Thresher Shark Makes Birthday Fishing

Posted on by Captain Steve

Thresher

On some occasions it is the people we have on board, not the fish that make a trip exceptional. Today I had the great pleasure of meeting Katie, a young woman who was celebrating her 15th birthday with her dad Jay and best friend Bailey. We were out for the day and the day was not exactly the Chamber of Commerce type day Fort Lauderdale likes to talk about.

Grey skies with rain forecast and a chop on the seas was not what you’d hope for on your birthday. And with a storm not too far from us, we decided to put the kites up quickly right by the sea buoy for what we hoped was a quick bite of a Sailfish.

The kites were only up for about 30 minutes before we had to retrieve them because of the rain. We had seen 1 small Dolphin which was too small to eat the live bait. We began trolling in light rain and hopefully finding an area where the rain would stop and we could back to our quest.

Trolling turned out to be quite fun. A few Blackfin Tunas were caught, one nice sized… A Kingfish, 2 Mahi-mahis and a few Bonitos too. The girls did all the reeling as dad sat and watched. The rain was still light and that’s unusual here, it usually lasts no more than 30 minutes.

After a few hours of trolling and catching some nice fish we decided that we should try for something big. Katie had wanted a Sailfish and we hadn’t seen one trolling but with the rain still lightly coming down, flying the kites just wasn’t an option. So we put out some big baits and waited to see what might come along.

A short break in the rains had us putting our kites up but it was only for a few minutes before it began again and we had to retrieve them before they fell from the sky. And that’s when the bottom rod went thump… It was a soft pull. Almost like we’d hung something in the bottom, and then released. I had moved the boat ahead and then stopped to see if it was bottom or a bite. Again it began to pull down the rod very softly and this time I didn’t stop. The rod bent and I still wasn’t sure if it was a bite or hung. Dave came running and began winding on the rod and screaming GO! He could feel what I couldn’t see. We had ourselves a sea monster on here!

Now this is where Katie really impressed me. I’ve been doing this a long time with all kinds of people. Young or old, male and female, every type of person from novice to experienced. We had a big fish on here and now, the rains had really started coming down. It wasn’t raining anymore, it was pouring! And here comes young Katie in her shirt and shorts, plops her butt into the fighting chair, grabs the rod and begins to reel! She was not fazed in the least that buckets of water were pouring on her. She had her birthday wish and was going to land this fish no matter what.

After about 30 minutes we got our first look at this fish. But the look was only a glance as the shark we’d hooked took 300’ of line away in just seconds and it took another 20 minutes to get him back up to the boat. A Thresher Shark had taken our bait and was quite a big one too… probably 3 times Katie’s size and over 5 times her weight. She never faltered or complained, never whined she couldn’t do it. She just held that rod and wound with Bailey’s help on the handle and they giggled the entire time.

It’s not an easy task to measure a live fish and we came up with 12’10” long and a weight in the area of 500 lbs. Big Eye Threshers are protected by law so after a few pictures that weren’t so great because my phone was soaked, we released this fish and watched him swim away. A magnificent fish caught by an exceptional angler. I couldn’t have been more proud of her tenacity. Oh, BTW, that’s her in the green.

And with the release, we headed home. Our guests were beaming and they should have been too. And up on the flybridge, soaked to the bone? Well, it’s days like this that keep me coming back for more.

Captain Steve

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Fort Lauderdale Hollywood Fishing Report

Posted on by Captain Steve

Deep Sea Fishing Charters

The fishing off shore of Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood, Florida has been on the slow side as of late. We are in the middle of what should be some of the best fishing for Sailfish of the year but our unusual warm temperatures, both in the sea and the air, have had these fish coming through in dribs and drabs instead of the mass exodus we are used to. But that is all changing, and has been, in the last few days.

When south Florida temperatures don’t make it to 60? We’re in our coldest weather and this will start the fish moving south. Behind the Sailfish will come the sharks, Tuna, Wahoo and Dolphin. And to be honest? We can’t wait!

While we have been catching a few fish of various species, it certainly hasn’t been what we as crew want. A Kingfish here, a Dolphin there isn’t what we’re used to or expect. When you take the time and effort to prepare baits and present them we expect results far better than the fish gods have offered as of late.

Our recent trips have been giving us a few Amberjacks from the deep reefs and wrecks. A very sizable Mutton Snapper was also caught this way. Any Groupers we catch right now must be released as they are out of season and only a few Kingfish are being caught. The one in the picture was caught just 2 days ago with the offensive tackle from the Kansas City Chiefs, Eric Fisher and his dad, Tim. Oh how I wish they had been here this week. Already a few sails are making an appearance.

If you follow my reports, you may have noticed I have not written much recently. A 10 day trip to Las Vegas for the Safari Club International Expo promoting fishing in south Florida was on my schedule. But my trips are over and I WILL be back in action, so be sure to check back soon!

One more note today. We will be fishing in the Bahamas from May 18th until around June 13th for Bluefin Tuna. Pricing and availability for these trips is available by contacting us through our website. We’ll be going with or without you. It’s just too cool to miss!

Well, that’s it for today’s fishing report from the Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood area of south Florida’s coastline. I’m sure I’ll have more to say shortly.

Captain Steve

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Swordfish Success Hollywood Fishing Trips

Posted on by Captain Steve

sword fish

One of the great things about daytime Swordfish Trips is the Hollywood Hills is right off shore of us and that gives us a high chance for success. Another great thing about them is our decisions of what to fish for and where have already been made.

Lately fishing in our area has been slow. Our above normal sea temperatures and warm weather has kept the Sailfish we usually catch this time of year north of us. There has been no reason for them to migrate south and while we have been catching some fish, Dolphin, a few Kingfish and so on, the action hasn’t been great. We’re hoping these next two cold fronts make a change in all this.

So when Darren and I found we were headed out for day timing for Swordfish, we were delighted! We loaded up Brad and his dad Jeff and headed out for our long run off shore, well, long for here since most our fish are caught within 2 miles of shore. This trip would take us over 2 hours of running with high speed lures out to get to our fishing grounds.

Fishing for Swordfish during the day is quite involved. We use an electric reel with various spools of different weight line… Usually 80# or 60# if the current is strong. A 15 lbs. weight is also used to help us get the bait down to the bottom and the bait? This must be a work of art. It has to travel through the water so it does not spin and get tangled. There’s nothing worse that retrieving a bait that has spun up and become a jumbled mess of line, lights and hooks.

Our ride to the fishing grounds was uneventful other than one Mahi-mahi we caught as we rounded the corner making ready for our first drop. Jeff did the reeling and Brad was delighted as he had never caught one before. The boys were licking their chops thinking of dinner already. The trolling lines were cleared, the electric reel set up and baited and we began our first deep drop of the day.

It takes about 4 minutes to reach the bottom here in the depth we fish in. Flashing lights that are water activated are used on the leader to attract attention once the bait is down. The glow sticks we use at night cannot handle the pressure of the water here at this kind of depth. The computer readout on the reel says we have about 2300’ of line out and our bait is just off the bottom.

We waited about an hour and while we waited, we put a kite up with a few live Goggle eyes in it just in case another Mahi or maybe something else was around. As we fished, our direction was 1.5 knots to the north even though we were headed south. The Gulf Stream usually runs at better than 3 knots to the north this time of year.

With no bite we decided to bring the bait up and check, just to make sure small fish had not destroyed it or it had tangled on the drop. It takes almost 7 minutes with the electric to retrieve the bait, over 20 if done by hand. And as always, time is our enemy… But the bait was fine and we re-dropped right where we were. We were in the heart of the grounds; all we needed was some cooperation from our prey.

Finally back in place, we again waited for a sign. Seas were subsiding some and as we often do, moving the bait, checking our proximity to the bottom, Darren looked up at me and just gave a grin. He was in the process of dropping down and the weight stopped. It just stopped, way too soon. The rod tip twitched a few times, the button was pushed and held and something was taking drag!

It took over 30 minutes to retrieve the weight, the fish we had on, whatever it was, was still 150’ from the boat and couldn’t be seen. It bit like a Swordy, and was fighting like a Swordy, but you just never know. Sharks, Oil fish, at this depth? It could be all kinds of things. And now? With the weight off? The fun begins. Let’s get a look at what we have on!

About 50’ from the boat we got our first look at our fish. He was up on the surface slashing his bill back and forth. It’s a Swordfish all right and a nice one too. He measured out at 97” overall and weighed I’d guess about 80 lbs. After the long battle he was tired and gave Darren no trouble at the boat with the gaff. Once in the boat the fish was still moving and had to be held down tightly to keep from hurting himself or others.

It doesn’t always go this way, we wish it did. But when it all comes together? It’s a great experience! I’ve been doing this a long, LONG time and I still get chills when landing a fish like this. Imagine how Brad and his dad felt? Their first time…
IMG_0136 sword 2
So while the fishing might not be so great, that doesn’t mean great things can’t happen. And the success we had today off Hollywood on this fishing trip looking for Swordfish certainly will keep me energized for some time to come.

Thanks for listening; I got a little long on this one. LOL

Captain Steve

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Hollywood Fort Lauderdale Fishing Report

Posted on by Captain Steve

kids fishing

IMG_0025The Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale area fishing has been interesting, to say the least. Normally my fishing report for the New Year would be pretty much about the Sailfish activity and while we’ve had some, it’s not what is expected as far as numbers. Not yet anyway. 

You also wouldn’t hear me talking much about Dolphin at this time of year, but as I said, it’s been interesting. The week between Christmas and New Year is always busy as far as taking people fishing. But from one day to the next, we were finding different species in our area. And what was biting the day before might very well be gone the next. Luckily, our guests have their own plans.

With the fishing being like this, we never know what to expect. Unusually warm temperatures in our area have things all mixed up. We limit out on Kingfish one day, the next we can’t find one. We were fishing for sharks the other day and got mugged, and I mean mugged, by small Dolphin. I think we ended up with 18 or so.

SailOur best efforts have been coming from using multiple techniques while flying the kites with live bait. Small sharks, Mahi-mahi, some larger sharks and a few Sailfish have been frequenting us. And fishing an “entertainment rod” has been producing some nice sized Mutton and Yellowtail Snappers. Trolling has been producing some Kingfish on the reef area and some nice Blackfin Tuna just a bit further from shore in deeper water.

As always, we adapt to what the fish gods offer each day… Trying a little of this and some of that and usually with good results. We are about to have another cold front coming as I write this fishing report. My next report could be a Sailfish extravaganza… Or the sharks might invade… Wahoo? Dolphin? I just can’t say but it’s all good here in the Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale area.

Captain Steve

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Birthday Fishing Trip Does Well

Posted on by Captain Steve

Dolphin fish

Here in the Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale area it is not unusual to have a few birthday fishing trips come our way. The day was Blake’s birthday and what he REALLY hoped to catch was a Dolphin and maybe a Sailfish. So Blake treated himself to a private charter with a few friends… Jason, Ashley and Dana. Friends, couples, married… I don’t know and don’t ask unless the information is offered. 

For Sailfish, the BEST baits are the Goggle Eyes that can be bought on the way out the port. And the Sailfish should be here right now but they have been a bit lean. None the less, we like to put our best foot forward and off we went to catch Blake and his group some fish.

Trolling was turning out to be a bust, it seemed as if nothing was on the reef feeding and after an hour or so, we decided to switch things up a bit and put some live baits out along with some big baits on both the top and bottom. Our group was having a great day at sea, cool temperatures, very clear and sunny skies, light winds and calm seas. The time was actually going by quickly considering we had only caught one small Bonito… I think…LOL

We sat for quite some time and passed the time talking and telling stories and such when suddenly, a fish was jumping behind the boat. A Dolphin had eaten one of our live baits and was jumping toward us, the release clip on the rigger was still intact. JJ was quick and handed the rod off to Blake after getting it loose from the rigger and some excitement was happening!

And at this point, I have to ask you, is this birthday luck? Blake had asked for a Dolphin, not one had been reported from any boat out and yet, here we were, fighting one right now. And to add to the luck, as the fish neared the boat, we saw he had brought some friends with him. Lot’s of friends too! And this is where a charter boat is the boat to be on when opportunity meets preparation!

We were lucky, again, that Blake and Jason knew how to tie hooks on. The chaos that followed was typical when a boat is surrounded by hungry fish. Jason ran down below, as instructed by JJ, and brought out more spinning rods. Our second spinner was already in use and hooked with a fish on it, Blake at the side keeping his fish in the water. More rods, more bait, this one over that one, you come around over here… Working the fish and the rods around the big bait rods, keeping things clear, boating fish, it truly was chaos.

This entire episode lasted maybe 30 minutes or less. Mahi-mahi began to become aware that some of their friends are leaving the group and things aren’t normal. Their aggressive nature and speed at which they approach a bait begin slowing down as they approach in a more cautious manner. And soon the school had moved on heading south and any other boat that encountered them would have a tough time getting a bite for a while.

The cleanup began, we had missed a bottom bite in all the commotion, no hooks were left on our spinning rods but our group was delighted! In all, 18 Dolphin had been caught and maybe 2 or 3 lost. We fished a bit longer and even saw a few Dolphin swim by the boat but they were not interested in anything we offered.
IMG_4181 Dolphin
So it was a happy group we returned to the dock with their catch. A birthday wish granted, well, only one wish, but 18 times. 

Captain Steve

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Hollywood Fort Lauderdale Fishing Report

Posted on by Captain Steve

T head Fish

Fishing reports are always fun to write when the fishing has improved and that’s the case today as we talk about the fishing off the shore of Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Most our action has been close to shore, the migrating baitfish offering an abundant supply of food for the fish. Dolphin (Mahi-mahi), Kingfish and Tuna have been the most abundant and are being caught just a few miles from shore.

While we had a few cold fronts come through and some Sailfish action from them, we have yet to see the true migration of these great sport fish. With each passing front, we expect the Sailfish action to improve.

Trolling has still been the most productive way to provide a good number of fish in the fish box. But live bait has been producing the Mahi-mahi and bigger Kingfish. We spent the day yesterday flying the kites with live bait. We ended up catching 3 Dolphin, 2 small and one large Silky Shark, a large Hammerhead and an even larger Sandbar Shark. The afternoon produced another large Hammerhead, a small Silky and then we trolled for a bit and caught a few Kings. The problem with these big fish is they take some time to land and that eats into our fishing time. But the anglers don’t seem to mind dealing with a 130 bent to the max.

Fishing is on the upswing here in Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale. And it sure makes it fun when writing the reports.

Captain Steve

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Hollywood Sailfish Fills Bucket List

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Sailfish Fishing

It seems the movie “The Bucket List” has made its way to the fishing world here in Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale. We get many requests now for certain kinds of fish and today, with previous guests Jeff and his son Joel, the request was for a Sailfish.

I personally didn’t think Jeff was old enough to have a bucket list but none the less the customer is always right. On previous trips, they had always shared the charter with others but today, just in case the right fish came along, there would be no sharing and the fish would be theirs, providing he graced us with his presence. So off we went with but one prey in mind, an Atlantic Sailfish.

Grey skies and a bit of chop on the seas were our conditions as we deployed the kites and waited. Lately, small Silky Sharks have been around in numbers. These fish are fun to catch but we’d rather they not eat our “live baits”. They are quick predators and there is no stopping them once they have the bait in their sights. Joel was called upon to deal with these as Jeff saved his strength for “the right fish”.

A rod and reel began singing out and since all we’d seen was the small sharks, Joel was in the chair doing the fighting. This time however, the fish we’d hook was a Sail! He let his presence be known by the jumping, twisting and everything else he could do to escape. And it was a quite a show as the fish easily tore the line off the spool.

Joel tired quickly after dealing with the small sharks and now Jeff was in the seat and had his first feel of what his bucket list item felt like. Rod bent, instructions given, he did an excellent job angling the fish closer to the boat, only to watch the fish easily swim away taking the precious line that had taken more than 20 minutes to retrieve. This fish was not quite ready to come to the boat.

Now, just a note… It is common practice that when you hook a fish as we did, you leave the kites and other baits out, so essentially, we’re still fishing. And it just so happened that another, smaller Sailfish had eaten a bait and was now jumping out behind us. This can make things complicated as you do NOT want these 2 fish next to the boat at the same time. So we loosened the drag on Joel’s fish and just let him take all the line he wanted while we dealt with Jeff’s Sail.

And so it was, we boated Jeff’s fish first for pictures, measurements and releasing the fish. We then released Joel’s fish boat side when he finally retrieved all that line and amazingly, our time was up and headed home. For whatever reason, Joel is featured in the picture with JJ. I guess Jeff was too spent.

It doesn’t always go this way but today it had. After 4 trips with us Jeff finally had his Sail, something we had apparently instilled in his mind by mentioning that Sailfish season begins in November. I found they planned their entire trip around this fishing expedition.
I might also add… They loved our new home here in Hollywood, Florida. I’m sure we’ll see them again soon.

Captain Steve

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Fort Lauderdale Hollywood Fishing Report

Posted on by Captain Steve

hollywood fishing

Our recent move from Fort Lauderdale to Hollywood still has us operating out of the same port and fishing the same areas. And writing this fishing report is especially fun as we’ve had some exceptional fishing this week.

It’s not unusual for us to catch Mahi-mahi in November, it’s kind of been the norm the last few years. But with the great Dolphin fishing we had this summer, it wasn’t expected. While not something you can depend on, nice sized schoolies have been frequenting our area. These fish weigh about 5 to 8 lbs. and usually come in groups of 2 or 3 when they hit. One afternoon we picked at them catching around 12 and the next morning our trip produced over 18 keepers with some we let go by choice because of size and a few we let go by mistake. We don’t always win the battle you know…

Nice sized Blackfin Tuna have also been in our area and around where we’ve been catching the Dolphin. Some of these are very small but most have been decent size, around the size of footballs or a little bigger. Skipjack Tuna have been mixed in with them and a few Bonitos as well. It makes for a nice mix in the fishbox.

November is a time of change as the weather cools and we don’t like to limit ourselves by just trolling. Live bait and flying fishing kites can be very productive as the Sailfish begin to make an appearance. But today we caught something a bit different on our kite baits. A big swirl and a black back came across the surface and we truly had no idea what had taken the bait. We needed 2 anglers and almost 30 minutes to land this Wahoo JJ is holding which weight about 60 lbs. It’s not often you can hook a Wahoo in the kite, even with a wire leader, as their teeth are very sharp and their extreme speed makes escape quite easy. We were delighted with our prize.

Sailfish will be coming soon so keep an eye out for our fishing reports from Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale. It’s all just off shore and it’s a blast!

Captain Steve

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Fanntasic Fishing Report Hollywood Florida

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Hollywood fishing

One of my first trips from our new dock in Hollywood, Florida was not exactly the perfect south Florida day and my fishing report is about this trip. Doctor Dale and his crew showed up in windy conditions, overcast skies and a 60% chance of rain for their all day trip. The seas were running about 4’ and that was about his threshold so across the street we went to take a look. They had driven quite a distance to go fishing that day and the waves breaking on the beach were around 4’ so they opted to go rather than postpone. It turned out to be a good choice too.

As I said, Doc had done this before and was all about buying some live bait for kite fishing. No problem with wind, we had plenty and kite fishing is probably one of the most comfortable ways to fish in seas. While conditions at the beach were 4’, it was surprisingly comfortable out in the ocean where the waves were 4 to 6’ with the occasional 10. And fish LOVE this kind of weather! The only thing that could dampen our day was if the weatherman was correct about the 60% chance of rain. They haven’t invented a kite that will stay up in rain… yet…

We set up and began waiting for our first bite. It took a bit but there was finally an explosion of water out by the long right kite bait. One of Doc’s guests went first, I think it was Caj, and with some coaching, after about 10 minutes, she landed a nice 25 lbs. Kingfish. This fish was a real stud and Doc was already happy about his decision to go fishing as they were quite hungry. LOL

We reset and again had to wait a bit for our next bite. This was a decent sized Barracuda which was landed by Doc’s other guest, Rick. This bite also came on the right long bait. As crew, we prefer the hits, when they come as singles hit a short bait. Then we don’t have to do a complete reset, just reel the kite to the short pin. I felt a trend developing.. . LOL

Again we reset and had to wait. That’s the part of fishing that sometimes get to you. With doc up and ready, our next bite was seen coming for the… you guessed it, long right kite bait. A Dolphin was approaching and quite excited about his next meal. This fish took some time to land as the big ones can be especially acrobatic and are not happy when they get close to the boat. Darren finally was able to stretch out and gaff this 20 pounder which was immediately put in the fishbox and the lid slammed. They have a tendency to jump back out of the boat and it would be a shame to loose such a prize.

Ok, this long right stuff is getting old, right? But we’re not done yet… Some more waiting and here’s comes Mr. Sailfish. He’s on and jumping and Rick, who caught the Barracuda, is now battling his first ever Sail! Doc and Darren are down there coaching and I’m just trying to keep the boat close to the fish as we land and photograph this delightful fish before releasing him back to the sea. It took a bit of reviving by dragging him slowly by the boat in the water until he regained his strength. We really try to do what we can for successful releases to protect our fishery.

To this point, we’d only missed one hit, a small Kingfish had chopped a bait in half. Our time was running short and with only 10 minutes or so more to fish before we headed back, I was kidding with Darren about a shark biting a bait and extending our trip. Sharks do NOT come to the boat easily… And there he was, his fin cutting the water headed right for the LEFT long… finally. Finally another bait got eaten! LOL

Doc was up for this battle as he had never caught a Shark before and on a class 80# rod and a Penn International 130, he actually made fairly quick work of this fish. About a 7’ Hammerhead had eaten our bait but luckily he never sounded to the bottom. He stayed up near the surface making the fight much shorter and within about 20 minutes, we had him to the boat but couldn’t hang on. He screamed out some more line but returned to us shortly to be captured, pictures taken boatside and released. And with that? Our day was done and it was time to head home.

We never had any rain except for a few sprinkles. The seas were big but not uncomfortable. Sunscreen was not needed today but all in all, it turned out to be a banner day of fishing. 5 for 6 on bites, 5 different species. And they were nice ones too. And that’s how Fanntastic Fishing made its start at our new dock in Hollywood, Florida. Not a bad fishing report if I do say so myself. 

Captain Steve

P.S. It wasn’t until I sent the picture from my phone to the computer that I just remembered our 4th passenger. That would be the dog by the bottom of the fish. This truly was a sea dog too.

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Fort Lauderdale Fanntastic Fishing Report

Posted on by Captain Steve

Amberjack Fort Lauderdale

This fishing report, for the southeast of Florida and the Fort Lauderdale area, is by Fanntastic Fishing, an upscale charter fishing service.

As we enter October, we have already experienced our first cold front taking temperatures to a brisk 71 degrees. While this may seem like a small thing to you, especially if you live up north, down here this slight drop can mean all kinds of good news for the fishing. With this kind of drop, the Mullet and other baitfish are moving south as the sea water temperatures cool. The other day in very close to shore, Mahi-mahi were seen chasing Ballyhoo in only 11’ of water. You could almost cast to them from shore.

While the Dolphin fishing has been on the rise, the Kingfish and Bonito are slowing down some. The Bonito will mostly vacate the area except for the rare few soon and the Kings come and go. Right now has been in a lull period partially due to the full moon we’re experiencing.

But trolling is still in the cards. October is an excellent time for the small Sailfish to make their appearance before the larger fish get here in November and later winter. Fishing live bait will soon be replacing trolling for the Sails, Wahoo and Tuna that come. The big Kings are also not far behind.
While this is mostly surface action, this time of year is when we turn to bottom fishing for Snapper, Grouper, Amberjack and more. The Amberjack in this picture gave George quite the fight, a 20 minute battle of tugging on both ends.

Cooler weather, winds from the northeast, ocean waters cooling? All great signs of changing conditions for fishing here off Fort Lauderdale. If you’ll be in town for the International Boat Show at Bahia Mar, you might want to take half a day or so and give fishing a try. It’s a blast!

Captain Steve

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