So, what’s the deal? Is Father’s Day fishing the only
day dad can get out on the water and catch a few? LOL While it is generally
about dad, this year’s Father’s Day fishing was also about some young sons.
Even a few daughters.
We were very busy over the weekend even though the
forecast was kind of gloomy. But the attitude seemed to be that since the fish
were already wet, why not…
The fishing has been pretty good, and it didn’t fail
us Father’s Day weekend. Kingfish and Bonitos have been providing good action
on both the drift and sport fishing boats. A few Tuna are mixed in with the
Bonitos and that’s always a nice surprise.
For those on the drift fishing boat that bothered to
drop to the bottom? Mutton, Yellowtail and Vermillion snapper made up a nice
catch each trip.
Our sport boat was also working some of the shallow
wrecks and reefs we have and as I said, it’s also about the kids on dad’s day.
Check out this monster Barracuda caught by this young angler! Isn’t it great
when you’re young and short? You can say you caught a fish bigger than you! And
it’s true… Well, it was. LOL
Father’s Day fishing was a blast but no reason to wait
for the day to come around again. They are biting right now.
The Spring action is here, folks! This means the return of the bait schools on the reef and plenty of species to feed upon them. We expect the sailfish bite to continue to be solid as we have had a nice north current the past few days. The action on the reefs and bottom fishing is red-hot! NOW is the time to book your saltwater fishing adventure with Fantastic Fishing!
Sportfishing Report: The Sailfish Bite Remains Steady
The Sailfish continue to stay in the area and the roving pods of Sails are feasting on nearly every bait that we throw at them! Our clients have been catching and releasing large numbers of Sailfish as we fish live baits underneath our fishing kites or on the troll.
Kite-fishing is our specialty at Fantastic Fishing. Nothing gets the blood pumping like watching a double- or triple-header Sailfish bite up on the surface.We can fish up to three (3) live baits per kite, with at least two (2) kites up at any one time. We’re fishing between 80 and 200 feet of water.
When there is not enough wind to keep the kites in the air, we can also slow troll live baits such as Pilchards, Ballyhoo, Blue Runners and Goggle Eyes as well as troll our specially-crafted mullet strips.
The Kingfish and Wahoo are Making Noise
King Mackerel (‘Kingfish”) have also set up shop on and near the reefs to pounce on our unwary kite baits and trolled baits and they have only gotten thicker – and hungrier. Kingfish have teeth that are more like surgical scalpels and they fight hard, which is why we call them “smokers” – they will smoke your drag on scorching runs once they’re hooked. When they’re not crushing our live baits under the kite or slow-trolled, Kingfish have also been responding to our strip baits trolled below the surface on planers along with as Islanders with ballyhoo in both the blue/white and red/black color combinations. We’ve been finding the Kingfish in between 70 and 150 feet of water.
Wahoo are on the Scene
Wahoos have also shown up to crush our kite baits and our Kingfish baits trolled behind planers. The only thing better than the screaming drags and intense fights with Wahoo are how Wahoo taste on your dinner table!
Barracudas Don’t Want to be Left Out
While we’re on the reef targeting Sailfish, Kingfish and other species, another toothy monster has a knack for blowing up our kite baits and trolled baits: Barracuda! These fearsome-looking critters are tough, acrobatic fighters that refuse to be ignored. Barracuda also make amazing replica mounts.
The Grouper and Snappers are Frisky
With the recent full moon, the bottom fishing has been exceptional. We’ve been keeping our clients busy catching fish and sending them home with tasty dinner fare. Get a look at this huge Black Grouper!
Snappers or multiple varieties are also on the bite and stuffing our fish boxes.
When we visit our “honey hole” wrecks, our anglers have been “greeted: by slugger Amberjacks like the one below.
Our April trips are filling up fast as families visit us for Spring Break and May dates are getting scooped up. Give us a call to book your FANTASTIC trip now!
When you want to “swing for the fences,” the best way to raise a big pelagic species in the Southeast Florida area is to slow-troll a False Albacore or small Blackfin Tuna. Species such as Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, Yellowfin Tuna – even larger Sailfish – cannot resist a nice, juicy “bullet” trolled right in front of them. Here at Fantastic Fishing, we love nothing more than to troll a few “bullets” to put you on the trophy fish of a lifetime.
A “Bullet” is the nickname often used to describe a False Albacore (also called Little Tunny – in Southeast Florida, many anglers and crews refer to them as “bonito”) or a Blackfin Tuna, typically weighing in at between 2 to 6 lbs. False Albacore/Little Tunny are members of the Tuna family while the Atlantic Bonito is actually a member of the Mackerel family.
During the Spring and Summer months, False Albacore/Little Tunny and Blackfins can be found mixed together in large schools up and down the coast in depths from 50 feet out to 400 feet. Wherever you find them, you’ll find predators “nibbling around the edges” of the school. So, let’s match the hatch and give the predators what they want.
The first step is the catch the bullets. Small trolling feathers or spoons – or a mix – will work. Use 20 lb. – 30 lb. trolling outfits to catch the bullets. We prefer tolling between 4.5 and 6 knots. You don’t want to spend time fighting the bullets – you need to get them to the boat quickly yet gently. The sooner to the boat, the fresher the bullet. Ideally, you want to catch multiple bullets at a time so that you can start trolling more than one bullet.
The following videos shows our crew catching and rigging up live bonito:
Here’s the challenge for you and your crew: Unless you have “tuna tubes” installed in your boat to keep the bullets alive, you need to bring the bullets aboard, rig them and get them back into the water so that you can being trolling them – and be quick about it!
You need to have your live bullet rods staged and ready to go. Typically, we’ll use either 50s or 80s with 2-speed features on stand-up rods to troll live bullets. Make sure that the terminal tackle includes a Bimini twist connected to a wind-on leader of at least 200 lb. test, connected to a heavy-duty ball bearing snap swivel. We prefer our leaders to be at least 150 lb. test mono connected to a trace of Number 9 wire (105 lb. test) or greater. The type of species you’re targeting will dictate whether you go lighter or heavier with your wire leader to reduce visibility. If you’re targeting yellowfin tunas, you may not want to use wire at all. If there are sharks around, you want to step up to a heavier wire.
As for hooks, we prefer to use 10/0 J hooks. Why not circle hooks? If you’re targeting Wahoo, you don’t have the luxury of the fish swallowing your bait and then letting the circle hook dig in on its way out of the fish’s mouth. You need the hook to grab and grab quickly. If you’re only targeting tunas or billfish, you can get away with circle hooks.
Once you bring the bullet aboard, cover it in a damp towel so that you can manage the bait without harming it too much. Again, you need to be quick about it. You can either run the hook from your 50 through the bullet’s nostrils, up vertically through the upper lip of the bullet or you can bridle the hook to the top of the bullet’s head by running a rigging needle through the eye sockets. Once done, get the bullet back into the water with the boat slightly in gear.
At this point, you hopefully have 2 fresh bullets swimming behind the boat and you’re making less than 2 knots of forward speed. Slowly drop both bullets back and be sure to stagger them: One bullet short and one bullet long. The trick here is to troll the bullets with enough speed to keep them swimming and to make your way to deeper water but also not so much speed that you kill the bullets and cause them to spin/. You will likely need to do “in and outs” with the throttle to avoid drowning the bullets. A dead bullet does you no good – you will be firing “blanks.”
The next step is to make your way out of shallower water to deeper water to find the Wahoo, Tuna or billfish. You want to do this as quickly as possible – all while not killing the bullets – so as to minimize the possibility of having a bullet bitten in half by a Barracuda or Kingfish. This is typically a depth of 250 – 500 feet. Slow troll your bullets until a) you get a shot or b) your bullets die. Once you catch a fish or your baits die, you get to head back to shallower water to start the process all over again. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
You will be amazed at the size of the species that will attack the bullets and the ferocity of the bites. Most strikes are top-water bites that will make you weak in the knees. When you’re “swinging for the fences,” don’t be surprised when you hit a Grand Slam.
Call us to book your Fantastic Fishing Trip today!