Archive for the "Kids Fishing" Category

Schools Are In Session

Posted on by Captain Steve

Fort Lauderdale Fishing

Now that Labor Day is in our rear view mirror and everyone has settled into a new school year, the offshore action is not taking recess. Here at Fantastic Sportfishing, we continue to enjoy great late Summer/early Fall fishing action in the beautiful waters of South Florida. We continue to fish every day and continue to return with great catches.

As always, we’d like to thank everyone who fished with us during August and early September. Without you, we’re stuck at the dock. We greatly appreciate your business and hope that you’ll come back to see us soon, especially our junior anglers who are now hitting the books in earnest.

The late summer/early fall weather continues to deliver calm seas with occasional afternoon showers that consistently ignite the evening bite. Our early morning trips have been producing well for anglers who don’t want to get through the rain showers to find the fish.

Offshore Report: Mahi, Tunas and Fishing Live Bonitios:

The Mahi Mahi are back in schools just like kids all over the country. The Mahi Mahi schools have exploded over the past few weeks with our clients catching gaffer-sized Mahi (10 – 20 pounds) under the weed patches that continue to be blown in from the Bahamas and from a few tropical storm systems that have been churning out well east of us in the wide-open Atlantic. The  Mahi were caught on rigged ballyhoo, bonito strips and live baits tossed at the weed patches.

We continue to find Blackfin Tunas up on the reefs in the 10 to 12-pound range inside of 130 feet of water trolling Sea Witches and Bonito Strips at 5 – 6 knots. Bonitos are also mixed in with the Tunas and demand attention like a needy pet. They have been walloping our tuna baits and screaming drag for our clients.

What’s nice about the Bonitos is that we can keep the smaller ones to use as live bait for sharks and other species. What sets Fantastic Sportfishing apart from nearly every other charter boat in South Florida is that we use tuna tubes to keep the Bonitos alive to use as live baits. Bonitios do not live very long in a boat’s livewell because Bonitios need to be moving quickly through the water to stay healthy. Tuna Tubes simulate this speed of water across a Bonito’s gills to keep them frisky until we need to hook them up. It’s something that our clients love to see because these are big baits and we’re “swinging for the fences.”

 

Kingfish in the 10 to 15-pound range are still around between 80 and 120 feet of water, with bonito strips, lures and feathers trolled below the surface on planers producing the most fish. “Kings” have also attacked our live baits on the drift as we target Sailfish in 120 feet of water.

Sailfish are Coming

The Sailfish bite continues to be good even though the Fall weather has not yet arrived. We continue to catch Sailfish trolling the color changes between 100 feet and 300 feet of water. The Sailfish have been responding well to Sea Witches (in blue/white and pink/white color combinations) trolled on the surface at 7 – 9 knots. They have also been eating live slow-trolled ballyhoos inside of 150 feet of water as the schools of Ballyhoo start to make their way south for the Fall.

Strong Shark Fishing:

The shark fishing continues to be outstanding. Throughout August and early September, we continue to average between 1 and 2 sharks – or more -each trip. The Sharks are lurking around the schools of Tuna and Bonitios (sharks like to eat sushi too) and we’re able to get a live Bonito back into the water to get the bite. We continue to catch large Hammerheads, Blacktips, Reef Sharks and even the occasional Thresher Shark. All the sharks were caught either on Bonito or Kingfish dropped down in 300 feet of water. Check out this huge Thresher Shark!

Take a look at this huge Amberjack that our client caught when we dropped a live Bonito down onto a wreck to hook a Shark. You never know what is down there looking for a lively meal!

As we make our way through September and into the holiday season, we should start to see more bait show up on the beaches and on the reefs, which should lead to ever-better fishing.  For those of you planning to visit Fort Lauderdale for the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show at the end of October, now is the perfect time to book a trip with Fantastic Sportfishing to reserve your crew.

Tight Lines,
Captain Steve

Posted in Kids Fishing, Sport

The Summer Fishing Forecast: Hot!

Posted on by Captain Steve

sw air

We’re almost to Labor Day but the fishing off Broward County has not taken a vacation. Here at Fantastic Sportfishing, we continue to keep the rods bent and the clients smiling. We’ve been fishing every day with full boats and crews to keep tabs on the hot areas and where the baits are holding up.

Firstly, thank you to all of you who fished aboard Fantastic Sportfishing during July and the first few weeks of August. We love what we do, and we love helping you catch the fish that make this area one of the renowned angling destinations in the world. We greatly appreciate your business and hope that you’ll come back to see us soon, especially our junior anglers who spent part of their summer break offshore with us.

The late summer weather has settled in with calm seas and afternoon showers that have been turning on the evening bite. Our early morning trips have been producing well for anglers who wish to avoid the hottest part of the day.

Offshore Report: Mahi, Kings and Tunas:

Even though the Mahi Mahi have become a bit scarcer, we’re still finding some gaffer-sized Mahi under the weed patches that continue to be blown in from the Bahamas and the wide-open Atlantic. Most Mahi were caught on rigged ballyhoo and bonito strips.

We continue to find tasty Blackfin Tunas in the 10 to 15-pound range inside of 130 feet of water trolling Sea Witches and Bonito Strips at 5 – 6 knots. Bonitos are also mixed in with the Tunas to pull drag for our clients.

tuna topia

Kingfish in the 10 to 20-pound range have been between 60 and 120 feet of water and have been particularly aggressive on the bonito strips, lures and feathers trolled below the surface on planers. “Kings” have also attacked our live baits on the drift. We also catch large Barracuda when trolling for Sailfish near the 100-foot depth.

Kingfish

Let’s Go Sailing:

The Sailfish bite has been a nice surprise. Normally Fall and Winter species, we continue to catch Sailfish trolling the color changes between 100 feet and 300 feet of water. The Sailfish have been responding well to Sea Witches (in blue/white and pink/white color combinations) trolled on the surface at 7 – 9 knots. There is nothing like watching the acrobatic show that these fish put on for everyone aboard.

3 hour sail

Shark Fishing:

The shark fishing continues to be steady. Throughout July and early August, we’ve been fishing for them and each trip has caught at least one shark, with most trips catching several. We’ve caught Hammerheads, Tigers, Blacktips and even the occasional Thresher Shark. All the sharks were caught either on Bonito or Kingfish dropped down in 300 feet of water. There is nothing quite like the slugfest you experience with one of these huge specimens. Both angler and tackle get a workout!

As we make our way into September, we should start to see more bait show up on the beaches and on the reefs, which should lead to ever-better fishing as we the fall months approach.  Since kids will be going back to school in a few weeks, now is the perfect time to finish the summer break on a high note – book a trip with Fantastic Sportfishing now. Before you hit the books, finish up your “Offshore Studies.” We’ll be happy to be your tutors.

Tight Lines,
Captain Steve

Posted in Fishing Techniques and Tips, Kids Fishing, Sport

Fall Fishing

Posted on by Captain Steve

Our first cold front is passing through the Fort Lauderdale area as I write this fishing report. And just those few degrees less are already making changes in our fishing.

 

The biggest change is our sea temperatures. If you’ve ever snorkeled in warm waters like we have here in the summer, as you return to the surface, you go through a thermocline. The water’s surface is much warmer than the sea beneath it. Looking through your mask, it appears as if someone smeared Vaseline on glass, it gets blurry. Being cold blooded, fish don’t care for that temperature change or blurred vision.

 

As the days get shorter with less sun and the cooler air temps, the ocean surface is closer, if not the same, as the water below. This increases a fish’s ability to feed on the surface. So we go from depending on our deep lines for bites to most everything we have out.

 

Another plus is north winds. North winds create swells that allow some fish to be helped migrating south. Specifically, I’m speaking about Sailfish. With winds from the north, they can “surf” the surface of the wave. This is known as “tailing”. It’s time to stop trolling and get the kites out!

 

But that’s what is coming soon. What has been happening is some good Dolphin and Kingfish action. The bottom fishing has also been producing some good sized fish as is in the picture of this group from Denver. Nolan, the smallest, caught this Greater Amberjack, with help from dad and his brother. Grouper and a few early Cobia are also being caught.

 

With a bit of tropical wetness coming tomorrow and another cold front on its heels? Well, just going fishing in low 80’s will be a pleasure. As for what we will catch? Let’s find out.

 

Captain Steve

Posted in Kids Fishing, Sport

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Fishing With Kids

Posted on by Captain Steve

Kid's Fishing

Kid's FishingOne of the greatest rewards in this business is fishing with kids. Taking folks fishing everyday does have its rewards, but fishing with kids has a sort of rejuvenating power of excitement, as did our trip yesterday with 3 youngsters that are pictured with their catch.

 

We begin this day at 5:30 am. I’m barely starting on my second cup of coffee and a car is sitting at our dock. Captain Adam and I are preparing the boat for a very early start when a second car appears with the host. This prompts a release of the first car’s occupants. Let the games begin!

 

We get our guests on board and the 3 boys are like ants moving around the cockpit. The questions begin and by the time we untied the boat to catch the bridge? I was exhausted from the barrage of questions. Captain Adam was now in charge as the fishing gear came out and the talk never ceased.

 

No, the ONLY way to quiet these boys was with a fish! And after missing our first few bites, we finally connected A Kingfish was coming in and you’d have thought we had a world record on! Watch out for the teeth, they are sharp, as the boys crowded around Adam to inspect their first catch of the day.

 

And so it went, with the boys learning to recognize what a bite looks like, how to attack quickly at the rod handle to set the hook. Adam barely had a chance as the bites came and went and the fish box got crowded.

 

And with each fish came claims to victory for all. The boys were young, between 7 and 12 I’d say, so the gear wasn’t easy for them. They did better with it in the rod holder and sometimes needed help from another.

 

The questions never stopped but when someone asks you something with earnest interest, how can you refuse? And their excitement is as boundless as their energy. Where does that energy come from???

 

As any parent will tell you, kids can be a pain. But the rewards are wonderful and so is fishing with kids.

 

Captain Steve

Posted in Kids Fishing, Sport, Uncategorized

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Great Day Fishing

Posted on by Captain Steve

Fort Lauderdale Fishing

Fort Lauderdale FishingToday was just a great day fishing in Fort Lauderdale. The weather was near perfect. Enough wind for the kites but not so much to make the seas rough, plenty of sunshine for our group from Baton Rouge, LA.  Todd, with his 3 sons, and a couple of friends from the business. And after a quick stop for beer at a local marina, we were off for our full day fishing.

 

Now it goes without saying that catching fish is certainly a big part of what makes a great day fishing. Attitude is another part of a great day fishing and this group had plenty of that! Listening to the boys trade shots and barbs was hilarious, their uncle egging them on.

 

So a trolling we will go and though the water looked great, things weren’t happening. We managed a nice Blackfin Tuna and missed a couple small hits. With a nice color change and rip current in 400’ of water, we decided to switch gears and deploy some live bait in the kites. A few big baits for whatever might be around and some deep dropping for Tilefish while we waited.

 

The deep drop rod is called the entertainment rod. It keeps our anglers busy while we wait for a big bite on the kites or big baits. The Tilefish didn’t disappoint us, most were good size but that went on hold when a large Mahi-mahi showed up for a Goggle eye.

 

The fish was over 30 lbs. and became airborne as soon as it struck. One of the boys on the rod fighting him with excellent finesse as a follower came into view. Captain Adam managed to get another kite bait in front of the male and we soon had both fish jumping.

 

Big Mahi’s are always a handful when they get near the boat and the smaller male proved to be more difficult and stubborn. After 40 minutes, both were landed, and while high fives were going on, the jug went down and we had a sea monster on!

 

For a third grader, the youngest son took the first shot at whatever had eaten the bottom bait. It turned out that he stayed put throughout the fight, the entire 70 minutes to land a 110” shark! Tenacity is all I can say about that. To see the video of the shark, check out Fanntastic Fishing Facebook page.

 

https://www.facebook.com/Fanntastic-Fishing-1476203306014764/

 

Just a great day fishing off the coast of Fort Lauderdale. This is one of those days that just flew by…

 

Captain Steve

Posted in Kids Fishing, Sport, Uncategorized

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Kids Fishing Fort Lauderdale

Posted on by Captain Steve

Fort Lauderdale Fishing

Fort Lauderdale FishingOne of the greatest parts of my job is taking kids fishing. Here off Fort Lauderdale so many families vacation here, we get all ages on board. The younger they are, the more excited they get. Today’s fishing report is about 2 half day trips. The one in the morning was all adult guys, the afternoon trip had kids.

 

With somewhat dirty water and little current even catching bait has been a bit tough. This lack of current and unseasonably warm weather has our Sailfish still north of us so we’ve been relying on some trolling and deep wreck fishing to provide action.

 

Grouper are out of season until May 1 so Cobia, Barracuda, Amberjack, various snapper and other species hang around these wrecks. We welcome any of these for action and fun. The light tackle makes things a challenge and the fight can be over 20 minutes at times.

 

Our group in the morning did not have much fun reeling in the small baitfish we like to use but they did enjoy the Amberjack and two nice sized Barracudas we caught before time to head in. The guys did have a good time, it was absolutely beautiful out. But one fellow’s disappointment about not catching something good to eat kind of soured the mood. That happens sometimes on shared charters.

 

Now we come to the trip with kids fishing. First off, catching the BAIT was exciting to them. I swear, I could have probably just done that for them, they were having a ball and keeping track of who caught more. Just reeling in the bug lines with 2 to 4 baits was tough for these kids and they got pictures taken of each one! One dad looked up at me as this went on and gave me a big smile and a thumbs up as the kids caught fish.

 

And then we decided to play “Let’s make a deal”. You can keep the bait you caught or trade it in for what’s behind the surface of the sea. And this picture shows Christian with just what he caught, a fish almost as big as he is. With help from dad and Captain Adam as mate, the 20+ minute battle was done. His trophy had been boated, measured, tagged and released after photos were taken.

 

So expect what you wish and be happy with what you catch. Something you always get when you take kids fishing.

 

Captain Steve

Posted in Kids Fishing, Sport, Uncategorized

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Big Fish Story

Posted on by Captain Steve

Fort Lauderdale Fishing

In our picture today you see Landing holding his BIG fish. This youngster came on board with his dad, Jake and Danni and ALL he wanted to do was catch a BIG fish. With kids, excitement is always abundant and while this might not be the biggest fish he will ever catch, to this point in his life, this one takes the cake. This Greater Amberjack put up quite a fight and took almost 30 minutes for Landing to land.

 

But there’s more to this story than just this fish. I believe I have found part of the reason fishermen lie… It’s quite innocent in the beginning if you will indulge me…

 

I grew up in the Chicago area. As a youngster I remember trudging through snow that was waist deep, much as some of you reading this are doing right now. The thing is, as I grew and got taller, the snow never seemed quite as deep as it did just a few years earlier. At the time, it didn’t occur to me that it wasn’t the snow that was less deep, it was me getting taller.

 

The same can be said about our young angler here. He had trouble holding this fish by himself so Freddie was happy to help. Besides, he was quite spent from his battle. He also had to stretch his arms almost completely to see just how long it was.

 

Now we all know that as we grow, so do our body parts and what once was an accurate measurement will now be exaggerated in years to come. And so it begins, a simple form of measurement becomes our introduction to increasing size and weight of our catches! And we end up with our BIG fish story!

 

OK, maybe that’s not how it starts. After all, you can’t lie about size when it hangs on your wall. Only the ones that get away get that privilege.

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us at Fanntastic Fishing.

 

Captain Steve

Posted in Kids Fishing, Sport

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September Fishing Forecast

Posted on by Captain Steve

Fort Lauderdale Fishing

Fort Lauderdale FishingWith Labor Day upon us and the threat of what became hurricane Hermine now gone, we can look forward to the September fishing forecast in Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood, Florida. September is a month of change as the waters here cool off shore and the migration of Mullet begin to move down our shores.

 

The Mullet run is one of the most visible signs you will ever see. Easily seen from the beach, large schools of these bait fish can be found swimming south just off our shores. Ranging from the small finger mullet to full grown, they move slowly along the coast and through the canals. A look of “nervous” water above them and a dark shade from the school itself, they fill the inlets and waterways. Tarpon, Barracuda and other predators disturb the school and large splashes can be seen when they are being chased.

 

While this is highly visible, other bait fish are also making their move south and this brings new food and migrating fish into our area. Mid to late September is when it begins and will run through most of October. Kingfish, Wahoo and Sailfish will be among the fish that will be enjoying the feast and we’ll be there to greet them.

 

It’s been all smiles on the sport fishing boats with the Bonitos keeping us entertained. We’ve also been doing well with Small Vermillion Snapper on the bottom. They don’t get very big but when you can bring them up 2 and 3 at a time, it’s a tasty meal. There is always that chance of a Grouper or 2, Snowy’s have been biting in the deep waters. It is a lot of winding though, most are in 300-400’ of water!

 

A couple of happy campers here holding some of their catch and that is ALWAYS our hope on each and every fishing trip.

 

Captain Steve

Posted in Kids Fishing, Sport, Uncategorized

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Fort Lauderdale Family Fishing

Posted on by Captain Steve

Fort Lauderdale Family Fishing

Fort Lauderdale Family Fishing

Getting the kids out fishing before school starts has been popular as of late. Fort Lauderdale family fishing has been booming! Whether it is a last vacation before going home or the locals here, kids seem to be on most our trips lately.

 

Luckily for us, kids are easy to please and the action has been good. The reef area has been plentiful with Bonitos, a hard fighting fish not very good to eat but certainly fun to catch. Kingfish have also been adding to the filling of the box, as have Barracudas. Most of the Barracudas are small but still impressive with their almost canine looking teeth. The bigger ones make very impressive trophies.

 

Out trip yesterday consisted of Alex, the dad, his son and daughter and their kids. 3 little guys with so much energy, ages 3 to 5. The morning seas had a slight chop to them so for this afternoon trip, we opted to catch some small fish for our small guys. A trip to an inside marker with some chum and bait rods did the trick and the boys caught 20 or so fish in a matter of 40 minutes.

 

The seas had relaxed some and never affected the kids. We did some big game fishing, striking out in 2 spots with the “big ones” but caught a handful of nice sized snappers.

 

Another family outing was the day before with Adam and Angie from Texas. Their 3 kids rounded out our trip and we had a ball with what the fish gods offered. I was surprised when “dad” jumped in the chair first and caught a very small Bonito. Everybody knows, women and kids first… LOL

 

None the less, it was great catching fish with these guys. My favorite angler of the group turned out to be mom. The great thing about women anglers is they listen. Being multi-taskers, they can also wind and listen to instructions without stopping, most men stop to hear, Just an observation on my part. Angie had so much fun winding in fish, she’d be laughing as she wound her fish in. We again struck out with something big but it didn’t matter. As you can see from the picture, they all had a great time.

So whether you are from here or abroad, your Fort Lauderdale family fishing trip is waiting. But if you don’t hurry, you’ll have to wait for Christmas break.

 

Thanks for reading.

Captain Steve

Posted in Kids Fishing, Sport

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Fort Lauderdale Fishing Is Great

Posted on by Captain Steve

Kingfish

Fishing in the Fort Lauderdale area doesn’t always provide us with a great catch. But today it was GREAT!

I’d like to introduce you to Sebastian. He and his family came out with us this morning for a 4 hour trip. Sebastian, as many of our guests, had never really done any kind of fishing, certainly not this kind. And one great thing about newcomers is they have no bad habits to break.

Sitting in the big chair, he was handed the first bite, a small Bonito. It had bitten a top bait and he was taught how to work the rod and reel, he picked it up quickly. You don’t wind when you lift the rod and you don’t jerk the rod up either. He listened to Adam’s instructions and did a super job with his first fish.

Kingfish

Next came a deep bite on one of the planer rods and dad was up. Another Bonito and those planer rods are not worked as the top bait rods. It’s important not to lift and then wind for a moment of not winding or too quick a drop can reset the planer and now you’re fighting that rather than the fish.

A double hit had both his sister and Sebastian reeling and things were going along so well. In just a little over an hour we had caught everyone a few fish including some nice Kingfish. One was too small and had to be released but the others were kept.

Being in the right place at the right time for fishing is pure luck and while dad was reeling in another fish, the high line went off and I mean OFF! Line was screaming off the reel, Adam was busy with dad’s fish, sis had just caught something and mom wasn’t feeling too hot. By the time I got the high line down to Adam, over half the spool of line was off the reel. And Sebastian was smiling…

We had no idea what had hit. A Sailfish? Maybe… Some big Tuna had also been around… No jumping going on so probably not a Sail. We were finally able to stop the fish and Sebastian began retrieving some of the lost line as best he could. And we ALL were excited to see what we had on. This fish was angry and kept peeling line off for short bursts but Sebastian kept grinding away until finally, after about 25 minutes, we got a glimpse of the fish. Long, slender and silvery in color as he flashed below the boat… It was a big Kingfish, certainly the biggest I have seen in a while. Some dancing around below us trying to evade Adam’s gaff and this is usually when you lose the big ones, becoming anxious for it to be done. But not Sebastian, he stayed steady and cool, probably because he was exhausted.

We don’t mess with big Kings on the boat, their teeth are small but extremely sharp and it’s best they go straight into the box. This picture taken at the dock tells the end of this story. This tough little angler had a hard time holding the fish up and let it rest on the ground for the picture. You can see the rest of the catch lying behind him.

When you are this big and you catch a fish that big? Fort Lauderdale fishing is great!

Captain Steve

Posted in Kids Fishing, Sport, Uncategorized

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