Posts Tagged "Fishing Trip"

Shared Fishing Charter Trips

Posted on by Captain Steve

Shared fishing trip

Private charter fishing trips are the main type of trips we sail in the winter months but all year long we offer what is called a split or shared fishing charter trip. These trips are put together with people that are traveling alone or maybe as a couple and don’t want to spend the money for a private charter. In the summer months here in the Fort Lauderdale/ Hollywood/ Miami area, this is usually the case and type of trip we run.

Our group today got along so well, we as crew barely got a word in edgewise. Catching some fish sure didn’t hurt either. While the skies were sunny and the winds light, we began and continued to troll the entire time, a great way to catch fish in the summer heat as it creates a breeze as we move through the water. And I can tell you, even the smaller fish put up a good fight… It’s not as easy as it looks on TV and that comment was made more than once. LOL

A few Bonitos, we expect more to come, some Kingfish, small Dolphin and Tuna were our fish of the day. The Dolphin were too small to keep but were photographed before being released by those that caught them because of their vibrant color. In less than a week they will be big enough to keep but they are somewhat educated now… A couple of nice Kingfish in the 10-15 pound range, a Huge Bonito with a regular Bomber and a nice Tuna made our group quite happy.

The ONLY problem with split or shared fishing charters is trying to get the entire group to line up back at the dock for a photo with their catch! The two guys on the right were so excited about the size of these fish, I can only guess they were used to Bluegills or Croppies… They stood for over 5 minutes waiting for the rest to appear. The gal in the picture was also excited and one of the most tenacious anglers I have ever seen. In the end, this was all I could capture at the end of our trip

So if you want to save a few bucks and meet some great people, a split or shared fishing charter trip might be for you. It’s a great way to go sport fishing without the entire cost of the boat on your shoulders. But you have to be nice… And share…

Captain Steve

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Fort Lauderdale Swordfish Fishing Trip

Posted on by Captain Steve

Fishing trips for Swordfish off the shore of Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood can produce a bite in a single day. But more experienced fishermen know their odds increase with a multi-day fishing trip. It just so happens the boys we had out today had fished the previous few days with us. Their first day was a bust as far as Swordfish went. The second day got a few bites but nothing stayed connected. Those first few days happened to be my days off and because of the poor luck, there was talk of staying in tight for some more action. But at the last minute, Chip changed his mind and we were once again headed off shore to where the Swordfish feed during the day. We were in the “Go big or go home” mode.

Dave and Darrin had done the research and with the few bites the day before, we had a good idea where to fish. It’s a long way to the area we fish for Swordfish so we had the high speed lures out for any Marlin that might be around. Our first set we found we were getting too deep too quickly and decided after 45 minutes to reset. Retrieving the bait and making a move in the heavy currents of the Gulf Stream can take almost an hour but we would find out this was to be our day.

Our second set got us a bite. The fish played and billed the bait but eventually lost interest and never ate. We checked the bait and found it was fairly mutilated so we rigged again, got back in front of the fish and dropped again. It didn’t take long until we were connected!

Because of the depth, the size of the gear and pure human resources we use an electric reel for this type of fishing. In many cases the angler sits in the chair and fights the fish just as you would but pushing a button to real rather than cranking with a handle. Many a fish can be lost if the rod is pulled or jerked too quickly or harshly. Chip opted to leave the rod in the covering boards and set the reel to automatic. With the drag set, the reel can do all the work if you wish and Chip opted for another beer. LOL

Once the weight was retrieved and removed from the line, our fish was still 150’ away and down from the boat, we still hadn’t seen him. Now we come to a bit more boat handling to keep the boat in good position. Chip ready with the dart as the fish neared the boat, the dart is merely a safety precaution to have another line attached to the fish. None of these creatures are happy about their first boat ride…

With the dart finally in (it isn’t easy and takes practice) and Darrin on the gaff, our prey was boated and high 5’s all around. 3 full days of fishing and finally Chip’s prize was on board. A nice one too, weighing in at 180 lbs. a 68” short length. (The short length is measured from the fork of the tail to the tip of the lower jaw). The short length makes sure the fish is big enough to legally harvest and there was no doubt with this one.

While it was great having one fish aboard, we were zooming back to where the fish were for a second shot and got that shot shortly after reaching the bottom again. A fairly fierce bite that destroyed the bait and retrieving as fast as we could and resetting for another shot did not pan out. It’s not unusual for these fish to start moving to shallower waters at this time of day to get into position for their night feeding where they come much closer to the surface and we revert to hand cranking them.

I felt lucky and privileged to be part of Chip catching his fish of a life time. And as the sun began sinking in the west, we headed home from our Swordfish fishing trip off Fort Lauderdale. The hours just seem to fade away when you come home with your prize.

Captain Steve

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Fort Lauderdale Great Fishing Trips

Posted on by Captain Steve

The area just off shore of Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood has been producing some great fishing trips for our guests. The weather has been cooperating with sunny skies, reasonable seas and some awesome catches this week. A very nice mixed bag of fish, just what you’d expect and should expect for the next few months as we shift from our winter season to spring and summer with fish migrating through our area.

What a pleasure to say to our groups “Well, that didn’t take long…” as many trips begin with hits before all the rods are set. One or two baits in the water and a reel is singing. We usually start trolling as we cross the reef and Bonitos, Kingfish, Dolphin and Wahoo have been quite cooperative in all of this. And I’ve always said, catching fish is like making money, the first million is the hardest. Well, not right now, for fishing that is.

The reef has been alive with baitfish and that has all kinds of species around. While trolling produces some hits, fishing with live bait has been producing larger fish. Big Dolphin and Kingfish have been biting well. Even a few Tuna and a Tuna that can eat a live bait is usually a nice one. Sailfish haven’t been thick but they have been around and should become more plentiful. And with all this going on? Sharks are now quite prevalent. You’d best reel quickly or lose part of your fish to a hungry predator.
IMG_0206 Mahi girl
Our pictures this week were some of the Dolphin we’ve been catching. A group from Boston had a blast catching this pair as they both hit at once and orchestrating the rods to keep the lines from crossing was quite a challenge. And who doesn’t like seeing a pretty girl with her catch?

It’s all happening right now off Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood’s shores and just a few miles out too. Some great fishing trips to be had. Join us, won’t you?

Captain Steve

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Great All Day Fishing Trip

Posted on by Captain Steve

Charter Boats Ft Lauderdale

You never know what will happen on an all-day fishing trip here in Fort Lauderdale. Our group today had fished the afternoon the day before with poor results, my day off. So when they showed up to the dock on the absolutely gorgeous day, a few things were straightened out, since I was the new guy. LOL

Dan was the first of the party I met. We want edible fish he said even before we had been introduced. I already was aware of this as Darren had fished him the day before and we had already formed a plan for our outing. A fresh fish dinner was on our schedule for these folks and we had all day to fill the plates.

Along with Dan came Scott, Brad and Amanda. Their food and beverages were loaded which included a bottle of Crown and we were off for our day. The weather was absolute perfect. Clear skies, light winds, calm seas and a perfect temperature. You get that at the end of March.

Trolling was first up and as soon as we began, the first 2 baits out each were eaten by Bonitos. Well, that didn’t take long and our group was already happy to be catching fish and an improvement from the day before. All except Dan who mentioned that Bonitos weren’t very good to eat. Dan would turn out to be quite the character on this trip.

We continued on and caught a few Kingfish, all small ones. When it comes to eating Kingfish, the smaller, the better, as they have less oil in the meat. A few more Bonitos followed and all in all we had ourselves a pretty good box of fish. Even if our deep drop plans didn’t work out, food had been provided.

As we neared the midpoint of our trip, we made our move to provide a bit taster treat for our guests and headed to deeper water and some fishing with the electric reel. Black Bellied Rose fish and Golden Tilefish were our target. This kind of fishing is done with an electric reel because of the depth we have to fish in, between 600’ and 900’ of water with a 6 to 10 pound weight attached. It’s a chore just to bring the rig up with nothing on it, much less with fish.

Our first drop offered us quite the surprise. In almost 800’ of water fishing the bottom, only a few bites were shaking the tip. As our prey was retrieved, a surprise showed up along with the 2 Rosies we’d caught… A very large Dusky shark! We threw a few pieces of cut bait in to keep him interested and asked if anyone would like to catch this large creature. The response was YES!

So Darren quickly rigged a bait and pitched it on the right tackle to this shark that was hanging around waiting for more food. And who gets the call to fight the fish first? Amanda. Little Amanda who might weigh 100 lbs. Maybe.
IMG_0598 Amanda
Dusky sharks are quite rare, they have been protected for years here in Florida. This one was one of the largest I’d ever seen, they usually are around 6’ to 7’ in our area. Amanda was in the seat using the bucket and fighting this fish with some help from all. Dan was jabbering about something, Scott was observing and Brad was taking pictures of his fiancé fighting the fish. It took a while but soon enough we had the fish boatside for pictures, measurements and release.

Now, just a note here. Many times when we fight fish, I do not have time to snap a pic or 2. In these cases, I always ask the guest to send me the shots they took. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. I would find out soon enough that Brad had every intention of giving me what he taken. 8 videos and over 100 shots, presented to me at the dock on a thumb drive. Talk about a photo service!

Once the shark was released we went back to what we needed to do. A new spot got us some Rosies and 1 Golden Tilefish to add to the bounty. Plenty for dinner tonight and tomorrow. And Dan was finally quiet and happy.

We’re always fighting the clock to provide fish on a half day trip but an all-day fishing trip gives us ample opportunity to do many things. Now let’s take a look at that thumb drive…

Captain Steve

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The Perfect Fishing Trip

Posted on by Captain Steve

Charter Boats Ft Lauderdale

There are times our customers, or guests as I like to refer to them, have their own perceptions of what their perfect fishing trip is. But most our guests never know what to expect when they step onto our boats. They know they are going fishing but how and what happen are unknowns to many. They just board the boat and sit back for the ride.

For these people my idea of a perfect fishing trip is one where everyone catches something and then something cool to be brought in. Getting your hands on the rod, feeling the fish pull as you begin to wind. Maybe it pulls enough to make the drag slip out or maybe it doesn’t. The fish is soon at the boat and your job is done and done well.

Getting everyone a fish the last few months has been a struggle, to say the least. But it is with great glee that I say the tide has turned here in our area off the coast of Florida. With March came the fish and lots of them. Mahi-mahi showed up in good numbers and size. Kingfish began biting again as well as a few Bonitos close to the reef. Sharks of various species and Sailfish have also been caught in recent days like the one caught just 2 days ago in the picture.

And with ALL this action it’s so nice to see our customers smiling about their catches rather than our jokes and stories. But the true perfect fishing trip is the smile on the young man at the bottom here. While certainly no monster of the deep or trophy size catch, this young man caught the absolute BEST fish of his life all by himself. And that big smile he’s wearing, to me as a captain? That IS the perfect fishing trip!IMG_0196 smile

Captain Steve

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Swordfish Success Hollywood Fishing Trips

Posted on by Captain Steve

sword fish

One of the great things about daytime Swordfish Trips is the Hollywood Hills is right off shore of us and that gives us a high chance for success. Another great thing about them is our decisions of what to fish for and where have already been made.

Lately fishing in our area has been slow. Our above normal sea temperatures and warm weather has kept the Sailfish we usually catch this time of year north of us. There has been no reason for them to migrate south and while we have been catching some fish, Dolphin, a few Kingfish and so on, the action hasn’t been great. We’re hoping these next two cold fronts make a change in all this.

So when Darren and I found we were headed out for day timing for Swordfish, we were delighted! We loaded up Brad and his dad Jeff and headed out for our long run off shore, well, long for here since most our fish are caught within 2 miles of shore. This trip would take us over 2 hours of running with high speed lures out to get to our fishing grounds.

Fishing for Swordfish during the day is quite involved. We use an electric reel with various spools of different weight line… Usually 80# or 60# if the current is strong. A 15 lbs. weight is also used to help us get the bait down to the bottom and the bait? This must be a work of art. It has to travel through the water so it does not spin and get tangled. There’s nothing worse that retrieving a bait that has spun up and become a jumbled mess of line, lights and hooks.

Our ride to the fishing grounds was uneventful other than one Mahi-mahi we caught as we rounded the corner making ready for our first drop. Jeff did the reeling and Brad was delighted as he had never caught one before. The boys were licking their chops thinking of dinner already. The trolling lines were cleared, the electric reel set up and baited and we began our first deep drop of the day.

It takes about 4 minutes to reach the bottom here in the depth we fish in. Flashing lights that are water activated are used on the leader to attract attention once the bait is down. The glow sticks we use at night cannot handle the pressure of the water here at this kind of depth. The computer readout on the reel says we have about 2300’ of line out and our bait is just off the bottom.

We waited about an hour and while we waited, we put a kite up with a few live Goggle eyes in it just in case another Mahi or maybe something else was around. As we fished, our direction was 1.5 knots to the north even though we were headed south. The Gulf Stream usually runs at better than 3 knots to the north this time of year.

With no bite we decided to bring the bait up and check, just to make sure small fish had not destroyed it or it had tangled on the drop. It takes almost 7 minutes with the electric to retrieve the bait, over 20 if done by hand. And as always, time is our enemy… But the bait was fine and we re-dropped right where we were. We were in the heart of the grounds; all we needed was some cooperation from our prey.

Finally back in place, we again waited for a sign. Seas were subsiding some and as we often do, moving the bait, checking our proximity to the bottom, Darren looked up at me and just gave a grin. He was in the process of dropping down and the weight stopped. It just stopped, way too soon. The rod tip twitched a few times, the button was pushed and held and something was taking drag!

It took over 30 minutes to retrieve the weight, the fish we had on, whatever it was, was still 150’ from the boat and couldn’t be seen. It bit like a Swordy, and was fighting like a Swordy, but you just never know. Sharks, Oil fish, at this depth? It could be all kinds of things. And now? With the weight off? The fun begins. Let’s get a look at what we have on!

About 50’ from the boat we got our first look at our fish. He was up on the surface slashing his bill back and forth. It’s a Swordfish all right and a nice one too. He measured out at 97” overall and weighed I’d guess about 80 lbs. After the long battle he was tired and gave Darren no trouble at the boat with the gaff. Once in the boat the fish was still moving and had to be held down tightly to keep from hurting himself or others.

It doesn’t always go this way, we wish it did. But when it all comes together? It’s a great experience! I’ve been doing this a long, LONG time and I still get chills when landing a fish like this. Imagine how Brad and his dad felt? Their first time…
IMG_0136 sword 2
So while the fishing might not be so great, that doesn’t mean great things can’t happen. And the success we had today off Hollywood on this fishing trip looking for Swordfish certainly will keep me energized for some time to come.

Thanks for listening; I got a little long on this one. LOL

Captain Steve

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Birthday Fishing Trip Does Well

Posted on by Captain Steve

Dolphin fish

Here in the Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale area it is not unusual to have a few birthday fishing trips come our way. The day was Blake’s birthday and what he REALLY hoped to catch was a Dolphin and maybe a Sailfish. So Blake treated himself to a private charter with a few friends… Jason, Ashley and Dana. Friends, couples, married… I don’t know and don’t ask unless the information is offered. 

For Sailfish, the BEST baits are the Goggle Eyes that can be bought on the way out the port. And the Sailfish should be here right now but they have been a bit lean. None the less, we like to put our best foot forward and off we went to catch Blake and his group some fish.

Trolling was turning out to be a bust, it seemed as if nothing was on the reef feeding and after an hour or so, we decided to switch things up a bit and put some live baits out along with some big baits on both the top and bottom. Our group was having a great day at sea, cool temperatures, very clear and sunny skies, light winds and calm seas. The time was actually going by quickly considering we had only caught one small Bonito… I think…LOL

We sat for quite some time and passed the time talking and telling stories and such when suddenly, a fish was jumping behind the boat. A Dolphin had eaten one of our live baits and was jumping toward us, the release clip on the rigger was still intact. JJ was quick and handed the rod off to Blake after getting it loose from the rigger and some excitement was happening!

And at this point, I have to ask you, is this birthday luck? Blake had asked for a Dolphin, not one had been reported from any boat out and yet, here we were, fighting one right now. And to add to the luck, as the fish neared the boat, we saw he had brought some friends with him. Lot’s of friends too! And this is where a charter boat is the boat to be on when opportunity meets preparation!

We were lucky, again, that Blake and Jason knew how to tie hooks on. The chaos that followed was typical when a boat is surrounded by hungry fish. Jason ran down below, as instructed by JJ, and brought out more spinning rods. Our second spinner was already in use and hooked with a fish on it, Blake at the side keeping his fish in the water. More rods, more bait, this one over that one, you come around over here… Working the fish and the rods around the big bait rods, keeping things clear, boating fish, it truly was chaos.

This entire episode lasted maybe 30 minutes or less. Mahi-mahi began to become aware that some of their friends are leaving the group and things aren’t normal. Their aggressive nature and speed at which they approach a bait begin slowing down as they approach in a more cautious manner. And soon the school had moved on heading south and any other boat that encountered them would have a tough time getting a bite for a while.

The cleanup began, we had missed a bottom bite in all the commotion, no hooks were left on our spinning rods but our group was delighted! In all, 18 Dolphin had been caught and maybe 2 or 3 lost. We fished a bit longer and even saw a few Dolphin swim by the boat but they were not interested in anything we offered.
IMG_4181 Dolphin
So it was a happy group we returned to the dock with their catch. A birthday wish granted, well, only one wish, but 18 times. 

Captain Steve

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Hollywood Sailfish Fills Bucket List

Posted on by Captain Steve

Sailfish Fishing

It seems the movie “The Bucket List” has made its way to the fishing world here in Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale. We get many requests now for certain kinds of fish and today, with previous guests Jeff and his son Joel, the request was for a Sailfish.

I personally didn’t think Jeff was old enough to have a bucket list but none the less the customer is always right. On previous trips, they had always shared the charter with others but today, just in case the right fish came along, there would be no sharing and the fish would be theirs, providing he graced us with his presence. So off we went with but one prey in mind, an Atlantic Sailfish.

Grey skies and a bit of chop on the seas were our conditions as we deployed the kites and waited. Lately, small Silky Sharks have been around in numbers. These fish are fun to catch but we’d rather they not eat our “live baits”. They are quick predators and there is no stopping them once they have the bait in their sights. Joel was called upon to deal with these as Jeff saved his strength for “the right fish”.

A rod and reel began singing out and since all we’d seen was the small sharks, Joel was in the chair doing the fighting. This time however, the fish we’d hook was a Sail! He let his presence be known by the jumping, twisting and everything else he could do to escape. And it was a quite a show as the fish easily tore the line off the spool.

Joel tired quickly after dealing with the small sharks and now Jeff was in the seat and had his first feel of what his bucket list item felt like. Rod bent, instructions given, he did an excellent job angling the fish closer to the boat, only to watch the fish easily swim away taking the precious line that had taken more than 20 minutes to retrieve. This fish was not quite ready to come to the boat.

Now, just a note… It is common practice that when you hook a fish as we did, you leave the kites and other baits out, so essentially, we’re still fishing. And it just so happened that another, smaller Sailfish had eaten a bait and was now jumping out behind us. This can make things complicated as you do NOT want these 2 fish next to the boat at the same time. So we loosened the drag on Joel’s fish and just let him take all the line he wanted while we dealt with Jeff’s Sail.

And so it was, we boated Jeff’s fish first for pictures, measurements and releasing the fish. We then released Joel’s fish boat side when he finally retrieved all that line and amazingly, our time was up and headed home. For whatever reason, Joel is featured in the picture with JJ. I guess Jeff was too spent.

It doesn’t always go this way but today it had. After 4 trips with us Jeff finally had his Sail, something we had apparently instilled in his mind by mentioning that Sailfish season begins in November. I found they planned their entire trip around this fishing expedition.
I might also add… They loved our new home here in Hollywood, Florida. I’m sure we’ll see them again soon.

Captain Steve

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Fort Lauderdale Sport Fishing Improves

Posted on by Captain Steve

Bonitos Fishing

While the sport of fishing here in Fort Lauderdale is a year round thing, certain times of the year cause an excellent result in how good the fishing is and what we catch. As the sun begins to move to the south and the days are shorter, the water temps begin to fall. The cooling water is usually first shown by schools of Mullet traveling south along our beaches and through the waterways. This is already beginning here in Fort Lauderdale.

While Mullet are easily seen, even by novices, other baitfish are also moving south and with them they bring the fish. Always on the prowl for food, schools of Bonito, Kingfish, Mahi-mahi, Barracuda and Sharks follow these schools of bait right past our shore and it’s just starting to happen here.

Our trip yesterday was the kind of trip that the need for talking wasn’t needed. There was so much action and so many fish, our poor customers barely had time to catch their breath. In just over 2 hours of fishing, we caught over 40 Bonitos and 2 Kings. It was over an hour before we were able to get ALL our lines set, as each time we started putting something out, it got hit. The one time we did have everything out at once, all lines came down with fish on them. The group was having a blast and Justin was delighted with the help he got from all involved. The guys were bringing in the shock cords and boating the fish while Justin rigged and set lines.

This is the time of year when most our action is close to shore by these schools of migrating bait. Small Mahi-mahi are beginning to show and fishing for their big brothers and sisters has been excellent in the fall the last few years. We expect the same this year as well.
People always ask when is the best time to fish? The answer is when they are biting, and right now? They are biting in Fort Lauderdale…

Keep em tight… Keep em on
Captain Steve

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Fanntastic Fishing Lands Mako Shark

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Upon my return to Fort Lauderdale from the Bahamas, my first fishing trip back got even me excited! Our trip today was a mixed group of people and of course, they ALL wanted to catch fish. Trolling had been producing some small sized Bonitos on the reef and with little wind, we decided to keep the boat moving in our high 80’s temps and begin out day with some easy fish to catch.

The Bonitos were biting pretty good as were the King Mackerel. It took a little over an hour to catch everyone aboard a couple of fish. Bending the rod is always our goal and the reef was providing this with no problem.

But as usual, things tend to slow a bit as the sun gets high and the waters warm. We’re not really in a season where sharks are plentiful but you never know what will happen when you deploy large baits. Grouper, Amberjack, even Sailfish and Swordfish can find these baits. And of course, any kind of shark.

We set a top bait and then began dropping a bottom bait. It didn’t get far before Justin let me know we had a bite on the drop. With young Robert in the chair, we hooked and caught a large Barracuda. At just under 4’, I’m afraid he was no match for the heavy gear we use when we fish for “the BIG stuff” and was easily caught and released.

Another bottom bait was rigged and sent down to the bottom with no interruption this time. The thing about this kind of fishing is waiting for the bite. The scent travels with the current, which there was plenty of today, and anything swimming through that water column will track the scent back to the bait. Our enemy in this kind of fishing is time, the longer we do it, the better our chances but time was running out.

As I called for lines up and Justin began cranking the bottom rod about half way up he yelled he’d had another bite. This time it was no Barracuda that bit, if it was, it was a huge one. The rod bent, some drag took off and Anthony was in the chair for the fight. It took about 10 minutes to land his Mako Shark, very aggressive and somewhat angry at the boat. I can only guess he was somewhere around 70 to 80 pounds and maybe 6’ long. While I kept the fish tight as Justin hung on, the group was taking pictures before we released him back to the sea to get bigger. While not a huge fish, very exciting as we don’t catch many of these sharks here in the warm waters off Fort Lauderdale.

BarracudaI’m afraid I never got a picture of this fish and my requests to be sent the ones the guests had fell on deaf ears. So Robert’s Barracuda will have to do. But the thrill is still with me upon my return to fishing at Fanntastic Fishing here in Fort Lauderdale where you just never know what will bite.

Keep em tight… Keep em on.

Captain Steve


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