Here in south Florida, we always look forward to Fall. Cooler temperatures are a relief from them 90’s we experience in the summer months. Apparently, the fish feel the same way.
Cooler weather means cooler water and that makes the baitfish migrate south. That food source has other species following its food. While summer is spent trolling, as this time of year offers cooler surface temperatures, live bait is often used to produce bites.
We have already seen an increase in Sailfish activity. Most are being caught while trolling but soon will be attracted to live bait. Ballyhoo and baby bullet Bonitos are excellent baits for this. Kite fishing also becomes very productive for far more than just Sails.
The Mahi-mahi we were catching just a few months ago were too small to keep. Being a fast-growing fish, they are now keepers as well as some of the larger fish, again following the baitfish. A very popular fish to catch, for both eating and sport, it is often requested as hopeful by our anglers.
The Bonito have thinned out and allowed some Kings to be caught in the reef area. Tuna have also been close to shore. And when ever the Tuna are around, Wahoo are generally around as well, another excellent eating fish.
Bottom fishing on our drift fishing boat has been good as of late. Mutton and Vermillion snapper have been caught on a regular basis. Dropping live bait on the deep wrecks and reefs have also been producing good results with both Grouper and snapper.
The fall can be a great time to fish here in south Florida. As we get closer to winter, the size of the fish goes up. That next one could be your fish of a lifetime.
While some are still digging out of Old Man’s wintery grip, we in south Florida are beginning to see the signs of spring already. Stronger sun rays and longer days continue to warm the ocean off our coast. Our Spring fishing trends are just around the corner and as always, we look forward to them.
While some species are still traveling south in the migration this year, others will be making the turn to return soon. The last of the species are usually some of the more exotic sharks we catch down off Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood.
Threshers, Tigers, Makos and Hammerheads, just to name a few, come through our area to breed. Many of the shark species are protected, so catch and release is our practice. But for many, it is exciting to see and even more exciting to hook into one of these rather rare breeds on some of the biggest tackle made. That is, if you are up for testing your strength.
We catch Sailfish year-round here and they haven’t been disappointing us lately. As the months wear on we expect Sailfish action to increase as the waters warm. There have even been years where winter stayed late, and our spring fishing trend had Sailfish migrating both north and south at the same time. It takes a deep cold front in late March to make that happen, we’ll hope that is not the case this year.
Bottom fishing has been producing some nice results as the picture of this Mutton Snapper shows. Amberjack have also been biting on the deep wrecks and reefs. This is expected to continue and improve.
Some of you will be here for spring break. If so, check us out for a fishing trip. It is always great to be out on the water this time of year.
August usually signals the end of summer. While most of the country begins to experience cooler weather, here in Fort Lauderdale, we look at 2 more months of hot weather. This is the time of year that the waters offshore of Ft. Lauderdale are usually at their warmest and that affects the way we fish and what we catch.
I’m sure many of you have experienced going from the shore of a lake or into the water of an ocean and felt the thermo cline (difference in temperature) of the surface water and the deeper water it sits on. Fish, being cold blooded, are sensitive to this change, not only is it felt, but seen as well. It forms a layer of water that appears blurry to our eyes, like Vaseline spread on a piece of glass. This is the main reason that we switch from live bait fishing to trolling with our deep lines out this time of year. The fish stay deeper to avoid this area. Only the hungriest of fish will penetrate this barrier. This is also why the early morning or later afternoon will produce more bites.
Here in Fort Lauderdale, our fishing close to shore has been good to excellent. Kingfish are abundant most days, with the legal limit being caught fairly easily. Mixed in with the Kings are some Bonito, a few Barracuda, Blackfin Tuna and the occasional Sailfish. The last week or so has been excellent at raising some Sails. They have been biting regularly on the days we are out.
Further offshore, in 300 to 500’ or so, Wahoo have been a fairly regular fish being caught. If you are not familiar with this fish, check it out on the web. Excellent eating and an amazingly fast and strong swimmer, these fish truly make the reel “sing” when they strike. This seasons Dolphin fishing has been very lack luster here. While we have encountered them with extremely limited success, they have not been predominant as they usually are this time of year. Still, we hope for a happy ending to this summer with a late flurry of them showing up. They will be on the move and with the tropics heating up, the debris in the water from storms makes an excellent habitat for these fish.
While the days are hot, the nights are cooler, the Swordfish grounds have had some action. While not catching a fish every trip, the bites are there. The conditions determine how things go and with a little luck, a few bites AND fish can be had.
With the offshore Dolphin fishing being slow, we have been spending more time close and doing some bottom fishing with some great success. Amberjack are still on the deeper wrecks and reefs. Mutton Snapper, a few Yellowtails and Groupers are also being caught on both live and dead bait.
This is the time of year Florida folks long for… When a cold
front pushes through our area. The oppressive heat lowers as does the humidity
and we stop complaining about how hot it is and begin complaining how cold it
Being from Chicago, I call these “cool” fronts. As we relish
temps in the 60-70’s, we also dig out our jeans, sweaters, jackets and gloves.
Being a resident here for over 50 years now, I join those folks shivering on a
early morning in the low 60’s.
What does this have to do with a fishing report you ask?
Well, just as we change our clothes to endure, the fish must change their
location to stay comfy. They do this by migrating south and Fort Lauderdale
just happens to be right in a spot they pass by.
The Continental shelf lies just off our coast. With the Gulf
Stream being miles off our shore with its north current, the fish move inside
close to the coast to make their trip. And with each “cool” front that comes through,
the temperatures in the water dip a little cooler. Welcome to our version of
I-95 for fish!
Our catches change from mostly edible fish to game and sport
fish. Sailfish and sharks are the top catches with other species mixed in. Most
Mahi’s caught this time of year don’t have to be measured, they far exceed the
legal minimum. Tuna become more prolific and Wahoo are also around. They like
Tuna too. LOL
So at this time of year as you visit from somewhere up
north, don’t be surprised at the clothes we might be wearing as you show up for
your fishing trip with shorts and a T. There is a chance of filling the box
with just one fish! And that’s saying something… LOL
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.
Fishing with a large group like Corporate outings,
bachelor parties and family outings, just to name a few, any group over 6 is a
large group. You have two options, either charter enough 6 passenger boats for your
group or put your entire group on one boat. We can do either and today’s group
opted for 6 boats to accommodate everyone.
Today’s forecast was for 50% rain… It drizzled for
about 5 minutes. But it didn’t dampen the groups spirit or their fishing.
You see, fish kind of like overcast skies. They can
swim up near and on the surface of the water without casting a shadow. Today
was no different, all the boats did well in the reef area with Kingfish, Bonito
and Tuna. Bonito and Tuna are in the same family and occasionally school
Along with the bounty of fish providing plenty of
action, a Sailfish decided to join the fray on our boat. Having a line come
down, screaming line off and then seeing this large fish jumping behind the
boat still thrills me, even after all these years.
A 20-minute battle is the norm and boating the fish
has to be done carefully. We prefer to release these fish so we take care in
handling them. A hose with running saltwater on board helps them breath as we
take measurements and pictures. And, of course, that last picture before the
fish is placed back in the water for release.
Sometimes we must coach them along, holding beside the
boat helping them rest while they breath in the water for oxygen. Others you
can barely get them back in the water before they bolt. It is an awesome
feeling watching your fish swim away, if he gives you the chance.
Whether you want everyone on the same boat or multiple
boats to cover your group, fishing with large groups is best back at the dock.
Bragging rights and all.
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!
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!
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!