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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