Posts Tagged "Shark"

Spring Fishing Trends

Posted on by Captain Steve

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.

Capt. Steve

Fanntastic Fishing

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Sailfish are Showing Us the Love in February

Posted on by Captain Steve

catch Sailfish

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!

Tight Lines,

Captain Steve

Posted in Sailfish

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January Fishing is Keeping Everyone Warm

Posted on by Captain Steve

Sailfish fishing

The red-hot Winter bite is still in full swing despite the fact that the “winter vortex” is sitting on top of most of the northern US and Canada! The pods of Sailfish are in town for the winter and they aren’t going anywhere! Wahoo, King Mackerel, Amberjacks and big Sharks continue to keep line peeling and drags screaming.

Offshore Report: Sailfish Reporting for Duty

The world-famous Sailfish are here and more are on the way from the north. A few weeks ago, nearly 1,000 Sailfish were caught during a sailfish tournament about 90 miles to the north of us and they are headed this way! The recent January cold fronts have really turned on the bite as we continue to catch multiple Sailfish on live Goggle Eyes or Pilchards 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 by slow-trolling live  Ballyhoo or Goggle Eyes on the surface and just below the surface.

sailfish fishing


Huge Wahoo!

Wahoo continue to be very active on the deeper reefs and out to 600 feet of water. Wahoos have also taken a liking to our live baits while Sailfishing. We’re catching Wahoo in the 10 to 50-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.

Wahoo aren’t the only “toothy critters” on the prowl. Their cousins, King Mackerel, are also pouncing on our live baits and trolled baits in the hopes that we’re not fishing wire leaders.

Shark Fishing is Unreal:

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. 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. We also continue to tangle with Blacktips and Spinner Sharks by targeting them on certain wrecks with live and dead Bonitos. If you’ve ever wished to catch a big Shark, now is the time to schedule your trip with us!

“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 keep this hot winter bite going! Give us a call to book a trip with Fantastic Sportfishing.

Tight Lines,
Captain Steve

Posted in Sailfish

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Wisconsin Badger’s Hammerhead Shark

Posted on by Captain Steve

Wis shark

With the week between Christmas and New Year behind us, we’ve found that one of our trips created a bit of a stir. The Wisconsin Badger’s Hammerhead Shark is what we’ll call this.


5 of the players and one of the coaches from Wisconsin joined us for some fishing before the Orange Bowl game. The late afternoon trip set out around 4 pm. We are looking for BIG fish, after all, these were big boys. LOL


Sitting in deep water over 600’, we waited and I was about to try in shallower water when we got as bite. It was funny because we had the boys try and pull line off the reel. They had a tough time with where the drag was set. This fish did not have that problem and pulled off about 100 yards quickly.


Our angler never faded and stayed set on his goal. It took a little over 30 minutes to see what we had caught, a 9’ Hammerhead shark. We boated the fish for measurement, tagging and pictures before releasing him. But that’s not what caused a stir.


It seems at the game they posted a picture I had taken from the fly bridge of the shark and the crew on the Jumbo Tron. Hammerhead sharks are protected in state waters because they are endangered. The public and media were calling the FWC, our fish and game people.


An agent contacted me some days later for an interview of what occurred. I explained we go to great lengths to take care of the game fish we catch and release. We have a hose that pumps sea water for our catches to breath and this helps us release them in good shape.


When you see game fish caught on our boat in a picture, if it’s not edible, it is released. And it was the same with the Wisconsin Badger’s Hammerhead Shark.


Happy New Year

Captain Steve

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Tiger Shark Makes Day

Posted on by Captain Steve

We have had an interesting week here with a Tiger Shark making one customer very happy. But I’ll get to that in a moment.


Our week begins with calm seas, light west winds and some great fishing. Trolling on the reef produced good catches in Kingfish, Skipjack Tuna and lots of small Barracuda with a few big ones mixed in. Because of the west wind, weed and other debris that hold Dolphin and Wahoo were further off shore and hard to reach on the shorter trips.


Bottom fishing on the deeper wrecks has also been very good. Black Grouper are moving through our area. We’ve managed at least one per trip and 3 on out last all day. We’ve also lost a few back into the wreck. Medium sized Amberjack are also somewhat prevalent with this kind of fishing.


But even a day with a great catch isn’t always good enough. Not if your heart is set on catching a shark and that’s what Jordan wanted. So with just an hour or so to go, we put out the big baits. And as time grew near for us to go in and still no bite? They extended their trip another 2 hours.


We had been picking at small bottom stuff while fishing for the big one. Tilefish, Vermillion snapper and Tinker mackerel were biting. Our bottom bait had been decimated by the small fish so we freshened the bait and waited some more.


And then it happened. The bottom rod bent over sharply. And that was all, it was back to resting peacefully. Really??? Again it bent down hard and then… nothing. Oh come on!


The third time was the charm, we were connected to something and we would find out in about 40 minutes with a lot of straining that a Tiger shark had taken our bait. He measured at 1” shy of 8’, was tagged, photographed and released. Check out that mouth.


Our weather has cleared and we’ll be back out fishing. Won’t you join us?


Captain Steve

Posted in Sport, Uncategorized


Wreck Fishing This Week

Posted on by Captain Steve

Wreck Fishing

There are times, as in the past week, when we turn to wreck fishing. Just coming off the full moon and some very clear ocean waters with south current, our game and edible fish are scarce. But some of the shallow and deep wrecks provide us with many options.

Many of the wrecks we fish are artificial, they were sunk on purpose through the Broward County Artificial Reef program. Ships and other kinds of structures like bridges, docks and even the original molds for fiberglass boats from Chris Craft have been used. They are placed in various depths and provide a habitat for all kinds of marine life. It takes years for these to develop.

Both soft and hard corals will grow. This provides food and protection for smaller fish, which attract bigger fish. Amberjacks, Barracuda, sharks, snappers and groupers are just some of the fishes we catch when wreck fishing.

This week we have been concentrating on some of our deeper spots. The action has been very good but there has been a problem with a couple of these spots. Getting a bite has not been the problem. Getting the entire fish to the boat is.

Just as we use live bait to attract our sport fish, when wreck fishing, a hooked fish is like a live bait, even when that fish is 50+ lbs. Bending the rod, having the fish take line, the angler winding away and all of a sudden the line goes light or slack.

If you’re lucky, you get part of what you hooked, usually the head and maybe some of the body. Other times, the hook is completely gone. While this can happen fighting any fish in any area, this time of year is especially tough because shark season is upon us. It is mostly Bull Sharks that rob you of your prize.

The solution to all this? Reel as fast and hard as you can! LOL And hope for the best. And just maybe, you too will catch your prize like the one in the picture.

Wreck Fishing

Captain Steve

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Shark Fishing Fort Lauderdale

Posted on by Captain Steve

Shark FishingThis is the time of year that we do some Shark fishing off the Fort Lauderdale coast. But a recent catch added to a subsequent catch a few days later created a stir.


First is our catch, a Mako Shark, a fairly rare catch of the south Florida coast as they prefer cooler waters. Not only was catching one of these a surprise but how we caught it was even more of a shock.


You see, we were fishing for Sailfish, among other things, with semi light tackle (30# test) and mono-filament leader. These sharp teeth can easily cut that line and the fight is over. But as you can see in the picture, the hook is placed perfectly and with some luck, the leader and line held for an hour and the fish was landed.

Fort Lauderdale Fishing

Now the second catch was on our sister ship and was another Mako Shark. This catch brought some notoriety because they are rare but it also might have had something to do with the 3 NFL players on board as well. None the less, here is the clip from local news.


Now I mention all this because a few days later I received a call from Cathy in Palm Beach. She had seen the news story and wanted to know if we had released the shark. When I told her no, she was very upset. At one point it got kind of funny as she said she didn’t want to argue but I think she did. I was never able to educate her on what really goes on.


Each year my boat releases somewhere around 50 or so sharks live back into the water. If we boat the fish to remove hooks, we put the fish on a water hose to help them breath. Sharks are an important part of our fishery and we like keeping it healthy. This is the first killed shark of my year and the first kill for my sister ship of these creatures. It could be the last as there are only 2 sharks that are considered excellent to eat, the Mako and the small eyed Thresher. And even when they are edible, we don’t necessarily bring them back to the dock.


Recreational fishing and hook and line will NEVER have any significant effect on any species in our oceans. According to NOAA’s data, recreational anglers account for 2% of all landed finfish. That is landed fish and doesn’t include the 100’s we release each year. Regulations, permits and other incentives protect our fishery further.


So when you see a fish on a dock or brought aboard a boat and the local news is there? It’s because the fish was landed. They don’t show up every day when we release them.


And that’s all I have to say about shark fishing off shore of Fort Lauderdale.


Captain Steve

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Shark Fishing Showdown

Posted on by Captain Steve

SharkWith the winds finally slowing down and March being upon us, it’s time for some of the large predators to migrate through our area. With some of our guests hoping to catch something big, Shark fishing is a great option for the next few months.


Many species of sharks will be moving through the area for the next 3 months or so and if you’re looking to test your strength and our biggest tackle? Now is the time to go fishing. As with any kind of fishing, some waiting might be involved. So we like to keep our options open while we wait and one of these ways is some bottom fishing with the “entertainment” rod.


Most of the time, we are out in over 300’ of water with the BIG baits out. Dropping a rig to the bottom can be very lucrative. Tilefish, snappers and groupers can all be caught while waiting for something to come along. With both live and dead baits out, anything can bite. But this time of year, expect to see the sharks along with Sailfish, Dolphin and Tuna.


I have a picture of a slightly bigger than average Hammerhead we caught a few days ago while shark fishing. I’m sorry but this fish was not very cooperative in having his picture taken. All Hammerheads are protected and after removing the hook, he was released back into the sea, but not before giving Adam a nice slap on the lower leg with his tail.


I also have a picture of some Blueline Tilefish we were catching. While usually weighing about 2-3 pounds, these were all nice sized ones with the biggest going around 6 lbs. When you see the mate grab the gaff while bottom fishing? That’s always a good indicator you’ve got some nice ones!


So right now, shark fishing is a must if you want something big. Hope to see you soon.


Captain Steve

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Great Day Fishing

Posted on by Captain Steve

Fort Lauderdale Fishing

Fort Lauderdale FishingToday was just a great day fishing in Fort Lauderdale. The weather was near perfect. Enough wind for the kites but not so much to make the seas rough, plenty of sunshine for our group from Baton Rouge, LA.  Todd, with his 3 sons, and a couple of friends from the business. And after a quick stop for beer at a local marina, we were off for our full day fishing.


Now it goes without saying that catching fish is certainly a big part of what makes a great day fishing. Attitude is another part of a great day fishing and this group had plenty of that! Listening to the boys trade shots and barbs was hilarious, their uncle egging them on.


So a trolling we will go and though the water looked great, things weren’t happening. We managed a nice Blackfin Tuna and missed a couple small hits. With a nice color change and rip current in 400’ of water, we decided to switch gears and deploy some live bait in the kites. A few big baits for whatever might be around and some deep dropping for Tilefish while we waited.


The deep drop rod is called the entertainment rod. It keeps our anglers busy while we wait for a big bite on the kites or big baits. The Tilefish didn’t disappoint us, most were good size but that went on hold when a large Mahi-mahi showed up for a Goggle eye.


The fish was over 30 lbs. and became airborne as soon as it struck. One of the boys on the rod fighting him with excellent finesse as a follower came into view. Captain Adam managed to get another kite bait in front of the male and we soon had both fish jumping.


Big Mahi’s are always a handful when they get near the boat and the smaller male proved to be more difficult and stubborn. After 40 minutes, both were landed, and while high fives were going on, the jug went down and we had a sea monster on!


For a third grader, the youngest son took the first shot at whatever had eaten the bottom bait. It turned out that he stayed put throughout the fight, the entire 70 minutes to land a 110” shark! Tenacity is all I can say about that. To see the video of the shark, check out Fanntastic Fishing Facebook page.


Just a great day fishing off the coast of Fort Lauderdale. This is one of those days that just flew by…


Captain Steve

Posted in Kids Fishing, Sport, Uncategorized

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Fishing This Week

Posted on by Captain Steve

Fort Lauderdale Fishing

Fort Lauderdale FishingOur fishing this week in Fort Lauderdale was somewhat of a whirlwind of trips. This is our slow season, what with the kids back in school and few people traveling. We spend some of our time at the dock rather than fishing, sprucing up the boats for what will soon be a busier time.


None the less, there still are a few people that want to be out there catching. Fishing this week with us were 2 guests from China. ZhouTong and Xin were with us for 2 full days. Now I wasn’t aware of the rest or their trip until we met that first morning. They have a 15 day trip planned visiting 13 states. That alone was quite ambitious. 2 of those fishing days were with us and the plans for both trips were laid out before we even met.


One day would be for fishing for Sailfish, other species allowed. The second day was to be spent bottom fishing, mostly Grouper. We had discussed all this in emails prior to the booking. I explained we might want to change things depending on conditions, swap days or whatever. None the less, the fishing this week was to involve these specific targets. Thank God they allowed other fish!


Day 1 was planned by catching live bait, Ballyhoo, trolling in search of good water and then doing our best with Sails. It began horribly, the bait would not bite and the Bermuda Chubs were so thick, the Ballyhoo wouldn’t come close to the boat to be netted. A quick trip to the sea buoy for runners also proved to be a flop as they were not eating because of the strong current and their “mood”. A captains worst nightmare had begun and we weren’t 90 minutes into the first of 2 all day trips.


Trolling proved productive with Kingfish and Bonitos on the reef area and we finally managed to net a few Ballyhoo at another location as the boys slept. Their trip had included a 12 hour drive from Texas the day before with little sleep last night.


A change of plans, some big baits out with a few “hoos” and we were fishing for something big! We hoped…And it didn’t take that long before a bite did come. It took about 30 minutes before we saw what we had hooked. It jumping and clearing the water by some 6’ just 200’ away was our prize, a 7’ Mako Shark! Tong was in the chair and the fish was not done fighting just yet. Another 10 minutes or so and we had our fish beside the boat being quite good as Liam held the leader. Actually, Liam was more excited about this fish than Tong or Xin, it was his first. They are spectacular animals with their bright blue color, pointed nose and rows of sharp teeth, an eating machine to say the least. This one was released and slowly swam away.


A few hours left in day one and it was time for the Sailfish part of our trip. This did take some time as we slowly bumped our live baits around with the dredge out. Dredge fishing is one of my favorite ways to fish. The dredge, which looks like a school of bait does some of the attracting and today it brought us our first of 3 Sailfish. He was right there, behind the dredge, piled on one of the baits and we were on! We missed a second fish while fighting the first and had another shot after the release but missed him as well. For a day that started so poorly, we ended up well.


Our second day did not have the same results. The baits were still not biting but we managed a few. Trolling north to the many wrecks, we spent much of our time dropping on different spots with poor results. Strong currents were causing the problems as we tried some semi deep spots, knowing the deep ones would be tough. Once again trolling saved us with a pair of nice Blackfin Tunas at the end of our trip. Other fish were also caught but compared to the day before? They just made me feel better. LOL


That is all for fishing this week. Now are you ready to hear about sanding and painting? I didn’t think so… Thanks for listening.


Captain Steve

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