The time is right to go fish Fort Lauderdale. Our
weather has been perfect. Light winds, calm seas and sunny skies… Just what
Fort Lauderdale is known for.
And the fishing has been great! Plenty of action just
a few miles from shore. Kings and Bonito are abundant. Blackfin Tuna and the
occasional Dolphin bless our lines. Even Sailfish are being seen and caught as
we troll the reef areas and just a bit outside that.
Each year I see the trend change a bit. What should be
here thick as thieves isn’t always the case. But with one species not making an
appearance, another does. And let’s not forget that there is always that chance
for a lost Swordfish or Marlin in close to shore.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the smile of a newbie
catching their first fish. Size, species, color and everything else goes right
out the window as they land and sometimes hold that prize.
The young lady in the picture was not squeamish about
holding her catch. The “ewww” factor went right out the window as she posed
with her prize. This is the one thing I hope never changes.
The time is right… Go fish Fort Lauderdale… You won’t
The goal in fishing is to entice a fish to eat your
bait, fight that fish and land it. That’s called a catch. Right now, the
catching is GREAT off the shore of Fort Lauderdale.
Within just 2 miles from shore our boat is giving the
guests plenty of fish to fight. Starting with small bait fish, up to those
Kings, Bonitos and Tunas and then on to some larger predators. Truth be told,
you’d better land your fish quickly or you may not get the entire fish. While
it is disappointing to lose some of your fish, there is that “WOW” factor as we
wonder what it was that ate it.
Trolling has been the main stay lately. Cover some
ground and see what pops up. Those Kings, Bonitos and Tunas I spoke of have
been ranging from 6 to 20 lbs. and even bigger. The occasional Sailfish or Mahi
is also possible. We expect this to continue into and through the summer.
While on the charter boat the mates go to extremes
rigging baits to entice that bite, even the drift boat has been reaping the
rewards. Just the standard 3 hook rig with a Sardine or Ballyhoo on it produced
the catch in the picture above. And that is just the fish that were boated. Some
do escape at any point between that initial bite and reaching the boat. Or they
are taken from you by that predator laying in wait.
So, whether it is sport fishing or drift fishing, the
catching is great! I guess that makes the fishing even better…
What a busy April we’ve had aboard Fantastic Fishing! The Spring action is off the charts and we are in the thick of every species to be found off of Fort Luaderdale: Mahi Mahi, Sailfish, Wahoo, Kingfish, Tunas, Amberjacks, Barrcuda, Sharks and a bevy of Snapper and Grouper species!
NOW is the time to book your saltwater fishing adventure as the Spring action is reaching its PEAK!
Sportfishing Report: Mahi Mahi are Here..and They Brought Friends…
The Mahi Mahi have been coming in relatively close to show to pummel our live baits and trolled baits inside of 300 feet of water for some mid-spring acrobatics and tasty eating. Mahi in the 10 to 30 pound range have been caught since late March by our clients and there seems to be no end in sight. Our sister ship, the Lady Pamela II, caught this MASSIVE Mahi Mahi in the video below!
The Sailfishing Remains Hot
The Sailfish continue to stay in the area and 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.
We love to Kite-fish for Sailfish. It is an amazing experience as you get to see the Sailfish literally come up to eat the bait. 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 90 and 225 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.
Toothy Critters: Wahoo and Kingfish are Tearing up the Baits
The Wahoo and Kingfish don’t want us to forget about them! Some huge Wahoo have been piling onto our kite baits, slow-trolled live baits and our trolled strips. These are truly world-class catches and we’d love for you to get in on the action!
King Mackerel (‘Kingfish”) have been prowling the reefs a little shallower than the Wahoo to pounce on our unwary kite baits and they make for a nice one-two punch with the Wahoo on the outside of the reef. Like Wahoo, 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.
Blackfin Tunas – Not So Wicked
The Blackfin Tunas are here IN FORCE. We’ve been catching Blackfins in the 10 to 20-pound range inside of 160 feet of water on the same live baits under kites as we use when we target Sailfish, as well as slow-trolled live baits.
We’ve also been targeting Blackfins by trolling Sea Witches and Bonito Strips at 5 – 6 knots. Large Bonitos are also mixed in with the Blackfins.
Sharks are Here…and Hungry
The shark fishing continues to be off-the-charts with big Hammerhead Sharks topping the charts!
Our clients continue to enjoy big Hammerhead Shark catches and we’re also getting shots at other shark species such as Caribbean Reef Sharks, Blacktips and Silky Sharks. The best shark baits continue to be either a live Bonito or dead Bonito or Kingfish dropped down in 300 feet of water.
As you can see, the Fort Lauderdale offshore fishing scene is busting at the seams! We need your help to catch all of these species that are basically jumping in the boat! Give us a call NOW to book your trip before this bite slows down! We still have a few slots open before the end of April and just a few left for May. Let’s go!
Happy New Year from all of us at Fantastic Fishing! We’re excited to see what the New Year has in store for all of us. We are also excited to see what we have in store for YOU when you join us for an offshore sportfishing adventure!
The Holiday season causes us to take a moment to thank YOU for giving us at Fantastic Sportfishing the opportunity and privilege to introduce YOU to this unmatched South Florida fishery. Without YOU, our Team has no mission. We greatly appreciate your business and hope that you’ll come back to see us soon, especially our junior anglers who may still have a few days off from school as their holiday season winds down.
Nothing rings in the New Year quite like a red-hot Winter bite and that’s exactly what we have going on right now! The pods of Sailfish are in town for the holidays and they don’t want to leave -and we’re not complaining. Wahoo, King Mackerel and Amberjacks have also shown up to keep line peeling and drags screaming.
Offshore Report: Sailfish, Sailfish, Sailfish
The world-famous Sailfish are here and feeding on the schools of Ballyhoo as they make their way south down our beaches and reefs. The recent cold fronts have really turned on the bite as we continue to catch multiple Sailfish on slow-trolled live Ballyhoo or on live Goggle Eyes suspended below our fishing kites.
South Florida is the birthplace of kite fishing and nobody does it better than the pros at Fantastic Sportfishing. We been catching Sailfish anywhere from 60 feet out to 300 feet of water. When there is not enough wind to keep the kites in the air, we’ve also had success catching Sailfish trolling Sea Witches (in blue/white and pink/white color combinations) on the surface at 7 – 9 knots.
Everybody Yell Wahoo!
Wahoo have been very active on the reefs as well as out to 600 feet of water and they are picking away at our live baits while Sailfishing. We’re catching Wahoo in the 10 to 40-pound range either on our Sailfish baits or on live Bonitos. We’re also catching Wahoo on the troll with bonito strips, mullet strips, lures and feathers trolled below the surface on planers.
As we all saw during November, Wahoo aren’t the only “toothy critters” on the prowl. Barracuda continue to patrol the reefs looking for unwary prey and they have been pouncing on our live baits and trolled baits. Look at this fearsome sea monster:
Shark Fishing Will Keep You Warm:
The shark fishing continues to be hot. We continue to tangle with Blacktips and Spinner Sharks as they chase the migrating baitfish. We also get Hammerhead Sharks show up underneath our Sailfish baits suspended under our kites. You need to keep your head on a swivel and few things are as impressive as an 8-foot Hammerhead thrashing just underneath the kite. Amazing!
“A” For Amberjacks:
We continue to introducing our clients to the offshore version of Crossfit Training: Amberjacks! We’re dropping down a live Bonito or Goggle Eye in 200 – 300 feet of water to slug it out with huge, bruising Amberjacks.
As always, there is no snow in OUR forecast. Ever. Come join us to get 2019 started the right way! Give us a call to book a trip with Fantastic Sportfishing.
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.
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 most recent daytime Swordfish fishing trip was a HUGE success! The word from the Swordfish grounds had been great for the last week or so. And it just so happened we have a trip booked just for that!
Daytiming for Swordfish is highly specialized fishing. You’ll be between 1500 and 2000’ of water with a bait on or near the bottom. We use an electric reel for this. The main reason is… No one wants to wind up all that line and weight if you don’t get a bite and have to reset.
Our guests are local and it turns out the money they paid for their trip with was some lucky money won at the local Casino, compliments of the Indians. So we loaded up early and were off to the grounds.
Our boat make this trip in about 90 minutes from the dock. We did see a few things that looked promising on the way out but nothing panned out and our first drop got us a near instabite! The rod bent, the drag stalled and we were on!
This fish was a small one but still legal and it seemed like the bite was still good as we boated the fish without the use of a gaff. 50” lower jaw fork length and into the box he goes! A quick run in the boat to get back to our previous position and the second drop of the day was on its way down.
This time it took a bit longer to get a bite. We are tight again. This time it took 40 minutes before seeing this fish. He jumped about 150 yards from the boat and then again maybe 200’ from the boat.
This fish was bigger with a 57”LJF and we used the dart and then the gaff to boat him. It’s only 11:30 and we have 2 in the box!
All good things must come to an end. We again positioned ourselves in front of the fish and did get 2 more bites. But both came off around 800’ out. This was the story on the radio as well, bites but not staying hooked. None the less, our group was extremely happy with their bounty.
Daytime Swordfish fishing isn’t exciting when you’re doing it, not till you get that bite… Wait, that’s ALL fishing. LOL It’s the excitement of that coming bite that keeps us coming back.
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.
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.
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.
Our first cold front is passing through the Fort Lauderdale area as I write this fishing report. And just those few degrees less are already making changes in our fishing.
The biggest change is our sea temperatures. If you’ve ever snorkeled in warm waters like we have here in the summer, as you return to the surface, you go through a thermocline. The water’s surface is much warmer than the sea beneath it. Looking through your mask, it appears as if someone smeared Vaseline on glass, it gets blurry. Being cold blooded, fish don’t care for that temperature change or blurred vision.
As the days get shorter with less sun and the cooler air temps, the ocean surface is closer, if not the same, as the water below. This increases a fish’s ability to feed on the surface. So we go from depending on our deep lines for bites to most everything we have out.
Another plus is north winds. North winds create swells that allow some fish to be helped migrating south. Specifically, I’m speaking about Sailfish. With winds from the north, they can “surf” the surface of the wave. This is known as “tailing”. It’s time to stop trolling and get the kites out!
But that’s what is coming soon. What has been happening is some good Dolphin and Kingfish action. The bottom fishing has also been producing some good sized fish as is in the picture of this group from Denver. Nolan, the smallest, caught this Greater Amberjack, with help from dad and his brother. Grouper and a few early Cobia are also being caught.
With a bit of tropical wetness coming tomorrow and another cold front on its heels? Well, just going fishing in low 80’s will be a pleasure. As for what we will catch? Let’s find out.