Posts Tagged "Sailfish"

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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Fanntasic Fishing Report Hollywood Florida

Posted on by Captain Steve

Hollywood fishing

One of my first trips from our new dock in Hollywood, Florida was not exactly the perfect south Florida day and my fishing report is about this trip. Doctor Dale and his crew showed up in windy conditions, overcast skies and a 60% chance of rain for their all day trip. The seas were running about 4’ and that was about his threshold so across the street we went to take a look. They had driven quite a distance to go fishing that day and the waves breaking on the beach were around 4’ so they opted to go rather than postpone. It turned out to be a good choice too.

As I said, Doc had done this before and was all about buying some live bait for kite fishing. No problem with wind, we had plenty and kite fishing is probably one of the most comfortable ways to fish in seas. While conditions at the beach were 4’, it was surprisingly comfortable out in the ocean where the waves were 4 to 6’ with the occasional 10. And fish LOVE this kind of weather! The only thing that could dampen our day was if the weatherman was correct about the 60% chance of rain. They haven’t invented a kite that will stay up in rain… yet…

We set up and began waiting for our first bite. It took a bit but there was finally an explosion of water out by the long right kite bait. One of Doc’s guests went first, I think it was Caj, and with some coaching, after about 10 minutes, she landed a nice 25 lbs. Kingfish. This fish was a real stud and Doc was already happy about his decision to go fishing as they were quite hungry. LOL

We reset and again had to wait a bit for our next bite. This was a decent sized Barracuda which was landed by Doc’s other guest, Rick. This bite also came on the right long bait. As crew, we prefer the hits, when they come as singles hit a short bait. Then we don’t have to do a complete reset, just reel the kite to the short pin. I felt a trend developing.. . LOL

Again we reset and had to wait. That’s the part of fishing that sometimes get to you. With doc up and ready, our next bite was seen coming for the… you guessed it, long right kite bait. A Dolphin was approaching and quite excited about his next meal. This fish took some time to land as the big ones can be especially acrobatic and are not happy when they get close to the boat. Darren finally was able to stretch out and gaff this 20 pounder which was immediately put in the fishbox and the lid slammed. They have a tendency to jump back out of the boat and it would be a shame to loose such a prize.

Ok, this long right stuff is getting old, right? But we’re not done yet… Some more waiting and here’s comes Mr. Sailfish. He’s on and jumping and Rick, who caught the Barracuda, is now battling his first ever Sail! Doc and Darren are down there coaching and I’m just trying to keep the boat close to the fish as we land and photograph this delightful fish before releasing him back to the sea. It took a bit of reviving by dragging him slowly by the boat in the water until he regained his strength. We really try to do what we can for successful releases to protect our fishery.

To this point, we’d only missed one hit, a small Kingfish had chopped a bait in half. Our time was running short and with only 10 minutes or so more to fish before we headed back, I was kidding with Darren about a shark biting a bait and extending our trip. Sharks do NOT come to the boat easily… And there he was, his fin cutting the water headed right for the LEFT long… finally. Finally another bait got eaten! LOL

Doc was up for this battle as he had never caught a Shark before and on a class 80# rod and a Penn International 130, he actually made fairly quick work of this fish. About a 7’ Hammerhead had eaten our bait but luckily he never sounded to the bottom. He stayed up near the surface making the fight much shorter and within about 20 minutes, we had him to the boat but couldn’t hang on. He screamed out some more line but returned to us shortly to be captured, pictures taken boatside and released. And with that? Our day was done and it was time to head home.

We never had any rain except for a few sprinkles. The seas were big but not uncomfortable. Sunscreen was not needed today but all in all, it turned out to be a banner day of fishing. 5 for 6 on bites, 5 different species. And they were nice ones too. And that’s how Fanntastic Fishing made its start at our new dock in Hollywood, Florida. Not a bad fishing report if I do say so myself. 

Captain Steve

P.S. It wasn’t until I sent the picture from my phone to the computer that I just remembered our 4th passenger. That would be the dog by the bottom of the fish. This truly was a sea dog too.

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Bill’s Fort Lauderdale Fishing Trip

Posted on by Captain Steve

Bill Catch Sail fish

Most fishing trips on charter boats here in Fort Lauderdale are limited to 6 passengers. 6 is the maximum we can carry at one time but on occasion, 6 people aren’t wanted or needed. Sometimes it’s just 1 person on board with the captain and first mate. And today, we had Bill.

Now having just 1 person on board is kind of a treat for the crew. We have to learn just one name, there’s never a question of who will fight the fish and so on.

Fishing lately has been fairly active on the reef area. Some Bonitos are still around and our first bite turned out to be quite a test for Bill and his new shoulder. Just 2 lines out and the deep one went off. A BIG run taking drag as we moved the rod to the chair and Bill took over. With a run like that? It must be a Wahoo! After about 10 minutes we found it could also be a foul hooked Bonito, a big one, but a Bonito none the less. While Justin and I were kind of disappointed, Bill seemed quite happy with his first fish of the day.

One fish that has been consistent lately has been Kingfish. Most have been between 5 and 8 lbs. and the bite has been good. We began catching these and I think Bill might have thought about maybe having one more person on board to help. You see, even when we have just 1 on board, we fish just like we do with 3, 5 or 6 people. Our two deep rods were going off often and many times Bill would finish with one only to have another put in his grasp. His rotator cuff surgery was holding up well.

With the Kingfish action so good, we stayed with them and caught our limit and then some. Finally we opted to try for something bigger and began heading to deeper waters for a shark or Grouper… Time to give Bill a little rest. But Mother Ocean decided Bill needed one more challenge and one of the top baits got hit with another big run.

Once again Justin and I surmised that another large Bonito had struck and we were preparing things as Bill fought his fish. After almost 10 minutes into the battle, what we thought was a Bonito jumped and showed his true colors. A Sailfish? In September? The absolute worst month to catch a Sailfish off Fort Lauderdale?

Seeing what was on the line kind of changed our attitudes a bit as we went into sportfishing gear clearing lines and moving the boat backwards to aid Bill in his quest. The Sailfish we do catch in October are usually small but this fish was full grown and angry. Even after 30 minutes, he managed to jump close to the boat and completely clear the water. Another 10 minutes and we had him boatside for billing, pictures and his release. It took a bit to revive the fish after the long battle but he swam away in excellent form.

So you don’t have to have 6 on your fishing trip here in Fort Lauderdale but it’s not a bad idea to maybe have one other angler. You might want the rest…

Captain Steve

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Fanntastic Fishing Gets Son First Sail

Posted on by Captain Steve

Fanntastic Fishing First SailfishThere aren’t many places in the world where just 20 minutes or so from the dock you are wetting lines and fishing in the deep sea. Fort Lauderdale happens to be one of them and since so many people visit us here, it makes this fun and exciting sport very accessible.

Bernie and his son, Nicky, showed up right on time for the afternoon trip. What was supposed to be a shared fishing trip turned out to be a private charter and with just the two of them on board, we were off.

The afternoon trip can start off slow, with the heat of the day making the deeper baits the most hit. Very little surface action until that sun gets down a bit. We trolled and picked at some Kingfish and a Bonito or two before trying for something larger. You just never know how things will go.

We set a few deep baits for big fish like shark, Grouper, Snapper, whatever might be around. After all, that IS the thrill of it all, catching something big. We were also positioned close to a shallow wreck in about 150’ of water and were dropping some small baits for any Snapper that might be lurking.

First mate Adam had put out a couple of small Pilchards from the rigger, there had been a few Mahi’s around. Our big baits weren’t being touched and the small reef stuff was having their way with us. This was turning out to be a bust. But wait… There’s more! Isn’t there always with me? LOL

A rigger line came down and a Sailfish began jumping. He had eaten one of the Pilchards and we had him on 20# test line. The spinning rods are great for catching Sailfish… It’s just that they don’t hold a ton of line. We have to retrieve everything to go after this fish before he spools us.

It was quite an acrobatic fish for sure… Jumping, running out the line, we were down to maybe 1/3 a spool left before we finally began backing down on this fish. Even as we got close, this fish was still jumping and taking drag, putting on quite the show. After 30 minutes or so, we finally had him at the side of the boat and Nick had his first ever Sailfish!

The picture shows Adam releasing this fish as we revive him. Adam holds the fish, the customers hold Adam…

Not a bad way to end our trip and remember, this is just a little over 1 mile from shore. While we don’t always catch “The BIG one”, Fort Lauderdale fishing can certainly be exciting either way.

Nice job Nick.

Keep em tight… Keep em on!

Captain Steve

 

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Happy 4th Fishing Celebration

Posted on by Captain Steve

Andy T headThis time of year in Fort Lauderdale our guests often request to fish Dolphin for the targeted species. Our group today was no different with 20 lbs. of chicken back at the house to barbecue, some fresh fish would be a nice addition. Greg, Andy and Jeff were all ready to go on the 4 hour morning trip and with our early start, we were first out.

The sea buoy that marks the entrance to Port Everglades is an excellent place to start trolling too. The chain and the buoy it holds has all sorts of growth on it, as well as offering a place for small bait fish to hide. A lap or two around this marker can bring excellent results. But our first two hits were misses… One cut the high line, another on a deep line. Both baits cut as if with a knife, probably Kingfish.

As we wandered away from the buoy another strike on the deep line did not connect. It was reset immediately and another strike came and missed. This is the pattern of a Sailfish and when the line was reset and tripped again, Justin let it come up some from depth before resetting it. And he did it just enough for the Sail to find and eat my high line. Fish on!

Andy was in the chair and even though this wasn’t the target today, it was exciting as can be. The group helped Justin get the other lines in and Andy did a great job fighting the fish. He had us stretched out pretty good for a while, me on the radio asking other boats to keep clear and soon our prize was boatside for pictures by the crowd. I’m afraid I never had a camera shot at this one, he released himself before we could remove the hook for him. We were letting him go anyway.

Now when anyone who knows sees a charter boat backing up, they know something cool is going on and a very short time later we were , once again, clearing lines to back up! We’d had a good hit on one of the deep lines and this fish was taking us to town. We were down to the backing in no time before we got the lines clear and the boat into reverse. Now gaining back some serious line, this fish again took off. A call came in on the radio asking what we had on now??? No clue I’m afraid. But this time our prize wasn’t a fish but a mammal eating what we’d caught. A large Porpoise had found our Bonito and was having a game of tug of war with us. He was enjoying it, our angler was not. This happens often when Porpoise are around. They have the ability to steal our fish without so much as a bat of their eyes. They don’t eat the entire fish and their telltale mark is left on the head, a sharply cut V in the top.

A small King was caught without incident, a Blackfin Tuna and another bomber Bonito. We came across an east west tidal line and caught a decent Dolphin. Lately, the Mahi’s that have been in shallow waters have been attracted to the boat sitting rather than trolling so we put out a few shark baits in the area and hoped for the best. The Dolphin activity was too far from shore to get to on a 4 hour trip.

The Mahi we’d caught would turn out to be our only one but we did manage to hook a Hammerhead Shark. Andy again was in the chair and is pictured with this 7’ T head. The hooks were removed and he was set free and our trip was over.

Happy 4th of July guys… Hope the fish added to the barbecue.

Keep em tight… Keep em on.

Captain Steve

 

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Sailfish Fishing Improves Off Lauderdale

Posted on by Captain Steve

pic_3We can catch Sailfish year-round here in Fort Lauderdale but as the winter months approach, this is the time that fishing for Sailfish really improves. Each cold blast from the north moves the baitfish south and the Sails are close behind. So being in position with the live baits out in the kites is where we fish these days.

But this kind of fishing takes patience. What might seem boring to a novice can become exciting in a mere second. And our group today had plenty of patience.

Susan, a native Floridian, was delighted just to be out on a boat without her 2 twin boys of 3 months. No surprise there. LOL Her husband Tom and his twin brother, Tim, rounded out our group and we immediately headed out to the grounds to deploy the kites. We also like to run a bottom bait and this time we set our sights big with a big bait. With the buffet now open, we waited…

Very few fish were being caught and little was being said on the radio but we knew this was our best shot. Something big was wanted and we love to please. Our first bite came on the bottom bait. Small fish had been picking at it, making the tip of the rod bounce. These little fish create noise which sometimes attracts a large fish to investigate and one did. The bite was fierce and bent the rod hard toward the water. But as we tried to set the hook, the line went slack and we had missed whatever had tried us. There were no teeth marks in what was left of our bait so that eliminates a shark.

We set another bottom bait but never got the chance to see if anything was around. One of our kite baits was going nuts and soon, A sailfish appeared beneath it. The bite was classic and we had our first fish on. We usually move the boat ahead to help get the slack out but we say still for this bite hoping for a second fish.

And as we set the hook on the first, a second one appeared and he too was hooked. We had to clear one of the kite baits to avoid a tangle but still had one out there and Tim and Tom began the battles.

When 2 fish are hooked at the same time, they always seem to go different directions. You have to choose one fish and go after him, just playing the other as you go. Direction, size of the fish and how much line is left on the reel are the determining factors. It took about 20 minutes to land the first fish and then we zeroed in on Tom’s sail.

Remember that bait we still have out? Well, as Tom’s fish is getting close to the boat, another Sailfish ate that last bait and we’re back to 2 fish on at the same time. This third fish was landed by Susan after releasing the others.

So here’s our crew, back at the dock with their Sailfish flags behind them. It went from waiting to sheer pandemonium in mere seconds. Our group did an excellent job of catching their respective fish and since these were their firsts? They all had to throw each other into the water as is the tradition. We cut them some slack and said they could do it in the pool at their hotel…

Sailfish fishing is improving off Fort Lauderdale. Expect it to get even better!

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