Summer Snapper

Posted on by Captain Steve

Now that the 4th of July has passed and my dog is out from under the bed, it’s time for summer snapper. While we fish for them the entire year-round, this time of year off Fort Lauderdale is when you can reap a nice harvest!

On the sport fishing boats, trolling is still a mainstay in catching fish. Kings and Bonitos are in the reef area as well as the occasional Sailfish or Tuna. But when it comes time to put some big baits out, the bottom, or entertainment rod as we call it, also comes out. We will concentrate our efforts in areas that snapper inhabit, and many times end up with our limit. Vermilions and Yelloweyes are found in deeper waters. Yellowtails and Muttons are found on the shallow wrecks.

On the drift boat it all depends on the conditions. Fast moving current can move the boat across a spot quickly. Too quickly for the smaller spots. This forces the boats into shallow waters and Lane snappers along with the occasional Yellowtail or Mutton are also caught.

But if the current is not too strong, the deeper spots come into play. The picture above is a recent day on our drift fishing boat, the Lois Ann. Conditions were great for this spot and some nice sized Vermilions were taken. While the bite and conditions change day to day, you can see things can get pretty busy.

So if you live in the area or are planning a trip to Fort Lauderdale soon, get out there and get some of these summer snapper. You just never know what else might come on your line…

Capt. Steve

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Sailfish Season

Posted on by Captain Steve

We are often asked “when is Sailfish season” by customers calling to book. While there are certain months that are better than others, we can catch Sailfish at any time of the year here off Fort Lauderdale.

In the summer months, we spend much of our time trolling. Tuna, Kingfish, Bonito, Dolphin and Wahoo are our main targets. But other species will eat our trolling baits aas well.

When we have had lots of rain, as we have recently, most of those bites come from our deep lines. Anywhere from 30 to 50’ below the surface seems to be the right depth. Catching a Sailfish on the deeper baits does rob you of some of the thrill.

But when they strike a surface bait? That’s my favorite, though I often miss those with my eyes. I do have to look forward occasionally. LOL You know, other boats and things like that.

The great thing about the surface bite is the attack. Some Sailfish strike with a vengeance, they just pile on. Others are more cautious, stalking behind the bait, watching and waiting for an opportunity to strike. When they decide, their bill comes up and they begin slashing at the bait.

Strip baits work well, with some artificial bling in front of them. Sailfish will come back time and again, maybe8 or 10 times if you are lucky. But each time, they stretch the strip bait to a point it’s too long. Better hook them before that!

The most attractive trolling bait is rigged Ballyhoo. But you only get a few shots before the bait is decimated from the attack.

So keep your eyes peeled out the back. You aren’t driving… And maybe Sailfish season will come for you in the middle of summer.

Capt. Steve

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Daily Fishing Trips

Posted on by Captain Steve

The moon phase can play a part on our daily fishing trips. Certain times of the month affects different species different ways. But my favorite phase is just after the full moon or backside as we call it. That’s the time for Wahoo.

April and October are generally the best months for these fish but we do catch them year round. Most are caught with the trolling rigs we use every day and Wahoo certainly aren’t limited to just those few days. They can hit at any time… The fact that this report has a picture of a Wahoo that was caught just 2 days after the full moon could be coincidence… Or it could have been this young angler’s birthday luck that produced this fine fish. It was caught early in the trip as soon as we started to fish.

The bite on the troll slowed a bit this past week. The full moon will do that sometimes. So the drift and sport boats have been doing some bottom fishing. Vermillion snapper have been biting on the deeper spots. Yellowtails and Mangroves have been biting on the anchor trip and some nice sized ones too.

Dolphin have been quite a ways off shore. You definitely need more than a 4-hour trip to reach them. Patience and tenacity are also needed. The best indicator are the birds working the water. With all the weed, there’s just not enough time in a day to hit all the patches.

If you plan on taking one of our daily fishing trips, bring plenty of water. A smile and positive attitude helps as well.

Capt. Steve

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Father’s Day Fishing

Posted on by Captain Steve

So, what’s the deal? Is Father’s Day fishing the only day dad can get out on the water and catch a few? LOL While it is generally about dad, this year’s Father’s Day fishing was also about some young sons. Even a few daughters.

We were very busy over the weekend even though the forecast was kind of gloomy. But the attitude seemed to be that since the fish were already wet, why not…

The fishing has been pretty good, and it didn’t fail us Father’s Day weekend. Kingfish and Bonitos have been providing good action on both the drift and sport fishing boats. A few Tuna are mixed in with the Bonitos and that’s always a nice surprise.

For those on the drift fishing boat that bothered to drop to the bottom? Mutton, Yellowtail and Vermillion snapper made up a nice catch each trip.

Our sport boat was also working some of the shallow wrecks and reefs we have and as I said, it’s also about the kids on dad’s day. Check out this monster Barracuda caught by this young angler! Isn’t it great when you’re young and short? You can say you caught a fish bigger than you! And it’s true… Well, it was. LOL

Father’s Day fishing was a blast but no reason to wait for the day to come around again. They are biting right now.

Capt. Steve

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Fort Lauderdale Fishing Forecast

Posted on by Captain Steve

With the weather we have been having here in south Florida, the Fort Lauderdale fishing forecast is somewhat easy. Weather-wise, hot temperatures and afternoon showers are the standard. I’ve often wondered if the TV weather people have 3 dart boards… One for the low, somewhere between 78 and 85, another for the high, between 88 and 98 and a third for chance of rain. Each day the forecast changes are minor. And those thunderstorms are short lived…

With that said, the fishing trends also become somewhat predictable. The hot temperatures raise the sea temps, creating a thermocline. Fish, being cold blooded, don’t care for abrupt changes and will stay below these lines as a rule. One thermocline is usually 5 to 8’ below the surface, a second one can be anywhere from 20’ down to 60’, usually ranging around 35 or 40’.

This brings our deeper baits into play. And while any fish can be caught with a bait below the surface, Kingfish, Bonitos, Tuna’s and Wahoo are the most frequent. There are days we go without a single bite on our surface rods, the deep lines and baits doing all the work.

These deeper lines can also catch Sailfish, Mahi-mahi, even Grouper and Snapper if set deep enough. As a friend of mine used to say, there are no fences in the ocean.

As we move further from shore, the tide water that carries the fresh water from rain thins out and we just have to deal with the thermoclines. And while there are no fences, these create barriers of a sort. Fish run along these lines, on one side or the other. Fishing the baits around these lines can and will produce bites. Those Sailfish and Dolphin we spoke of are much more aggressive in the cleaner water. The surface baits play a much larger part.

It’s all about fishing and catching. This time of year, quantity and number of fish keep our guests happy. Will save the stories and jokes for the slower times…

Capt. Steve

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Birthday Fishing Party

Posted on by Captain Steve

An old friend of mine surprised at the dock this morning. I hadn’t seen him in 10 years or so and I learned his 6-year-old was celebrating his birthday aboard the Lois Ann. A birthday fishing party!

Many times, we have birthday fishing parties on our boats. Some are private, others just join who ever is on the drift boat and in this case, they made up about half the people on board.

The great thing about kids that age is they don’t care how big, what kind or anything else about a fish. It’s a fish and that alone is exciting. All fish that come over the rail are inspected by the young anglers with approving stares. Then the barrage of questions begins, sometimes waiting for an answer, other times not so much. LOL

It’s all about having fun with family and friends… And, of course, divvying up the catch at the end of the trip. The group had caught about 12-15 snappers and I’m pretty sure the barbecue was ready and waiting!

So if you’re looking for something special for those youngsters in your life? A birthday fishing party might just be the perfect match!

Capt. Steve

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Fort Lauderdale Fishing Report

Posted on by Captain Steve

Every few days I write a Fort Lauderdale fishing report. While the trend of fishing may be the same, each day is different. We never know, only hope, that THIS day will be that one when a BIG fish or something special for one of our customers piles onto the hook and line. As a captain doing this for many years? I know it can happen on each and every day. The question is, will today be one of those?

With that said we’ve been having some good fishing lately. Trolling in the reef area has been producing some Kingfish for table fare and lots of Bonitos for something to bend the rod. There have been days that we stop catching them, or try, at our guests’ request. LOL It has been warmer than usual out and they get worn out reeling in fish!

Sometimes, all that work turns out to be worth it, as in the picture above. Occasionally, Blackfin Tuna or other species of Tuna get mixed in with the schools of Bonitos. They are similar and schooling offers protection. Separated from their kind, they will blend in with another group and you end up with a nice Blackfin Tuna like this young man did in the picture above. While it is a surprise, it’s not unexpected at this time of year.

Another fish that may surprise you is a Sailfish. We catch them year round and they can be anywhere from 20’ of water out to 5 or 10 miles from shore. You just never know, the next Sail could be yours…

Capt. Steve

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Family Fishing Fun

Posted on by Captain Steve

This time of year, once the kids get out of school, we get a lot of requests for some family fishing fun on the water water. It just so happens that when it comes to action? Summertime is the best!

Whether you are a resident hoping to escape the heat for a bit or someone from out of town. In either case, the fish are biting and giving the kids something to scream about… Excitement that is.

Bonitos, while prolific, are not very good to eat. I call them the survivor fish, from the show survivor. On day 28 you’ll still turn it down for food. Day 29? Ok, let’s give it a try… LOL

While not very tasty, they are fierce fighters. They can make for a great day of winding and bending the rod. There are times we must remove some of the ice in the fish box just to make room for the catch! And this is just one species!

At the top of the food chain comes the most popular Mahi-mahi, Dolphin, El Dorado, whatever you wish to call it. Usually found further from shore, they can run in schools and often if you find one, more are close by. This time of year, they are small, in some cases too small to keep. But there’s always a chance of a nice one and even the little guys are a blast to catch.

Back closer to the reef Kingfish will be found. The smaller the better for eating and eaten fresh is the best way. Some don’t care for Kings but I can tell you, they are fun to catch and they eat just fine.

So, whether your family is just 2 or like the crowd in the picture. Summertime IS the time for family fishing fun!

Capt. Steve

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Fanntastic Fishing Report

Posted on by Captain Steve

While I am primarily involved with the sport fishing, we also have a drift boat. This Fanntastic fishing report is about fighting a nice sized fish and hopefully, landing him on a drift boat.

On the drift boat there are at least 9 other people on board with you, many times more. No matter if you are at the front, the back or in the middle, when a nice fish strikes, that fish is going to head one direction or the other. They don’t just swim at you…

So there you are, the rod bends, the reel sings and the fish takes off. The guys that go often know what to do but do you? We want you to land your fish, it makes for happy customers.

First if you’re not standing, you should stand up. Keep your rod at about a 45-degree angle toward the sky and begin reeling. Keep that rod bent!

If the fish begins to go toward other people’s line, you have to start moving that direction. Depending on whether your line goes under or over the guy next to you, you have to adjust. If the line goes over the next line, that angler should move to the rail so you can go over. If your line goes under the next, the angler next to you should move back so you can go under his line, the entire time, keeping the line tight.

There is nothing that can completely eliminate tangles, but you want to keep them to a minimum. And if you do? You might just end up with that nice fish, like the guys in the picture. And we sure do like when you do land a nice fish!

Capt. Steve

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Hammerhead Shark Fishing

Posted on by Captain Steve

Our trip today wasn’t really a Hammerhead Shark fishing trip. John and the rest of the group from Delta showed up in a great mood with some beers and were ready to catch fish, ANY fish. When people come on board talking and laughing you can just tell it’s going to be a good day.

While our customers were having a ball, Donnie and I were pulling our hair out. Weed was scattered and abundant. Constant attention to the baits and deep lines was required to keep them clear. The first 30 minutes we hadn’t had a bite.

Finally one of the deep baits was bit and we landed a decent Kingfish. Everyone had fun urging the angler on including making fun of him because it was taking so long. It was the furthest bait out from the boat. Cheers and high 5’s all around, you’d have thought we just won a major tournament or something. LOL

As we moved south the weed improved and so did the bite. We ended up catching 6 nice Kingfish with everyone getting a chance on the rod and reel.

We had options of some other things to do but John wanted to try for something big. It took about 10 minutes to switch over to big baits and then deploy them. Only we didn’t get very far.

The top bait was set and the mid bait was almost to depth when something ripped the line out of Donnie’s hand. The fish let go but came back a few more times until he finally ate it and we hooked him!

Hooting and hollering ensued to the point John could barely hear me or Don. And after about 30 minutes we got a glimpse of a large sea creature. A Hammerhead shark had eaten our bait and was now becoming fussy as he neared the boat.

The fish was boat, measure and released in good form. All hammerheads are protected here in Florida and this one will be bigger the next time he is hooked.

While we weren’t entirely Hammerhead shark fishing, apparently, we were there at the end. LOL

Congrats John.

Capt. Steve

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