Here in Fort Lauderdale there are 2 kinds of fishing
trips offered, sport fishing and drift fishing. While sport fishing, or big
game fishing is extremely popular, drift fishing is the most economical way to
get out on the ocean with a rod in your hand.
Drift fishing is a very “hands on” type fishing. You
are the one putting your bait in the water. You hold the rod. You move the bait
and when a fish strikes, you set the hook. Then you reel your fish in if you
were successful in the previous steps.
As you can see from the picture above, our folks today did a great job of landing fish. Kingfish, Tuna, Bonito were caught today. Also landed were some snappers, a mixed bag of Lane, Vermilion and Mutton. With all these fish that were caught, some were missed as well. As you can see, drift fishing was quite productive.
Depending on conditions will determine if you fish
shallow or deep. Shallow water can be for strong winds or rapid current while
lighter conditions might have you fishing deeper. Here in Fort Lauderdale, only
½ mile more or less from shore can make the difference between fishing in 40’
of water to over 300’.
If you are looking to get out on the water and “wet a
line”, consider our drift fishing trip. It can be very productive.
A few days
ago I mentioned that our conditions were perfect for catching Mahi-mahi. Well,
the Fort Lauderdale Mahi-mahi bite is going off!
A recent bachelor
party were aboard our drift boat with Capt. Jimmy. After catching a few kings
in by the reef, they moved off shore to find greener pastures.
was abundant and in some places, so thick, fishing was nearly impossible.
Keeping the baits clear was a task that needed constant attention.
got out around 600’, the weed cleared some and they found their first Mahi. A
nice one too, about 15 lbs..
continued on the troll for a while and again found another, then another. Picking
at the fish off this weed line was becoming fun and the group was quite happy
with the action they were having. While the weed became more abundant once
again, a turn off shore gave them even more opportunity.
picture above are the fish the guys could hold… There were more in the box. And
while I can’t say how long the Fort Lauderdale Mahi-mahi bite will last, I know
it’s going on right now. With conditions and weather forecast of much the same
this week, I’ll be looking for them on the rip.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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…
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…
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.
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.
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!