Now that the 4th of July has passed and my dog is
out from under the bed, it’s time for summer snapper. While we fish for them
the entire year-round, this time of year off Fort Lauderdale is when you can
reap a nice harvest!
On the sport fishing boats, trolling is still a mainstay in
catching fish. Kings and Bonitos are in the reef area as well as the occasional
Sailfish or Tuna. But when it comes time to put some big baits out, the bottom,
or entertainment rod as we call it, also comes out. We will concentrate our
efforts in areas that snapper inhabit, and many times end up with our limit. Vermilions
and Yelloweyes are found in deeper waters. Yellowtails and Muttons are found on
the shallow wrecks.
On the drift boat it all depends on the conditions. Fast
moving current can move the boat across a spot quickly. Too quickly for the
smaller spots. This forces the boats into shallow waters and Lane snappers
along with the occasional Yellowtail or Mutton are also caught.
But if the current is not too strong, the deeper spots come
into play. The picture above is a recent day on our drift fishing boat, the
Lois Ann. Conditions were great for this spot and some nice sized Vermilions
were taken. While the bite and conditions change day to day, you can see things
can get pretty busy.
So if you live in the area or are planning a trip to Fort
Lauderdale soon, get out there and get some of these summer snapper. You just
never know what else might come on your line…
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!
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.
Two days a week I have the pleasure of working with Captain Adam as my first mate. Captain Adam operates the drift fishing boat on a few of his other days. A few of his “regulars” decided to charter the boat for the day. Orlando and his crew showed up bright and early so Adam and I thought we’d give them a chance at a few things we do.
Some trolling for Blackfin Tuna was our beginning as we headed out for deep drops with the electric reel. The Tuna were spotty at best and we made haste to get to our depth of 800’ of water. When you fish with 5 to 8 lbs. of lead? The electric reel sure makes things easy and after a couple of blank drops, the Black Bellied Rosies were biting!
Being seasoned Drift fishing customers the guys were aching to be doing their own fishing with their own rods. Our first stop turned out to be our last and the bite was on! Vermillion and Lane Snappers were biting well. So were the Porgy’s and Triggerfish. The group was very comfortable baiting their own hooks, handling any tangles that occurred and hooking fish. We made 6 or 7 drifts across our spot and each time added to the collection which was filling the box.
I caught some of the fishing action from the fly bridge with my phone. And Orlando was kind enough to arrange their catch for a photo back at the dock. All in all, we ended up limiting out on the Vermillions, had another dozen or so Lanes, 10 to 15 Triggers, a handful of Porgies and 15 Rosies. Not a bad day’s work drift fishing off Fort Lauderdale. We look forward to your return.
The Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale area fishing has been interesting, to say the least. Normally my fishing report for the New Year would be pretty much about the Sailfish activity and while we’ve had some, it’s not what is expected as far as numbers. Not yet anyway.
You also wouldn’t hear me talking much about Dolphin at this time of year, but as I said, it’s been interesting. The week between Christmas and New Year is always busy as far as taking people fishing. But from one day to the next, we were finding different species in our area. And what was biting the day before might very well be gone the next. Luckily, our guests have their own plans.
With the fishing being like this, we never know what to expect. Unusually warm temperatures in our area have things all mixed up. We limit out on Kingfish one day, the next we can’t find one. We were fishing for sharks the other day and got mugged, and I mean mugged, by small Dolphin. I think we ended up with 18 or so.
Our best efforts have been coming from using multiple techniques while flying the kites with live bait. Small sharks, Mahi-mahi, some larger sharks and a few Sailfish have been frequenting us. And fishing an “entertainment rod” has been producing some nice sized Mutton and Yellowtail Snappers. Trolling has been producing some Kingfish on the reef area and some nice Blackfin Tuna just a bit further from shore in deeper water.
As always, we adapt to what the fish gods offer each day… Trying a little of this and some of that and usually with good results. We are about to have another cold front coming as I write this fishing report. My next report could be a Sailfish extravaganza… Or the sharks might invade… Wahoo? Dolphin? I just can’t say but it’s all good here in the Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale area.
Just another typical day here in south Florida as dad Joe, with his two kids, Spencer and Christian, and dad Michael with Megan and Brice showed up ready to go fishing. Fort Lauderdale has been fairly consistent in both weather and fishing as of late. Calm seas and light breezes in the mornings make for almost lake conditions as we headed out to see what could be done to keep this crew occupied.
One thing about kids, they like action and today the Bonitos were cooperating. One rod, then another would sing out, the kids grabbing rods in their turn which had been pre-determined. Megan went first and they kind of rotated after that. I honestly lost count of the Bonitos we caught, a few Kingfish mixed in for good measure but we had a blast putting them in the box.
Well, both dad’s had been kind of slighted to this point so Adam rigged a shark bait and we stuck it out there hoping for something big. Shark, Grouper, whatever came along. As always, while we wait, we might as well fish, right? So we set the kids up with some bottom gear to see if any Snappers were around. Our first two bites were Triggerfish, not exactly the targeted species. But the kids got better with the rods and soon we were catching Mutton Snappers.
All in all we let 5 or 6 go and kept 6 legal Snappers to add to our bounty. I believe a Tuna was caught as well, but no big bite for either dad today. I know they were a little disappointed, I could tell by the way they kept trying to get the rods from the kids…
But we had plenty of action and lots of family fun here in Fort Lauderdale. And a pile of fish for this stellar crew.
Combining a few different types of fishing in Fort Lauderdale makes the day go by quickly and increases your chances of catching fish. And with the winter months bringing on kite fishing and using live baits? It’s the perfect time to drop a bait down for some of the snappers we have around here. And this is exactly what we did with Ashley, Brittany and dad Chuck the other day.
Flying fishing kites is a very productive way to fish and we do it often this time of year. Primarily used for catching Sailfish, anything that eats in the sea will bite these baits. But as in all fishing, there might be a bit of a wait for that bite. So when conditions allow, we like to use an “entertainment rod” to keep our guests busy as they wait for that big bite.
This is a rod that the guest actually hold themselves. We set it up and explain how to use it. It takes a bit to get used to it if you’ve never done it before but Ashley showed us once again that no experience is necessary… The bait is dropped down to the bottom or close to it and if they are biting? It doesn’t take long before the first hit is felt.
Ashley wasn’t really into this fishing thing and was very casual in her holding the rod. That changed when the rod bent and began jerking in her hand. Adam was quick to help her get situated with the rod and soon she was reeling up what appeared to be a nice sized fish. It turned out to be a 10 lbs. Mutton Snapper, an excellent eating fish. We had already caught a few small Tuna and had just added to the menu.
It’s my job to watch the kite baits when this is going on but in truth? It’s hard to concentrate on them when there is other action in the cockpit. Brittney was next and caught a smaller Mutton that we had to release.
Not only snapper will bite this rig and dad chuck got a nice bite and reeled in a small Silky Shark that took some time to land. We usually lose them as they bite through the line.
The weather was changing and rain and wind was making the seas change. All in all, we ended up with the two Tuna and 4 keeper Muttons, the biggest caught by Ashley. The hard part now was finding a restaurant that was open on Christmas Eve day to prepare the fish. But we got that done too.
And that’s snapper fishing, Fort Lauderdale style. Fishing while you fish. I like it!