Fishing Forecast

Posted on by Captain Steve

With winds from the east this Holiday weekend, my fishing forecast if for Mahi- mahi or Dolphin, if you prefer.

I had to look up Mahi-mahi to see where it came from in the Hawaiian language. Mahi means strong, Mahi-mahi means very strong. Who knew? I didn’t

When the winds blow from the east this time of year, the flotsam and seaweed get blown toward shore. It’s these kind of things we look for when hunting Dolphin. Anything floating on the surface gives shade and cover to small bait fish and even schoolie Dolphin. And with winds forecast for the next three days, all this will be coming toward shore.

Mahi’s strike with force, no matter their size. Many times you can see them streaking toward your bait. Sometimes on the surface pulling a head wake, sometimes jumping as they approach. When they bite, they almost always jump, the first place that these fish are easily lost. You can’t get caught up in the moment, you must remain tight with the fish.

The second quick loss place is by the boat. Yes, they are tired but remember their name. You might think they are whipped but they will surprise you and give a few more jumps trying to elude capture.

Once you do have the fish in the boat, keep him there. Small fish boxes on the transom or even on deck, these fish can leap from the boat back into the water and be gone. Talk about a heart breaker…

So this fishing forecast for the next few days is looking for Mahi-mahi. Unfortunately, everyone else will be looking too. LOL

Capt. Steve

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Fort Lauderdale Shark Fishing

Posted on by Captain Steve

Lately Fort Lauderdale shark fishing has been very productive. It’s a bit late but the mating season is still going on and our area is a breeding ground for many species of sharks.

Sandbar sharks, often mistaken for Bull sharks, are quite prevalent right now. Found in shallow water, usually around wrecks, they are quite ready for an easy meal as we present it. While fishing for these, we often put out a bottom rod for snapper and grouper if they are around.

Other species are here as well. Tiger, Bull and some rare Hammerhead sharks are also making appearances. A Hammerhead it what is pictured above. These fish give quite the fight! With that big flat wing on their head, all they need to do is get their head down and kick with their tail a few times. Their power just peels the line off the reel.

Even the species of Hammerhead has a few varieties. The Scalloped, Smoothskin and Great Hammerheads are being seen. The4se fish are usually caught in deeper water but can be found anywhere at any time.

So if you’re looking to catch a BIG fish, Fort Lauderdale shark fishing is filling that bill. Hope to see you soon.

Capt. Steve

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Go Fish Fort Lauderdale

Posted on by Captain Steve

The time is right to go fish Fort Lauderdale. Our weather has been perfect. Light winds, calm seas and sunny skies… Just what Fort Lauderdale is known for.

And the fishing has been great! Plenty of action just a few miles from shore. Kings and Bonito are abundant. Blackfin Tuna and the occasional Dolphin bless our lines. Even Sailfish are being seen and caught as we troll the reef areas and just a bit outside that.

Each year I see the trend change a bit. What should be here thick as thieves isn’t always the case. But with one species not making an appearance, another does. And let’s not forget that there is always that chance for a lost Swordfish or Marlin in close to shore.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the smile of a newbie catching their first fish. Size, species, color and everything else goes right out the window as they land and sometimes hold that prize.

The young lady in the picture was not squeamish about holding her catch. The “ewww” factor went right out the window as she posed with her prize. This is the one thing I hope never changes.

The time is right… Go fish Fort Lauderdale… You won’t be disappointed.

Capt. Steve

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Good Fishing Action

Posted on by Captain Steve

Today our group wanted action… Good fishing action. While they would love to catch some Mahi, they all knew fishing doesn’t always give you what you want. So something to bend the rod was the request for their trip. And the fish gods were kind to these folks.

We began just outside the port. The mate and I were starting to worry, we’d missed the first few bites and other boats were catching. We finally managed to hold onto a fish and get him into the boat. Bonito! And the crowd cheered… LOL

As we continued, apparently, we just needed that one to begin catching and as we did our best to avoid the seaweed that seemed to be everywhere, we ended with a nice catch of Kings and Bonitos. Our only Tuna bite escaped a few feet from the boat.

Since we had provided some action for our group, we decided to venture out a bit and see if any Mahi’s were around. I had heard nothing on the radio as far as Dolphin but love fishing the deeper waters… You just never know what might appear.

Again weed played a part in out fishing. Some areas were almost impossible to keep the baits clear. After finally find some clear water with big patches, we got our first bite. A Mahi was jumping, though be it small, it felt like a moral victory and turned out to be a keeper.

Our next fish was returned coming up short on the requirement and we went for quite some time before our next bite. With only minutes left in our trip we managed a few more fish for the box.

Good fishing action makes for some happy campers seen here.

Capt. Steve

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Fishing With Large Groups

Posted on by Captain Steve

Fishing with a large group like Corporate outings, bachelor parties and family outings, just to name a few, any group over 6 is a large group. You have two options, either charter enough 6 passenger boats for your group or put your entire group on one boat. We can do either and today’s group opted for 6 boats to accommodate everyone.

Today’s forecast was for 50% rain… It drizzled for about 5 minutes. But it didn’t dampen the groups spirit or their fishing.

You see, fish kind of like overcast skies. They can swim up near and on the surface of the water without casting a shadow. Today was no different, all the boats did well in the reef area with Kingfish, Bonito and Tuna. Bonito and Tuna are in the same family and occasionally school together.

Along with the bounty of fish providing plenty of action, a Sailfish decided to join the fray on our boat. Having a line come down, screaming line off and then seeing this large fish jumping behind the boat still thrills me, even after all these years.

A 20-minute battle is the norm and boating the fish has to be done carefully. We prefer to release these fish so we take care in handling them. A hose with running saltwater on board helps them breath as we take measurements and pictures. And, of course, that last picture before the fish is placed back in the water for release.

Sometimes we must coach them along, holding beside the boat helping them rest while they breath in the water for oxygen. Others you can barely get them back in the water before they bolt. It is an awesome feeling watching your fish swim away, if he gives you the chance.

Whether you want everyone on the same boat or multiple boats to cover your group, fishing with large groups is best back at the dock. Bragging rights and all.

Capt. Steve

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Barracuda

Posted on by Captain Steve

In my last fishing report I mentioned reeling fast to land the fish, the ENTIRE fish. One reason is the Greater Barracuda as seen here in this picture.

Barracuda are fairly prominent in our area, although recently laws have been passed to limit the size and number that can be taken. They like rock piles, reef areas and wrecks for their habitat. It offers them protection from larger predators as well as providing a great place to catch smaller fish that find the same attributes of protection of structures.

Barracudas are known for their speed and agility to chase down fish. They prefer fish that have been injured or struggling… say on the end of a fishing line?

A heart-breaking story from a few years ago… We were fishing for bait at the sea buoy on very light tackle. One customer hooked a large Blackfin Tuna on the 8 lbs. test line and a battle began. He fought this fish for over 30 minutes. We were getting close… The Tuna was doing his spin, they swim sideways when tired, in small circles. We could see the fish down 30’, then 20’ and then…

Mr. Barracuda comes along and bites off his tail! Now, without the fish able to swim, he is just dead weight at the end of the line. Our angler can barely gain line but is doing a great job with what he has. Another strike has the Cuda eat the mid-section… Still a good chunk of meat there but getting smaller.

It was that last bite, the one right behind the head that broke our hearts. We boated the head that remained and could see the Barracuda just lazing around below the boat, probably too full to swim much as we estimated the Tuna between 25 and 30 lbs.

Many times this story has been repeated by fishermen all over the world. But this is the one I remember like it was yesterday.

Capt. Steve

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The Catching Is Great

Posted on by Captain Steve

The goal in fishing is to entice a fish to eat your bait, fight that fish and land it. That’s called a catch. Right now, the catching is GREAT off the shore of Fort Lauderdale.

Within just 2 miles from shore our boat is giving the guests plenty of fish to fight. Starting with small bait fish, up to those Kings, Bonitos and Tunas and then on to some larger predators. Truth be told, you’d better land your fish quickly or you may not get the entire fish. While it is disappointing to lose some of your fish, there is that “WOW” factor as we wonder what it was that ate it.

Trolling has been the main stay lately. Cover some ground and see what pops up. Those Kings, Bonitos and Tunas I spoke of have been ranging from 6 to 20 lbs. and even bigger. The occasional Sailfish or Mahi is also possible. We expect this to continue into and through the summer.

While on the charter boat the mates go to extremes rigging baits to entice that bite, even the drift boat has been reaping the rewards. Just the standard 3 hook rig with a Sardine or Ballyhoo on it produced the catch in the picture above. And that is just the fish that were boated. Some do escape at any point between that initial bite and reaching the boat. Or they are taken from you by that predator laying in wait.

So, whether it is sport fishing or drift fishing, the catching is great! I guess that makes the fishing even better…

Capt. Steve

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The April Bite is Hopping

Posted on by Captain Steve

What a busy April we’ve had aboard Fantastic Fishing! The Spring action is off the charts and we are in the thick of every species to be found off of Fort Luaderdale: Mahi Mahi, Sailfish, Wahoo, Kingfish, Tunas, Amberjacks, Barrcuda, Sharks and a bevy of Snapper and Grouper species!

NOW is the time to book your saltwater fishing adventure as the Spring action is reaching its PEAK!

Sportfishing Report: Mahi Mahi are Here..and They Brought Friends…

Gaffer Dolphin Fishing

The Mahi Mahi have been coming in relatively close to show to pummel our live baits and trolled baits inside of 300 feet of water for some mid-spring acrobatics and tasty eating. Mahi in the 10 to 30 pound range have been caught since late March by our clients and there seems to be no end in sight. Our sister ship, the Lady Pamela II, caught this MASSIVE Mahi Mahi in the video below!

The Sailfishing Remains Hot

The Sailfish continue to stay in the area and are feasting on nearly every bait that we throw at them! Our clients have been catching and releasing large numbers of Sailfish as we fish live baits underneath our fishing kites.

We love to Kite-fish for Sailfish. It is an amazing experience as you get to see the Sailfish literally come up to eat the bait. Nothing gets the blood pumping like watching a double- or triple-header Sailfish bite up on the surface.We can fish up to three (3) live baits per kite, with at least two (2) kites up at any one time. We’re fishing between 90 and 225 feet of water.

When there is not enough wind to keep the kites in the air, we can also slow troll live baits such as Pilchards, Ballyhoo, Blue Runners and Goggle Eyes as well as troll our specially-crafted mullet strips.

Toothy Critters: Wahoo and Kingfish are Tearing up the Baits

The Wahoo and Kingfish don’t want us to forget about them! Some huge Wahoo have been piling onto our kite baits, slow-trolled live baits and our trolled strips. These are truly world-class catches and we’d love for you to get in on the action!

King Mackerel (‘Kingfish”) have  been prowling the reefs  a little shallower than the Wahoo to pounce on our unwary kite baits and they make for a nice one-two punch with the Wahoo on the outside of the reef. Like Wahoo, Kingfish have teeth that are more like surgical scalpels and they fight hard, which is why we call them “smokers” – they will smoke your drag on scorching runs once they’re hooked.

Feb King

When they’re not crushing our live baits under the kite or slow-trolled, Kingfish have also been responding to our strip baits trolled below the surface on planers along with as Islanders with ballyhoo in both the blue/white and red/black color combinations. We’ve been finding the Kingfish in between 70 and 150 feet of water.

Blackfin Tunas – Not So Wicked

The Blackfin Tunas are here IN FORCE. We’ve been catching Blackfins in the 10 to 20-pound range inside of 160 feet of water on the same live baits under kites as we use when we target Sailfish, as well as slow-trolled live baits.

tuna fish

We’ve also been targeting Blackfins by trolling Sea Witches and Bonito Strips at 5 – 6 knots. Large Bonitos are also mixed in with the Blackfins.

Sharks are Here…and Hungry

The shark fishing continues to be off-the-charts with big Hammerhead Sharks topping the charts!

Our clients continue to enjoy big Hammerhead Shark catches and we’re also getting shots at other shark species such as Caribbean Reef Sharks, Blacktips and Silky Sharks. The best shark baits continue to be either a live Bonito or dead Bonito or Kingfish dropped down in 300 feet of water.

As you can see, the Fort Lauderdale offshore fishing scene is busting at the seams! We need your help to catch all of these species that are basically jumping in the boat! Give us a call NOW to book your trip before this bite slows down! We still have a few slots open before the end of April and just a few left for May. Let’s go!

Tight Lines,

Captain Steve

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We’re Marching Through FANTASTIC Fishing

Posted on by Captain Steve

The Spring action is here, folks! This means the return of the bait schools on the reef and plenty of species to feed upon them. We expect the sailfish bite to continue to be solid as we have had a nice north current the past few days. The action on the reefs and bottom fishing is red-hot! NOW is the time to book your saltwater fishing adventure with Fantastic Fishing!

Sportfishing Report: The Sailfish Bite Remains Steady

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The Sailfish continue to stay in the area and the roving pods of Sails are feasting on nearly every bait that we throw at them! Our clients have been catching and releasing large numbers of Sailfish as we fish live baits underneath our fishing kites or on the troll.

Kite-fishing is our specialty at Fantastic Fishing. Nothing gets the blood pumping like watching a double- or triple-header Sailfish bite up on the surface.We can fish up to three (3) live baits per kite, with at least two (2) kites up at any one time. We’re fishing between 80 and 200 feet of water.

When there is not enough wind to keep the kites in the air, we can also slow troll live baits such as Pilchards, Ballyhoo, Blue Runners and Goggle Eyes as well as troll our specially-crafted mullet strips.

The Kingfish and Wahoo are Making Noise

King Mackerel (‘Kingfish”) have also set up shop on and near the reefs to pounce on our unwary kite baits and trolled baits and they have only gotten thicker – and hungrier. Kingfish have teeth that are more like surgical scalpels and they fight hard, which is why we call them “smokers” – they will smoke your drag on scorching runs once they’re hooked. When they’re not crushing our live baits under the kite or slow-trolled, Kingfish have also been responding to our strip baits trolled below the surface on planers along with as Islanders with ballyhoo in both the blue/white and red/black color combinations. We’ve been finding the Kingfish in between 70 and 150 feet of water.

Wahoo are on the Scene

Wahoos have also shown up to crush our kite baits and our Kingfish baits trolled behind planers. The only thing better than the screaming drags and intense fights with Wahoo are how Wahoo taste on your dinner table!

Ft. Lauderdale Fishing

Barracudas Don’t Want to be Left Out

While we’re on the reef targeting Sailfish, Kingfish and other species, another toothy monster has a knack for blowing up our kite baits and trolled baits: Barracuda! These fearsome-looking critters are tough, acrobatic fighters that refuse to be ignored. Barracuda also make amazing replica mounts.

The Grouper and Snappers are Frisky

With the recent full moon, the bottom fishing has been exceptional. We’ve been keeping our clients busy catching fish and sending them home with tasty dinner fare. Get a look at this huge Black Grouper!

Snappers or multiple varieties are also on the bite and stuffing our fish boxes.

When we visit our “honey hole” wrecks, our anglers have been “greeted: by slugger Amberjacks like the one below.

Our April trips are filling up fast as families visit us for Spring Break and May dates are getting scooped up. Give us a call to book your FANTASTIC trip now!

Tight Lines,

Captain Steve

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Sailfish are Showing Us the Love in February

Posted on by Captain Steve

catch Sailfish

Love was in the air for all of February because we at Fantastic Fishing LOVE catching and releasing Sailfish! Wahoo, King Mackerel and big Sharks continue to make guest appearances to keep line peeling and drags screaming.

Sailfish Eating Baits Like Candy

The world-famous Sailfish action has never been better and we’ve been guiding our clients to double-, triple- and event quadruple-headers when fishing live baits offshore. The recent January cold fronts have kept the Sailfish down south and that’s just where we want them. We continue to catch multiple Sailfish on live Goggle Eyes or Pilchards suspended below our fishing kites.

As we like to remind everyone, South Florida is the birthplace of kite fishing and nobody does it better than the pros at Fantastic Sportfishing. We’ve been catching Sailfish anywhere from 70 feet out to 250 feet of water. When there is not enough wind to keep the kites in the air, we’ve also had success catching Sailfish by slow-trolling live  Ballyhoo or Goggle Eyes on the surface and just below the surface.

Here at Fantastic Fishing, we believe in a sustained fishery. That’s why every Sailfish caught is tagged and released so that researchers can further study their travel and feeding habits. We do everything we can to ensure that these majestic and acrobatic fish can be enjoyed by future generations of anglers.

Toothy Critters are Chewing:

Wahoo and King Mackerel have been active on the reefs inside of 300 feet of water and have been sneaking up on our live baits while Sailfishing. We’re catching Wahoo and Kingifish in the 10 to 30-pound range either on our Sailfish baits or on the troll with bonito strips, mullet strips, lures and feathers trolled below the surface on planers.

Huge Barracudas have gathered above the reefs for their own dating game, looking for unwary prey. They have been pouncing on our live baits and trolled baits.

Toothy Part II: Shark Fishing is Steady

The shark fishing continues to be hot. The Hammerheads are showing up under our kite baits just like the rest of the species we like to catch. We also continue to tangle with Silky Sharks, Blacktips, Spinner Sharks and the occasional Big Bully: Bullsharks. We’re targeting the sharks on certain humps and wrecks with live and dead Bonitos. If you’ve ever wished to catch a big Shark, let’s go! Now is the time to schedule your trip with us!

Fishing is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re gonna get. Check out this African Pompano that our clients caught. This is a rare but pleasant treat. Way to go!

The remainder of February is nearly booked and our March slots are filling up as the Spring action is just around the corner. Give us a call to book your FANTASTIC trip now!

Tight Lines,

Captain Steve

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