Posts Tagged "Sport Fishing"

The April Bite is Hopping

Posted on by Captain Steve

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…

Gaffer Dolphin Fishing

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.

Feb King

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.

tuna fish

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!

Tight Lines,

Captain Steve

Posted in Mahi Mahi

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Bite the Bullet

Posted on by Captain Steve

Bonito For Live Bait

When you want to “swing for the fences,” the best way to raise a big pelagic species in the Southeast Florida area is to slow-troll a False Albacore or small Blackfin Tuna. Species such as Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, Yellowfin Tuna – even larger Sailfish – cannot resist a nice, juicy “bullet” trolled right in front of them. Here at Fantastic Fishing, we love nothing more than to troll a few “bullets” to put you on the trophy fish of a lifetime.

A “Bullet” is the nickname often used to describe a False Albacore (also called Little Tunny – in Southeast Florida, many anglers and crews refer to them as “bonito”) or a Blackfin Tuna, typically weighing in at between 2 to 6 lbs. False Albacore/Little Tunny are members of the Tuna family while the Atlantic Bonito is actually a member of the Mackerel family.

During the Spring and Summer months, False Albacore/Little Tunny and Blackfins can be found mixed together in large schools up and down the coast in depths from 50 feet out to 400 feet. Wherever you find them, you’ll find predators “nibbling around the edges” of the school. So, let’s match the hatch and give the predators what they want.

The first step is the catch the bullets. Small trolling feathers or spoons – or a mix – will work. Use 20 lb. – 30 lb. trolling outfits to catch the bullets. We prefer tolling between 4.5 and 6 knots. You don’t want to spend time fighting the bullets – you need to get them to the boat quickly yet gently. The sooner to the boat, the fresher the bullet. Ideally, you want to catch multiple bullets at a time so that you can start trolling more than one bullet.

The following videos shows our crew catching and rigging up live bonito:

 

Here’s the challenge for you and your crew: Unless you have “tuna tubes” installed in your boat to keep the bullets alive, you need to bring the bullets aboard, rig them and get them back into the water so that you can being trolling them – and be quick about it!

You need to have your live bullet rods staged and ready to go. Typically, we’ll use either 50s or 80s with 2-speed features on stand-up rods to troll live bullets. Make sure that the terminal tackle includes a Bimini twist connected to a wind-on leader of at least 200 lb. test, connected to a heavy-duty ball bearing snap swivel. We prefer our leaders to be at least 150 lb. test mono connected to a trace of Number 9 wire (105 lb. test) or greater. The type of species you’re targeting will dictate whether you go lighter or heavier with your wire leader to reduce visibility. If you’re targeting yellowfin tunas, you may not want to use wire at all. If there are sharks around, you want to step up to a heavier wire.

As for hooks, we prefer to use 10/0 J hooks. Why not circle hooks? If you’re targeting Wahoo, you don’t have the luxury of the fish swallowing your bait and then letting the circle hook dig in on its way out of the fish’s mouth. You need the hook to grab and grab quickly. If you’re only targeting tunas or billfish, you can get away with circle hooks.

Once you bring the bullet aboard, cover it in a damp towel so that you can manage the bait without harming it too much. Again, you need to be quick about it. You can either run the hook from your 50 through the bullet’s nostrils, up vertically through the upper lip of the bullet or you can bridle the hook to the top of the bullet’s head by running a rigging needle through the eye sockets. Once done, get the bullet back into the water with the boat slightly in gear.

At this point, you hopefully have 2 fresh bullets swimming behind the boat and you’re making less than 2 knots of forward speed. Slowly drop both bullets back and be sure to stagger them: One bullet short and one bullet long. The trick here is to troll the bullets with enough speed to keep them swimming and to make your way to deeper water but also not so much speed that you kill the bullets and cause them to spin/. You will likely need to do “in and outs” with the throttle to avoid drowning the bullets. A dead bullet does you no good – you will be firing “blanks.”

The next step is to make your way out of shallower water to deeper water to find the Wahoo, Tuna or billfish. You want to do this as quickly as possible – all while not killing the bullets – so as to minimize the possibility of having a bullet bitten in half by a Barracuda or Kingfish. This is typically a depth of 250 – 500 feet. Slow troll your bullets until a) you get a shot or b) your bullets die. Once you catch a fish or your baits die, you get to head back to shallower water to start the process all over again. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

You will be amazed at the size of the species that will attack the bullets and the ferocity of the bites. Most strikes are top-water bites that will make you weak in the knees. When you’re “swinging for the fences,” don’t be surprised when you hit a Grand Slam.

Call us to book your Fantastic Fishing Trip today!

Posted in Fishing Techniques and Tips, Sport

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Ladies Sport Fishing Fort Lauderdale

Posted on by Captain Steve

While a high percentage of our guests are men here in Fort Lauderdale, there are some ladies that also like sport fishing or just fishing in general. Today’s trip was a group of gals that were far from the ordinary.

Bachelor parties are somewhat common but bachelorette parties? That’s what was in store for us this afternoon when Chelsea and the girls showed up. Most were from the Carolinas and one was from Texas. They had their food and beverage, which included an ample supply of beer only proving that they know how to fish and we were off and on our way or a fun afternoon.

As Joe was putting out the lines our first strike came right away. The bride to be, Chelsea, was given the first fish and it turned out to be quite a fish! Her first Sailfish was on the line and jumping! Because only a few baits had been put out we had little to retrieve and were backing down quickly as Chelsea took in the line. And within 15 minutes, we were able to get a picture of Chelsea and her prize.

We quickly found out that these ladies were all about fishing. How did we do this or that and can I hold my fish… And winding? We had to ask a few of the girls to slow down some so they didn’t pull the face off the fish! Even after just a short time, the girls were beating Joe to the rods and setting their own hooks. And some bantering between them all as the fish kept rolling in.

All in all, they caught some Kingfish, Bonitos and a few Blackfin Tuna along with Chelsea’s Sailfish. And as we headed home from our fishing trip off Fort Lauderdale, the ladies realized they had another 12 pack in the fridge. Celebration time! I really enjoyed fishing with these gals…

Captain Steve

Posted in Sport, Uncategorized

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Fort Lauderdale Sport Fishing Improves

Posted on by Captain Steve

Bonitos Fishing

While the sport of fishing here in Fort Lauderdale is a year round thing, certain times of the year cause an excellent result in how good the fishing is and what we catch. As the sun begins to move to the south and the days are shorter, the water temps begin to fall. The cooling water is usually first shown by schools of Mullet traveling south along our beaches and through the waterways. This is already beginning here in Fort Lauderdale.

While Mullet are easily seen, even by novices, other baitfish are also moving south and with them they bring the fish. Always on the prowl for food, schools of Bonito, Kingfish, Mahi-mahi, Barracuda and Sharks follow these schools of bait right past our shore and it’s just starting to happen here.

Our trip yesterday was the kind of trip that the need for talking wasn’t needed. There was so much action and so many fish, our poor customers barely had time to catch their breath. In just over 2 hours of fishing, we caught over 40 Bonitos and 2 Kings. It was over an hour before we were able to get ALL our lines set, as each time we started putting something out, it got hit. The one time we did have everything out at once, all lines came down with fish on them. The group was having a blast and Justin was delighted with the help he got from all involved. The guys were bringing in the shock cords and boating the fish while Justin rigged and set lines.

This is the time of year when most our action is close to shore by these schools of migrating bait. Small Mahi-mahi are beginning to show and fishing for their big brothers and sisters has been excellent in the fall the last few years. We expect the same this year as well.
People always ask when is the best time to fish? The answer is when they are biting, and right now? They are biting in Fort Lauderdale…

Keep em tight… Keep em on
Captain Steve

Posted in Sport, Uncategorized

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