Here in the Fort Lauderdale area we often do family fishing
trips. A private charter is the best way though some opt to fish on the party
or drift boat. My group today was from Utah and had literally just been in Fort
Lauderdale less than an hour before boarding the boat! I consider that a high
With their luggage stored and locked in my truck (see? I
told you literally), we were on our way to the ocean for some fishing fun. The
radio was mentioning some Bonitos were around and we headed that direction.
After fishing for almost 20 minutes and unable to get a
bite, I was becoming frustrated. Our family however were having the time of
their life talking to Sean as their 7-year-old Xander was asking 1,000
questions a minute. Finally, we did have that first bite, the most important
bite of a trip! It was pulling hard and I was thinking Bonito. The fish gods
apparently liked this family from Utah and a nice Mahi-mahi was boated! With
the first bite out of the way, a few Bonitos were caught and we opted to try for something bigger.
As we often do, the big baits were deployed and then a
bottom rig was used to keep folks entertained. You never know what will bite
that rig and immediately we caught a small Tilefish.
Sometimes it will produce Vermilion snapper or Grouper.
Maybe some Yelloweyes and other bottom creatures. Today the bottom fishing was
slow because the current was running at over a knot. We caught another Tilefish
or 2 before the end of our trip. And we never did get that BIG bite.
So even on a slow day, or what I consider slow, our family fishing
trip was still a huge success for this family from Utah. I guess they don’t
have much deep sea fishing in Utah… LOL
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…
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.
With winds from the east this Holiday weekend, my
fishing forecast if for Mahi- mahi or Dolphin, if you prefer.
I had to look up Mahi-mahi to see where it came from
in the Hawaiian language. Mahi means strong, Mahi-mahi means very strong. Who
knew? I didn’t
When the winds blow from the east this time of year,
the flotsam and seaweed get blown toward shore. It’s these kind of things we
look for when hunting Dolphin. Anything floating on the surface gives shade and
cover to small bait fish and even schoolie Dolphin. And with winds forecast for
the next three days, all this will be coming toward shore.
Mahi’s strike with force, no matter their size. Many
times you can see them streaking toward your bait. Sometimes on the surface
pulling a head wake, sometimes jumping as they approach. When they bite, they
almost always jump, the first place that these fish are easily lost. You can’t
get caught up in the moment, you must remain tight with the fish.
The second quick loss place is by the boat. Yes, they
are tired but remember their name. You might think they are whipped but they
will surprise you and give a few more jumps trying to elude capture.
Once you do have the fish in the boat, keep him there.
Small fish boxes on the transom or even on deck, these fish can leap from the
boat back into the water and be gone. Talk about a heart breaker…
So this fishing forecast for the next few days is looking
for Mahi-mahi. Unfortunately, everyone else will be looking too. LOL
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!
Love was in the air for all of February because we at Fantastic Fishing LOVE catching and releasing Sailfish! Wahoo, King Mackerel and big Sharks continue to make guest appearances to keep line peeling and drags screaming.
Sailfish Eating Baits Like Candy
The world-famous Sailfish action has never been better and we’ve been guiding our clients to double-, triple- and event quadruple-headers when fishing live baits offshore. The recent January cold fronts have kept the Sailfish down south and that’s just where we want them. We continue to catch multiple Sailfish on live Goggle Eyes or Pilchards suspended below our fishing kites.
As we like to remind everyone, South Florida is the birthplace of kite fishing and nobody does it better than the pros at Fantastic Sportfishing. We’ve been catching Sailfish anywhere from 70 feet out to 250 feet of water. When there is not enough wind to keep the kites in the air, we’ve also had success catching Sailfish by slow-trolling live Ballyhoo or Goggle Eyes on the surface and just below the surface.
Here at Fantastic Fishing, we believe in a sustained fishery. That’s why every Sailfish caught is tagged and released so that researchers can further study their travel and feeding habits. We do everything we can to ensure that these majestic and acrobatic fish can be enjoyed by future generations of anglers.
Toothy Critters are Chewing:
Wahoo and King Mackerel have been active on the reefs inside of 300 feet of water and have been sneaking up on our live baits while Sailfishing. We’re catching Wahoo and Kingifish in the 10 to 30-pound range either on our Sailfish baits or on the troll with bonito strips, mullet strips, lures and feathers trolled below the surface on planers.
Huge Barracudas have gathered above the reefs for their own dating game, looking for unwary prey. They have been pouncing on our live baits and trolled baits.
Toothy Part II: Shark Fishing is Steady
The shark fishing continues to be hot. The Hammerheads are showing up under our kite baits just like the rest of the species we like to catch. We also continue to tangle with Silky Sharks, Blacktips, Spinner Sharks and the occasional Big Bully: Bullsharks. We’re targeting the sharks on certain humps and wrecks with live and dead Bonitos. If you’ve ever wished to catch a big Shark, let’s go! Now is the time to schedule your trip with us!
Fishing is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re gonna get. Check out this African Pompano that our clients caught. This is a rare but pleasant treat. Way to go!
The remainder of February is nearly booked and our March slots are filling up as the Spring action is just around the corner. Give us a call to book your FANTASTIC trip now!
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.
With the time change firmly in place now, I get a glimpse of the sea as I come over the bridge on my way to the charter boat dock. The sun is too low for a look at the color. But sea conditions look nice even though the wind is blowing.
I arrive an hour or so early before the trip. But some days, our guests are just as early. Anxious with anticipation and excited about their charter boat trip.
As we prepare for our day we have a chance to find out our guests expectations. Some really don’t care what they catch. Something to eat would be nice, maybe a BIG fish. Others have prepared a semi shopping list, specific in their wants of what is to be caught. To this I can only respond that we are going fishing, not shopping. LOL We’ll still do our best to fill their bill.
I can tell that today’s group is here strictly to have a good time. I am asked if one gentleman can bring his own rod. Even though we have everything we need, I say sure, bring it. He then produces a pink and purple Disney Princess rod from his car, his granddaughter’s. Oh, this is going to be good… LOL
It seemed the day went by in a second. Before I knew it, we were on our way home. Mahi-mahi and Kingfish for were dinner. A nice Barracuda was released and some other hits on our live bait. And while everyone on board caught fish and had a great time, I wanted more for these folks. I always do.
Super nice and full of humor was the theme of this outing. And that is what charter boat fishing is all about. Tomorrow I will watch the dawn break again on my in to work. I’ll meet my guests. Will it be you?
While the Fanntastic Fishing website is primarily about sport fishing we also have a drift boat. Today we will talk about the Lois Ann, our drift fishing boat.
The Lois Ann, a 65’ aluminum craft, is designed as a head/ party/ drift boat that carry up to 60 passengers. While we don’t have a full kitchen aboard Frank manages to put out hamburgers, hotdogs and a variety of breakfast and regular sandwiches 5 days a week. Assorted snack and drinks are also available.
But the Lois Ann is more than just a drift fishing boat. Many corporate groups of over 6 passengers use the boat for sport fishing. The outriggers are put out, the kites fly and pretty much anything a conventional sport fish can do the Lois Ann can.
But the main thing is the fishing! And fishing is great right now. When conditions are right for drifting, Kingfish are biting well. We’ve also been catching Mahi-mahi in fairly close to shore as you can see in the top picture.
Bottom fishing has also been great. You’ve seen what the charter boat has had recently but the drift boat fishing the same areas and have some good success. One very large Black grouper and another legal Red Grouper top the list this week.
Now, the evening anchor trip focuses on snappers. Yellowtail, Vermillion and Mangrove are the targets after the sun goes down and the 5 hour trip has been doing well. They have even been known to come in early because the limit of fish has been made.
Captain Jimmy, along with captains Adam and Patrick are the boys that run the trips. Anthony and Dom are the deck techs and helping people with instructions, baiting up and landing their fish.
Our daytime Swordfish trip ended a great week of Fort Lauderdale fishing. Schoolie Mahi-mahi invaded our off shore area with large amounts of seaweed making it hard to keep baits clean. But when they were clean, the fish had no problem biting well.
Most of the action was 5 to 10 miles from shore with huge areas of weed. These large beds make the perfect haven for small baitfish and food for the small Dolphin. While 30% had to be released because of their small size, it certainly didn’t take away from the action and fun of seeing these fish attack our baits. If you check out our Facebook page, you’ll see a video of these small fish swimming right behind the boat. . https://www.facebook.com/Fanntastic-Fishing-1476203306014764/
With all this great Fort Lauderdale fishing action, I was quite excited when J. R. and his wife Nicole came across the state to go daytime dropping for Swordfish. With near calm seas and a bright sunny day we were off with high expectations, at least Hunter and I were. LOL JR expected nothing but a nice day.
There was an area we could have fished on the way out, it looked great for Mahi, but we continued a bit further. Our ultimate goal was a Sword so we pressed on.
Another area we found looked promising and we fished a bit but things thinned out so we again pushed for the Swordfish grounds. Our first drop hit the water at 10 am. We were connected at 10:20!
Hunter had just finished explaining how the electric reel we use worked when the rod tip tweaked. JR smashed the button and the rod bent over hard! Since we had just found the bottom again and come up a bit, I feared we had hung something. With 3.5 knots of current and over 2400’ of line out? It’s not always easy to tell.
But we were connected to a fish and a nice one at that! We gain some and then lose some, overall retrieving more than losing. The weight finally appeared and was removed only to have the fish take a few hundred feet of line from us. Keeping the fish stretched out away from the boat, he finally gave in and got close enough for the perfect dart shot from Hunter. That video is also on our Facebook page.
JR’s prize was now in the boat and it was only a little after 11 am. Well, I guess we’ll go enjoy some of this great Fort Lauderdale fishing and go try for Mahi’s. And we did. LOL