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We’re Sailing Through November

Posted on by Captain Steve

sailfish

We’ve launched into the Holiday Season and here in South Florida, the only colors changing are those of Mahi Mahi and Sailfish as we bring them along boatside. Here at Fantastic Sportfishing, we’re in the thick of the Fall Bite in the beautiful South Florida offshore fishery.

As we always make a point to do, we’d like to thank everyone who fished with us during October and those who intend to fish with us in November. Without you, we don’t get an opportunity to fish. We greatly appreciate your business and hope that you’ll come back to see us soon, especially our junior anglers who are looking forward to the upcoming holidays and holiday travel to visit family and friends. Keep in mind that Fantastic Fishing has trips available this holiday season should your travels bring you to tropical South Florida.

The crisp, fall weather has brought various schools of baitfish and the top-level predators who follow them, especially Wahoo and Sailfish. Our morning and evening trips have been producing well for all of our clients as we put the rainy season  , and the remnants of hurricane season, behind us.

Offshore Report: Time to Set Sail

Like most of our “snow birds” who make their way to South Florida to enjoy the winter months, the pods of Sailfish have begun to appear as they escape colder water and follow the huge schools of Ballyhoo as they make their way south down our beaches. We continue to catch Sailfish trolling the color changes between 100 feet and 300 feet of water. The Sailfish have been attacking Sea Witches (in blue/white and pink/white color combinations) trolled on the surface at 7 – 9 knots but the bite is switching over to live baits. Sailfish are starting to prefer live slow-trolled ballyhoos or goggle eyes dangling from a kite inside of 150 feet of water. The Sailfish bite will only get better as we make our way to Winter.

Blackfin Bonanza!

The Blackfin Tuna bite is epic right now! We’re averaging 15-20 Blackfin Tunas on every trip right now, with the size ranging from 8-12 pounds. We’re striking “black gold” up on the reefs inside of 200 feet of water trolling Sea Witches and Bonito Strips at 5 – 6 knots. The Tunas are keeping drags screaming and making for tasty dinners.

Tuna fish

There are also “bullet” bontios mixed in with the tunas and we’re using them as live baits for Wahoo, Amberjack and Sharks. If you have not seen how we fish with live bonitos, check out this video:

Wahoo on the Full Moon!

The Wahoo bite around the recent full moon was one of the best so far. We’ve been catching Wahoo up to 20 pounds on our trips. If you’ve never seen the line melt off of a reel, you need to come aboard to fish for Wahoo. We’ve had great Wahoo bites between 300 feet and 800 feet of water trolling Islanders and bonito strips below the surface on planers, with a little quicker pace than when we troll for Mahi Mahi or Kingifish.

The Wahoo’s cousin, Kingfish, are plentiful in the 7 to 15-pound range 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.

Shark Fishing Stays Solid:

The shark fishing continues to be steady with some epic catches mixed in. We continue to average between 1 and 2 sharks – or more -each trip. During the last few weeks, we’ve seen a flurry of Blacktips as they chase the migrating baitfish that head down just off of our beaches every Fall. We also caught a 250 pound Bull Shark and a few large Hammerheads on live bonitos or butterflied Kingfish dropped down in 300 feet of water.

Bull fishing

Speaking of dropping down a live bonito, we’ve also caught huge, bruising Amberjacks on the reefs using live bonitos.

There are still plenty of migrating bait schools to enable you to take advantage of our Fall Tarpon Charters. Give us a call to book a trip with Fantastic Sportfishing.

Tight Lines,
Captain Steve

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The Trick is Catching Mahi Mahi; The Treat is Fresh Fish for Dinner

Posted on by Captain Steve

The offshore action is not waiting around for the Great Pumpkin to arrive. Here at Fantastic Sportfishing, we continue to enjoy stellar Fall fishing action in the beautiful waters of South Florida. We’re fishing every single day and we’re pulling up to the dock with stuffed fish boxes and sore arms.

As always, we’d like to thank everyone who fished with us during September and those who intend to fish with us in October. 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 picking out Halloween costumes that will be sure to drive their parents crazy.

The early fall weather has brought a bit of wind and some occasional sporty seas but the weather has also energized the baitfish and the fish that follow. Our morning and evening trips have been producing well for all of our clients and the heat and humidity has made things a bit more comfortable out on the water as an added bonus.

Offshore Report: Mahi, Mahi and More Mahi Mahi:

The Mahi Mahi have been EVERYWHERE in recent weeks! We can’t get away from them! Our clients caught gaffer-sized Mahi (10 – 20 pounds) as well as smaller Mahi under the steady stream of weed patches that continue to be blown in from the Bahamas and from the Eastern Atlantic. We’ve been catching our Mahi Mahi between 300 and 500 feet of water on rigged ballyhoo and bonito strips with blue/white skirt combinations. We’ve also caught many on live baits tossed at the weed patches or underneath frigate birds.

 

The Blackfin Tunas and Bonitos can still be found up on the reefs in the 5 to 10-pound range inside of 200 feet of water trolling Sea Witches and Bonito Strips at 5 – 6 knots. The Tunas and Bonitos are keeping drags screaming and clients smiling.

Kingfish in the 10 to 15-pound range are still biting 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 Here:

The Sailfish bite continues to improve as the Fall weather patterns take shape. We continue to catch Sailfish trolling the color changes between 100 feet and 300 feet of water. The Sailfish have been attacking Sea Witches (in blue/white and pink/white color combinations) trolled on the surface at 7 – 9 knots but the bite is switching over to live baits. Sailfish are starting to prefer live slow-trolled ballyhoos or goggle eyes dangling from a kite inside of 150 feet of water. The Sailfish bite will only get better as we make our way to Winter.

Shark Fishing Stays Solid:

The shark fishing continues to be Fantastic! We continue to average between 1 and 2 sharks – or more -each trip. During the last few weeks, we’ve seen a flurry of Silky Sharks and Blacktips as they chase the migrating baitfish that head down just off of our beaches every Fall. There have also been some huge Hammerheads coming up to empty a spool every once in awhile. All of the sharks were caught either on Bonito or Kingfish dropped down in 300 feet of water.

As Halloween approaches, the Fall bait migrations should be in full swing on the beaches and on the reefs, which should lead to ever-better fishing. Ask about our Fall Tarpon Charters to catch one of these prehistoric acrobats as they follow schools of bait down the beach.

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

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Father’s Day Fishing Trip

Posted on by Captain Steve

fahter's day

You know, Dad likes to fish anytime, not just on Father’s Day. However, the Father’s Day fishing trip always has us busy and this year is no exception.

We had a great family on board and when asked what they would like to catch? Just put us on some fish was the answer… My favorite answer to this question. But today we struggled at first with this somewhat easy task.

The radio for the fleet was reporting plenty of Kings and Bonito in the area. And yet, it had been over an hour of fishing and we still had nothing in our box. We’ve had the hits but missed every fish. It seemed an eternity before we finally stayed connected and just catching one King gave me hope our drought was over.

Now some folks like Kingfish, others aren’t too fond of them. Our group could take or leave them so after boating 6 or so, we opted for some off shore Dolphin fishing.

In order to catch Dolphin, you must find something to fish to. Plenty of seaweed has been around and with it being Father’s day, plenty of boats were out too. We got to the pretty blue water and began our search. Scattered grass and some big patches of weed were in our area. Little Bar Jacks that hide beneath the weed were also present. And finally, a Mahi! Easily too small to keep as was the second.

But we continued and finally began catching some we could keep. No real big ones but the action was consistent as 1 after another made it into our box. They weren’t together, just coming one at a time.  And being about 7 miles from shore, our time had come to go home.

In the end, we had 6 Kings, 8 keeper Dolphin, we had released some 15 Jacks and probably almost as many small Mahis. But our group was quite pleased with the Father’s day fishing trip.

Remember, dad will go fishing anytime! LOL

Captain Steve

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The Bite Is On

Posted on by Captain Steve

3 hour sail

If you are looking for fish to bend the rod, you should be fishing right now! The bite is on here in south Florida. Mahi-mahi, Tuna, Kingfish and others are bending our rods with frequency. And all this action has been within a few miles of shore.

 

While I try to spin whatever we’re catching into good news, I don’t have to work at it this month. The picture above is from our Southwest Airline group. Each year they come for their annual get together and always need fish for their fish fry on the last evening. They won’t go hungry this year, that’s for sure.

 

Kings and Bonitos, along with some Tuna are mixed in the reef area. Depending on the water color, Mahi-mahi and Wahoo may also be there. But that’s not all we’ve been getting. A few sharks and Sails have been mixed in as well. Most of these fish are being caught trolling.

 

And after all the time I’ve been doing this, I still get a thrill when someone catches a Sail and says they can scratch that off their bucket list. It just makes me smile as it did with this gentleman and his prize.

If you are looking for action, for edible fish or just to bend the rod, now is the time. The bite is on!

 

Captain Steve

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Springtime Fishing Begins

Posted on by Captain Steve

tuna topia

While some of you are living where the weather has been unseasonable, here in south Florida our springtime fishing started about a week ago. And our all day trip today was proof positive of this.

 

Our 3 guests had but one day before heading to Bolivia. They are volunteering to help build churches in areas that cannot afford them. Certainly a noble cause and perhaps even lending to a fun, fish filled day.

 

With the forecast of rain, we opted to catch our own bait. Chum and the usual areas were not providing so our trolling gear was deployed. It took maybe 20 minutes for our first bite and the action was near nonstop the rest of the day.

 

First were the Kingfish in the reef area. Bites were coming one or two at a time. While our guests had never used this kind of tackle before, they adapted quickly and soon were beating Dom to the rod when a bite came. They were having so much fun, even after the 2 per person limit was reached, we continued catch and release for a while before venturing just a bit further off shore.

 

The top picture is Dom holding a Yellowfin Tuna. This small Tuna was schooling with the Blackfin Tuna. We had stumbled into Tuna Topia and some nice sized fish were biting. Yellowfin are rare in our area and we ended up with 2 along with a hoard of Blackfin.

 

We took a break from this action to put the boys on something bigger. The Amberjacks cooperated nicely for this purpose and the guys enjoyed posing with their catches before releasing those back to the sea.

Our troll home was still producing more Tuna but these were considerably smaller than the ones from earlier. We had plenty and were releasing them as we went until the time came to return to the dock.

 

This is the kind of action you expect from springtime fishing. I look forward to fishing again today.

 

Captain Steve

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Best Time To Fish

Posted on by Captain Steve

Tuna fish

Almost every day people call for information and one of the questions they ask is “When is the BEST time to fish”. In some cases, they are asking about a particular month or time of year. But mostly, it is more about the morning or afternoon trip. Which is better? Well, let me give you some tips about the best time to fish…

 

First and foremost you should know we fish year round here in Fort Lauderdale. Unlike hunting, which has open and closed seasons, fishing can be done 365 days a year. It is true that some species might be off limits at times… Groupers are closed right now until May 1. But many other species are available.

 

Twice each day, as the sun climbs and falls, the morning and afternoon bite is the strongest. When the sun is high in the sky, fish feeding near the surface cast a shadow down into the water. Predators use this for their feeding pattern. So, the lower the sun, the better your chances. Early morning and the late afternoon are usually the best.

 

If you are here on vacation and have the ability to avoid the weekend, that can be advantageous. With spring break going on, lots of people are out there fishing.  If you cannot avoid the weekend, I recommend a 6 hour with an early start or an afternoon 6 hour. Both give you that early morning, late afternoon bite.

 

But… I’m on vacation. I don’t want to get up early. Or… We have dinner plans and need to be back by 5. The fact is no matter WHEN you fish, your crew is going to do their very best to find and catch you some fish!

And if you live here, get up for that early morning bite. Or push your dinner plans back an hour. But in all truth, the absolute BEST time to fish is when you can.

 

Captain Steve

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Fort Lauderdale Fishing Report

Posted on by Captain Steve

Mahi Mahi Sword

With some changing weather and spring just around the corner, things are changing as the ocean warms. While some fish are still migrating south, others have started their return to the north and cooler waters. The next few months should make for some exciting fishing.

 

Tuna, Wahoo and Dolphin should become more plentiful. Kingfish and Bonito should also show their presence in the reef area. But you’ll have to be on your game and get the fish into the boat quickly. Sharks will also be around and while have a fish is better than none? They usually eat the good half.

On our sport boat, we have been having excellent action on the wrecks and reefs with Barracuda and Amberjack. Mostly light tackle is being used with live bait for some great fights! A few Kingfish and Wahoo are also being caught this way. You just never know.

Our most recent Swordfish trip was a huge disappointment. Making 4 drops during the day netted one hook up and one miss. The hook up was a big fish and we fought it for almost an hour. We got the weight off and had the leader twice but this fish was not to be caught. His final run parted the main line. I’ve learned this is part of the game but absolute hate not seeing what we had on.

 

Our drift boat is have some good action as well. Captain Patrick’s most recent catch is posted on our Facebook page. Snapper, Triggerfish and other reef fish are plentiful. You can find the page here: https://www.facebook.com/Fanntastic-Fishing-1476203306014764/

 

Whatever you choose as far as fishing? Be it sport or drift, things are improving and fish are cooperating. Enjoy the day, keep the rod bent and you’ll be rewarded. Tight lines.

 

Captain Steve

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Fishing This Week

Posted on by Captain Steve

Cuda Fish

Most of our fishing this week has been done in what we here in south Florida consider cold. OK, try not to laugh. You bundle up with winter clothes or are scraping ice or snow from your windows. As your temperatures hit 20’s or less, we thin blooded people prepare to brave 50’s! Ok, go ahead and laugh. LOL

But our Florida sun comes out and things get warm quickly. These cold snaps really help our fishing and keep things moving south. Just like many of you from up north. We’ll be seeing some of you soon.

Our area here off the shore is like a virtual highway for fish migrating. Drops in sea temperatures have fish traveling for warmer waters. And just a few miles from shore everything from small to large will pass by. Sometimes they come in spurts of one species or another. Other times it can be like rush hour.

Sailfish are what we are expecting soon. They ride the waves and sea swells south against the current. It is known as “tailing” as they surf down sea on their travels south. It hasn’t happened just yet but will soon.

Fort Lauderdale Fishing Charter

Dolphin have been making appearances as well. While some sea weed helps, they too are just moving south and can be caught just out of the blue. Li8ve bait has been the best for these but trolling has also had good results.

Our wrecks have been producing both bottom fish and some large predators as in the picture of Mike holding his monster Barracuda. Almost 30 minutes on light tackle to land this beast, a true trophy!

We always try to provide our guests with what they hope to catch. But our main goal is to catch fish! And this “cool” weather has been helping our fishing this week.

Captain Steve

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Late Fall Dolphin

Posted on by Captain Steve

Charter Boats Ft Lauderdale

While our waters cool off Fort Lauderdale, the late fall Dolphin have been gracing us with their presence. The wrecks, both deep and shallow, are also performing well. And some other stuff mixed in. Here’s the rundown.

On the rip

While a “rip” is any type of quiet water on one side and current on the other, this is just one attraction that leads us to Dolphin. Any kind of flotsam, weed beds or even just a color change can hold fish.

Lately we’ve been finding a stringy type of sea grass holding Dolphin within just a few miles from shore. Only a few throw backs, most are in the 5-10 pound range with a few nice sized gaffers. Always a popular fish with our guests for both the fight and table fare. It is probably the most requested fish.

 

Closer to shore

Come toward shore just a mile or two and you are fishing back in the reef area. Kingfish, Tuna and Sailfish have been caught in this area. While they are thick, they have been biting with regularity. The kings have been small unless using live bait. That can produce some of the big ones!

On the Drift

Our drift boat, the Lois Ann, has been having great luck with small Kings. Many are throw backs because of their size but certainly a thrill to catch. Daytime drifting has also had good catches of Trigger, Mutton Snapper and some good sized Yellowtails.

The evening anchor trip has been having good catches of Mangrove, Vermillion and Yellowtail Snapper. The crowds have been light so there’s been plenty of room.

No matter which type of fishing you do, you can expect some good results. And we’ll be looking for those late fall Dolphin until the trend changes.

Captain Steve

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Charter Boat Fishing

Posted on by Captain Steve

deep-sea fishing

With the time change firmly in place now, I get a glimpse of the sea as I come over the bridge on my way to the charter boat dock. The sun is too low for a look at the color. But sea conditions look nice even though the wind is blowing.

 

I arrive an hour or so early before the trip. But some days, our guests are just as early. Anxious with anticipation and excited about their charter boat trip.

 

As we prepare for our day we have a chance to find out our guests expectations. Some really don’t care what they catch. Something to eat would be nice, maybe a BIG fish. Others have prepared a semi shopping list, specific in their wants of what is to be caught. To this I can only respond that we are going fishing, not shopping. LOL We’ll still do our best to fill their bill.

I can tell that today’s group is here strictly to have a good time. I am asked if one gentleman can bring his own rod. Even though we have everything we need, I say sure, bring it. He then produces a pink and purple Disney Princess rod from his car, his granddaughter’s. Oh, this is going to be good… LOL

 

It seemed the day went by in a second. Before I knew it, we were on our way home. Mahi-mahi and Kingfish for were dinner. A nice Barracuda was released and some other hits on our live bait. And while everyone on board caught fish and had a great time, I wanted more for these folks. I always do.

 

Super nice and full of humor was the theme of this outing. And that is what charter boat fishing is all about. Tomorrow I will watch the dawn break again on my in to work. I’ll meet my guests. Will it be you?

 

Captain Steve

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