Fall Fishing in Ft Lauderdale

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Nice mutton snappers and kingfish caught drift fishing aboard the Catch My Drift

Nice mutton snappers and kingfish caught drift fishing aboard the Catch My Drift

The snapper and kingfish action has really lit up this week.  Our drift fishing boat is catching them very good on the reef in 90-110 ft of water.  The kingfish are biting best on the early morning run.  We’re catching them on whole ballyhoo and sardines drifting them about mid-depth.  Snappers on the other hand are biting best on the afternoon and night anchor trips.  They usually bite better later in the day and into the night.  We’re catching our snappers either with chunks of squid or other chunk bait (best for yellowtails and mangrove snappers).  Plug baits (a whole sardine or ballyhoo with it’s head cut off) work best for mutton snappers and groupers.

Alex holding a pair of mutton snappers aboard the Catch My Drift.

Nice mutton snappers caught on our drift fishing trip.

The king tides this month during the few days around the full moon can make for some crazy snapper fishing.  This week, we’ve had some outstanding nights for mangroves.  Still, the mangroves on some nights can be snapping and on other nights non-existant.  On the nights when the mangrove bite is slow, we’ve been falling back to our yellowtail spots and doing well catching yellowtail snappers.  On most nights we come home with a few good sized mutton snappers are well.  Snappers are the main target on the night trips but we also get a few groupers and sometimes even a really big cobia.  We get some sharks on our night trips this time of year as well.  At night, you can catch just about anything, you never know what you’re going to get.

Good numbers of mangrove snappers lined up ready to be cleaned at the cutting table.

Lots of mangrove snappers are biting on our night anchor trips.

The mullet run is in full swing and there’s a mixed bag of all sorts of species trolling the Ft Lauderdale reefs.  Kingfish, tunas, sailfish and wahoo are all taking advantage of the easy pickings on mullet.  Every year, the mullet make their way down our coastline, filling our inlets and Intracoastal waterway with their schools.  They bring a lot of life with them during their migration as larger, predator fish follow close behind to pick off any mullet that lags behind the rest of the school.  Right now, sailfish are biting really, really good on our sportfishing charters.  Kingfish, blackfin tuna, wahoo and barracuda are also biting excellent.  Our sportfishing charters are our best trip for catching the most and the biggest fish.  Sailfish season starts now and lasts through February.  Sailfish LOVE the windy, cooler weather as it moves through.  The windier, cooler the day, the better the sailfish will bite.

Nice sailfish just caught on a sportfishing charter.

Nice sailfish just caught in Ft Lauderdale.

Mahi-mahi are scattered and spotty.  They don’t bite every day.  They are around this  time of year and this past week, with the hard east wind, it has blown the mahi in closer in to just outside the reef.  We’re catching them in 120-350 ft of water.  The easterly wind is definitely the reason.  Dolphin move with the wind and the hard east wind blows both the sargassum weed in closer to shore, and with it brings also the mahi-mahi.   Just remember stong east wind equals both choppy seas and mahi-mahi.

Dolphin in Ft Lauderdale.

Nice dolphin caught on our sportfishing charter in Ft Lauderdale.

Remember with these big tides this time of year, it is also a good time for wahoo.  Wahoo love the full moons because they love the big tide changes.  With the Ft Lauderdale king tides, also comes the best wahoo fishing of the year.  You want to fish the tide change, I like the height of high tide until the trough of low tide. We catch some really big wahoo this time of year, get ready for some big wahoo pics coming next week.

Guy holding a nice wahoo

Big wahoo caught on our Ft Lauderdale sportfishing charter

Good luck to everyone fishing this week.  There is a lot of variety of fish this time of year.  If you can brave the seas (and they are choppy this time of year), you have potential to catch some pretty awesome fish.  I’ll sea ya on the water!


Capt. Andy Roydhouse

Great Action on All Our Different Fishing Trips this Week

By | Drift Fishing Reports, Offshore Reports, Sportfishing Charter Report, Swordfishing Charter Reports | No Comments
Nice kingfish just caught aboard the Catch My Drift with Capt Tito

Nice kingfish caught drift fishing on the Ft Lauderdale reef.

The fishing in Fort Lauderdale has been excellent this week.  Lots of kingfish and bonitos are still biting on the reefs.  Action on the wrecks has been consistent with a good amount of snappers and sometimes a grouper.  Offshore action has been spotty.  There are some dolphin out but you have to find them which require a lot of trolling miles.  There’s been much better and more consistent action trolling the reefs and edge of the Gulfstream.  Sailfish starting biting early last week and wow!!!  what a week of sailfishing.  This is just the beginning of sailfish season and it looks like this year will be a tremendous year for them.  We catch different varieties of fish on our different trips, so this is a breakdown of what we are catching on the various deep sea fishing trips that we run:

Nice mutton will pretty colors just caught

Nice mutton snapper caught by this angler on our deep sea fishing trip

Drift Fishing Trips  8:30am & 1:30pm
Our drift fishing trips are doing well catching kingfish, bonitos and snappers.  Bonitos seem to be hanging in longer this year than in years past.  They are usually long gone by now, but there are still big numbers of bonitos on the reefs.  Kingfish are mixed in with them. We’re catching the kingfish by either flat line fishing a ballyhoo/sardine or by jigging a whip jig off the bow of the boat.  These techniques are also the best way to catch bonito and blackfin tuna.  Snappers fishing is also going good.  We’re getting some really big mutton snappers here and there on the afternoon trips.  Decent numbers of yellowtail snappers are biting as well as the full array of grunts, porgies, triggers, jacks and other good eating bottom fish.

Group of people holding their catch of bonitos and kingfish at the dock after their trip.

Nice catch of bonitos and kingfish on our deep sea fishing charter.

Night Anchor Trips 7:30pm
Night anchor trips are catching the highest numbers of fish out of the 3 trips aboard our party fishing boat.  Our night anchor trip concentrates on fishing for snappers on the bottom.  Lots of yellowtails are biting at night.  Mangrove snappers are biting pretty good too.  Usually on the full moon of September, the mangroves will spawn and bite extra good.  Tomorrow night is the full moon, so we’ll see.  A select few muttons are also biting and they’ve been big!  The muttons we’re catching this week have averaged 6-12 pounds, which is a bit larger than our average muttons usually are.  Sharks are also biting on some nights on our anchor trip.  We catch a lot of Atlantic sharpnose sharks, Cuban night sharks, blacktips and nurse.  These sharks aren’t the monster gamesharks that we catch on our sportfishing charters, but rather 3-4 ft in length and perfect for a good fight on 30 pound test.  Our night anchor trips are catching the most fish by numbers of any of our daily $40 trips.

Guy holding a nice mutton just caught night anchor fishing in Ft Lauderdale

Nice mutton snapper caught night anchor fishing aboard the Catch My Drift.

Sportfishing Shared and Private Charters
Our sportfishing charters are our best all around trip and they are coming in with the most impressive catches lately.  Trolling the reefs is working excellent for kingfish, blackfin tuna, bonito, barracuda and sometimes even a wahoo.  The action on the troll has made it difficult for us to switch over and do anything different.  First rule of fishing is never to leave fish to find fish.  But once we’ve caught our limit of kingfish, we often switch over just for the heck of it to try some live baiting.  This past week, sailfishing has been off-the-scale!  September is the beginning of sailfish season here in Ft Lauderdale.  This is the time of year all the big game fishermen come down to try their luck at catching the most sought after gamefish in the ocean… Sailfish.  This sailfish season started off this past week with a bang.  We had 3 days when the sailfish were jumping in the boat.  One day we caught 6, one day 8 and 4 the next.  It doesn’t get much better than that.  It tailed off a bit over the past couple days but that’s how sailfishing is… it runs in spurts.  We get a huge influx of sailfish for a couple days and they bite like crazy, and then they disappear for a few days.  We’re only a few days into sailfish season but this sailfish season looks like it is going to be epic!

Nice sailfish just caught.

Nice sailfish caught by this fisher gal on our sportfishing charter in Ft Lauderdale.

All Day Shared Sportfishing Charters
Our All Day trip is just like our regular shared sportfishing charters except that we stay out and fish for a full 8 hour day.  We catch the same stuff, just more!  One great thing about the all day trip is that with so much fishing time available to us, we can try a few different things on the trip to catch more of a variety.  It also gives us the available time to try our luck offshore if we hear there are any mahi-mahi dolphin biting.  We also have been doing some deep dropping on our 8 hour trips and catching some cool deepwater fish such as grey tilefish, golden tilefish, barrelfish, scorpion groupers and more.  With 8 hours, we have time to catch a bunch of fish trolling the reef, switch up and try for a sailfish by live baiting with the kites and hit the wrecks for some deep bottom fish.  More fishing = better.

Nice catch by these 2 on our All Day fishing trip

Nice catch of groupers, jacks and snappers on an All Day fishing trip.

Tarpon Fishing Trips
Our inshore trips have picked up a few nice tarpon this week.  We’re fishing the protected waters around the bridges and docks that line the Intracoastal Waterway.  Right now, tarpon and jack crevale are biting pretty good, along with an oddball barracuda or snook.  Tarpon can be caught day or night, but the bite is usually best for them on our night runs.  Sharks are sometimes caught on this trip at night too.  With the mullet run beginning over the next few weeks, we will have a serious influx of tarpon into our waters.  Tarpon, jack crevale, snook, barracuda, sharks and permit follow the mullet run down the coast.  This is the best time of year to go out with some light tackle and fish for these shallow water gamefish.

IMG_1648General Fishing
The fishing is good in September.  Temperatures will finally start to cool down towards the end of the month, so this is a transition month between the Summer and Fall fishing seasons.  With the mullet run coming down the coastline and sailfish season beginning, we’re catching some of our biggest fish of the year this month.  No matter which trip you choose, the potential is there for great catches.  Good luck to everyone fishing with us this week.  I’ll sea ya on the water,

Capt. Andy Roydhouse

Nice catch by these lucky anglers.

Nice catch of dolphin and wahoo on the troll, off Ft Lauderdale beach.

Crazy Good Deep Dropping Offshore Ft Lauderdale

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Golden tilefish caught by father and son

Huge golden tilefish caught deep dropping in over 600ft of water.

We’re doing a lot of deep drop fishing off Ft Lauderdale this week and we’re catching some pretty cool stuff.  With the surface water temperatures being so hot, it’s sometimes good to go deep this time of year.  Snappers and groupers are the main bottom fish that everyone knows. They are biting good around the wrecks.  Any wreck in 200+ feet of water should be holding some fish.  Our main wrecks are all in the 200-400 ft of water range.  Vermilion snapper are a deepwater snapper that we catch by dropping a chicken rig down to the bottom.  A chicken rig is a rig with 4 or 5 hooks, each tied individually in a series and each baited with a chunk of squid.  The point of the rig is to catch multiple fish on the same drop, or if the snappers are playing with and just picking at the bait, it gives you multiple chances to set the hook on the shy feeding fish.  It’s a great rig for bottom fishing and sometimes yields big numbers of fish, very quickly.   Vermilion snapper are great because they school up so if you find a spot where you catch 1 or 2, there’s probably a berry patch of them there and if you keep dropping in that area, you might catch a bunch.

Happy angler holding a nice snowy grouper

Nice snowy grouper caught deep sea fishing over a shipwreck

Groupers are also biting on the 200-400ft shipwrecks.  Black grouper, gag grouper and snowy groupers are our main deep water groupers.  They eat squid, live baits, bonito chunks or just about anything you throw down there.  They aren’t that picky of eaters, it’s just a matter of finding which spot they have congregated on.  The summer and fall months, with their calm, tranquil seas, make for great conditions to go grouper fishing with the deep drop rigs.  Warsaw grouper is another kind of grouper that sometimes bite when dropping over these same wrecks.  Warsaws are one of the largest grouper species and some of these warsaws are behemoths.  They have no predators, except perhaps for our crew, so they can grow to outrageous sizes.

Capt. Adam holding a 40+ pound golden tilefish.

Capt Adam with a monster golden tilefish caught deep dropping in 600ft of water

We do a lot of live baiting or chicken rig fishing over the wrecks on our deep sea fishing trips, but that’s only about 1% of the bottom off our coast.  There’s a lot of other areas that fish congregate on too.  If you go to the super deep stuff, you can catch some crazy fish.  Golden tilefish are a great eating gamefish species that we catch deep dropping anywhere from 500-800 ft of water.  That’s a bit too deep for hand cranking rods, so we usually use electric reels to catch them.  It takes a 10 pound + sinker just to get your bait to the bottom.  It takes a tremendous effort just to reel in the weight by hand, not to mention if you also have a fish on the other end of the line. Electric reels are the only feasible way to target these deep dwellers.  Using the electric reels, it allows us to blanket a large area with multiple drops in a more reasonable amount of time to try to find where the fish are.

Huge wreck fish in the boat caught deep dropping.

Gigantic Wreckfish caught on the bottom in 800 ft of water on our sportfishing charter.

Fishing depths of 500-800ft of water, we catch some pretty unusual stuff.  Golden tilefish are the main target, but we also catch rose perch, scorpion grouper, barrelfish, oilfish, lancetfish and sometimes fish that we can’t even identify.  These fish live deeeeeep, so some of them have some strange adaptations to their anatomy, making them very different than the regular pelagic fish that we catch.  Glow in the dark fins, strange scales, long streamers coming off their fins are a few of the strange adaptations.  There is one fish species, a barrelfish, a super deep dweller that we caught a few of this week.  They are extremely rare, I’ll be most Ft Lauderdale fishermen haven’t ever caught one.  Barrelfish excrete an oil through their skin that flat out stinks.  It smells like rotten fish.  But when you filet the fish, barrelfish are one of the best eating fish you will ever try.  Lancetfish is another odd one that look like a cross between a sailfish and a barracuda if you can imagine that.  There are some crazy fish down there, so just when you think you’ve caught everything and there’s nothing new left to catch out there, think again.

Huge barrelfish just caught from the depths.

Big barrelfish caught deep sea fishing with electric reels.

If you’re interested in a deep drop fishing trip, it’s one of our specialties.  We prefer to use the electric reels, but we’re set up for hand crank also.  Give us a call and we’ll set up a deep drop fishing charter for your group.  Good luck to everyone fishing with us this week.  The fish are out there.  Let’s go fishing!

Capt. Andy Roydhouse

Colorful box of deep dwellers caught on our deep dropping trip

Nice box full of tilefish and scorpion groupers.