Schools Are In Session

Posted on by Justin Ladenthin

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