We are often asked “when is Sailfish season” by
customers calling to book. While there are certain months that are better than
others, we can catch Sailfish at any time of the year here off Fort Lauderdale.
In the summer months, we spend much of our time
trolling. Tuna, Kingfish, Bonito, Dolphin and Wahoo are our main targets. But
other species will eat our trolling baits aas well.
When we have had lots of rain, as we have recently,
most of those bites come from our deep lines. Anywhere from 30 to 50’ below the
surface seems to be the right depth. Catching a Sailfish on the deeper baits
does rob you of some of the thrill.
But when they strike a surface bait? That’s my
favorite, though I often miss those with my eyes. I do have to look forward
occasionally. LOL You know, other boats and things like that.
The great thing about the surface bite is the attack.
Some Sailfish strike with a vengeance, they just pile on. Others are more
cautious, stalking behind the bait, watching and waiting for an opportunity to
strike. When they decide, their bill comes up and they begin slashing at the
Strip baits work well, with some artificial bling in
front of them. Sailfish will come back time and again, maybe8 or 10 times if
you are lucky. But each time, they stretch the strip bait to a point it’s too
long. Better hook them before that!
The most attractive trolling bait is rigged Ballyhoo.
But you only get a few shots before the bait is decimated from the attack.
So keep your eyes peeled out the back. You aren’t driving…
And maybe Sailfish season will come for you in the middle of summer.
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.
With the weather we have been having here in south Florida,
the Fort Lauderdale fishing forecast is somewhat easy. Weather-wise, hot
temperatures and afternoon showers are the standard. I’ve often wondered if the
TV weather people have 3 dart boards… One for the low, somewhere between 78 and
85, another for the high, between 88 and 98 and a third for chance of rain.
Each day the forecast changes are minor. And those thunderstorms are short lived…
With that said, the fishing trends also become somewhat
predictable. The hot temperatures raise the sea temps, creating a thermocline.
Fish, being cold blooded, don’t care for abrupt changes and will stay below these
lines as a rule. One thermocline is usually 5 to 8’ below the surface, a second
one can be anywhere from 20’ down to 60’, usually ranging around 35 or 40’.
This brings our deeper baits into play. And while any fish
can be caught with a bait below the surface, Kingfish, Bonitos, Tuna’s and
Wahoo are the most frequent. There are days we go without a single bite on our
surface rods, the deep lines and baits doing all the work.
These deeper lines can also catch Sailfish, Mahi-mahi, even
Grouper and Snapper if set deep enough. As a friend of mine used to say, there
are no fences in the ocean.
As we move further from shore, the tide water that carries
the fresh water from rain thins out and we just have to deal with the thermoclines.
And while there are no fences, these create barriers of a sort. Fish run along
these lines, on one side or the other. Fishing the baits around these lines can
and will produce bites. Those Sailfish and Dolphin we spoke of are much more aggressive
in the cleaner water. The surface baits play a much larger part.
It’s all about fishing and catching. This time of year,
quantity and number of fish keep our guests happy. Will save the stories and
jokes for the slower times…
Every few days I write a Fort Lauderdale fishing report. While
the trend of fishing may be the same, each day is different. We never know,
only hope, that THIS day will be that one when a BIG fish or something special
for one of our customers piles onto the hook and line. As a captain doing this
for many years? I know it can happen on each and every day. The question is,
will today be one of those?
With that said we’ve been having some good fishing lately. Trolling
in the reef area has been producing some Kingfish for table fare and lots of
Bonitos for something to bend the rod. There have been days that we stop
catching them, or try, at our guests’ request. LOL It has been warmer than usual
out and they get worn out reeling in fish!
Sometimes, all that work turns out to be worth it, as in the
picture above. Occasionally, Blackfin Tuna or other species of Tuna get mixed
in with the schools of Bonitos. They are similar and schooling offers
protection. Separated from their kind, they will blend in with another group
and you end up with a nice Blackfin Tuna like this young man did in the picture
above. While it is a surprise, it’s not unexpected at this time of year.
Another fish that may surprise you is a Sailfish. We catch
them year round and they can be anywhere from 20’ of water out to 5 or 10 miles
from shore. You just never know, the next Sail could be yours…
Here in Fort Lauderdale there are 2 kinds of fishing
trips offered, sport fishing and drift fishing. While sport fishing, or big
game fishing is extremely popular, drift fishing is the most economical way to
get out on the ocean with a rod in your hand.
Drift fishing is a very “hands on” type fishing. You
are the one putting your bait in the water. You hold the rod. You move the bait
and when a fish strikes, you set the hook. Then you reel your fish in if you
were successful in the previous steps.
As you can see from the picture above, our folks today did a great job of landing fish. Kingfish, Tuna, Bonito were caught today. Also landed were some snappers, a mixed bag of Lane, Vermilion and Mutton. With all these fish that were caught, some were missed as well. As you can see, drift fishing was quite productive.
Depending on conditions will determine if you fish
shallow or deep. Shallow water can be for strong winds or rapid current while
lighter conditions might have you fishing deeper. Here in Fort Lauderdale, only
½ mile more or less from shore can make the difference between fishing in 40’
of water to over 300’.
If you are looking to get out on the water and “wet a
line”, consider our drift fishing trip. It can be very productive.
A few days
ago I mentioned that our conditions were perfect for catching Mahi-mahi. Well,
the Fort Lauderdale Mahi-mahi bite is going off!
A recent bachelor
party were aboard our drift boat with Capt. Jimmy. After catching a few kings
in by the reef, they moved off shore to find greener pastures.
was abundant and in some places, so thick, fishing was nearly impossible.
Keeping the baits clear was a task that needed constant attention.
got out around 600’, the weed cleared some and they found their first Mahi. A
nice one too, about 15 lbs..
continued on the troll for a while and again found another, then another. Picking
at the fish off this weed line was becoming fun and the group was quite happy
with the action they were having. While the weed became more abundant once
again, a turn off shore gave them even more opportunity.
picture above are the fish the guys could hold… There were more in the box. And
while I can’t say how long the Fort Lauderdale Mahi-mahi bite will last, I know
it’s going on right now. With conditions and weather forecast of much the same
this week, I’ll be looking for them on the rip.
Lately Fort Lauderdale shark fishing has been very
productive. It’s a bit late but the mating season is still going on and our
area is a breeding ground for many species of sharks.
Sandbar sharks, often mistaken for Bull sharks, are
quite prevalent right now. Found in shallow water, usually around wrecks, they
are quite ready for an easy meal as we present it. While fishing for these, we
often put out a bottom rod for snapper and grouper if they are around.
Other species are here as well. Tiger, Bull and some
rare Hammerhead sharks are also making appearances. A Hammerhead it what is
pictured above. These fish give quite the fight! With that big flat wing on
their head, all they need to do is get their head down and kick with their tail
a few times. Their power just peels the line off the reel.
Even the species of Hammerhead has a few varieties.
The Scalloped, Smoothskin and Great Hammerheads are being seen. The4se fish are
usually caught in deeper water but can be found anywhere at any time.
So if you’re looking to catch a BIG fish, Fort Lauderdale
shark fishing is filling that bill. Hope to see you soon.
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!