reef fish that were not anything great and then caught a nice sized Mutton Snapper. Another bite on the bottom produced a small Cobia, too small to keep but still a nice battle. But our kites and baits had produced not a hit and time was running short.

Then I saw what I thought was a small shark zipping around the short right bait. Many times when we see action, our perception of what is biting is based on the action and attack of the fish on the bait. A fin zipping around, moving in on the bait, striking it and then running away at a high rate of speed is many times how small sharks eat.

But small sharks don’t jump when they are hooked and the Sailfish that had bitten our bait was now jumping… Debbie was in the chair and the battle began as the fish took huge amounts of line off the reel in mere seconds. Debbie followed Adam’s directions to a T and after about 15 minutes, we were at a stalemate. The fish was down deep and staying there. Only by lifting the rod slowly and then winding down, gaining valuable inches each time were we able to get the fish up near the surface. A 40 minute fight and Debbie never wavered.

I did mention about 10 minutes before the battle was over that we were out of time and we’d have to cut the fish loose. While I was kidding of course, the look I got from Debbie was one I so wish I could have captured… LOL

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