As we begin the New Year I always look forward to Fort Lauderdale Sailfish fishing. It is one of our most exciting fish to catch just a mile or two off our coast. While we can catch Sailfish year round in any month, it is at this time of year we target them. They migrate through our coastal area heading south and if you’ve never caught a billfish? You’re in for a real treat!
From now until May, live bait will be the most productive, usually presented in kite fishing. Kite fishing usually allows you to “see the bite” as the fish approaches the bait held on the surface. Sometimes their sail is up out of the water, other times just the bill slashing at the bait attracts your attention. And if the fish eats the bait? Patience is a true virtue. Don’t come tight too quickly or you will pull the bait from his mouth.
A text book bite is the fish takes the bait and swims 10 to 20’ down and away. He will stop and at this point, he is adjusting the bait in his mouth so that he can swallow it head first. He may then swim another short distance and stop again. But once he begins his run with speed? You count to 3 and push up the drag.
If you’re fishing circle hooks, there’s no need to “set the hook”. Just coming tight with the fish takes care of that. J hooks do require some winding and setting of the hook. And at this point? He’s either on or gone.
Most sailfish jump when hooked but not all. There have been times we’ve fought a fish for 20 to 30 minutes before he presents himself. And if all goes well? You’ll have him boat side in 30 minutes or less. Don’t get anxious when he’s close, this is a critical time to play things smooth and easy. Give him some line if he needs it.
We release most Sailfish here in Fort Lauderdale. Even when you see a picture as I have here today, the fish was released and swam away. We have a tube that delivers salt water to the fish as we boat, measure, tag and photograph to keep him happy and healthy. And this way we can help our Fort Lauderdale Sailfish season be great year after year.