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.

Mixed Bag of Fish on our Drift and Sport Fishing Trips

By | Drift Fishing Reports, Offshore Reports, Sportfishing Charter Report | No Comments
Dolphin and wahoo caught on our sportfish charter

Nice dolphin and wahoo caught trolling the Ft Lauderdale reef

Nice catches this week on our drift and sport fishing charters.  The action on the reef is red hot.  Kingfish and tunas are biting really good and there are still some bonitos around as well.  Summer is always the best season of the year for action in Ft Lauderdale.  The bonito run , although starting to slow down a bit, has rejuvenated the abundance of fish on the reef.  Every year, bonitos make a huge migration down our coastline in unimaginable numbers.  Hundreds of thousands of bonitos flow into our reefs over the months of June through August.  They bring with them tons of other species that travel with and feed on those bonitos.  It really lights up our fishing and brings a lot of new fish into our waters.

Nice catch by this group on their Ft Lauderdale vacation

Nice wahoo with some bonitos and kingfish caught by this group on our sportfishing charter

Trolling is the best technique this time of year for catching the most fish.  Our sportfishing charters are concentrating on trolling the reef.  Main catches this month are kingfish, bonitos and blackfin tunas.  Blackfin tunas are biting particularly well.  We’re catching them on dusters and natural feather baits.  Blackfin tunas school up into large groups of fish.  They are pretty easy to find.  We spot them breaking the water when they are balling up schools of smaller baitfish.  Most of them are football sized tunas, in the 5-10 pound range and sometimes a monster 30+ pounder.  They all travel with the bonitos.  Bonitos are actually tunas too.  In fact, their true name is little tuny.  Blackfin tunas are great eating (sushi, fish tacos, etc…), but bonitos are not.  Bonitos are too muscular with too much blood to make them a good eating fish so they are a gamefish.  They are one of the strongest fighting fish in the ocean pound for pound.

Bonitos, tunas and kingfish caught trolling the Ft Lauderdale reef

Nice catch of blackfin tunas, kingfish and bonitos on this sportfishing charter

Since we are spending a good amount of our sportfishing charters trolling, we’re also finding a few really big wahoo and barracudas.  Wahoo bite best on the tide change especially right as the high tide reaches its peak and begins to recede.  This is the witching hour for wahoo.  The tide change is usually strongest on the full and new moons, making those days the best bet for wahoo.  Barracuda and sailfish are two kinds of big game fish that are also possibilities to catch on our sportfishing charters.  Although not the best time of year to catch sailfish (winter is the best season), there are some around this time of year… we’ve caught several this week.

Nice sailfish caught by this lady angler in Ft Lauderdale

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

For our drift fishing trips, snappers are biting very good.  There are some big mangroves and a few mutton snappers biting on the day trips.  A few keeper sized red groupers were caught over the past couple days.  Lots of porgies are biting too and the usual catches of grunts, triggers and small jacks.  Night trips are catching good numbers of yellowtail snappers and keeper mangroves.  We sometimes get a mutton snapper or two on our night anchor trips as well.  Basically, we’re getting into the bigger snappers during the day trips and higher numbers of snappers (although smaller) on the night trips.  Day trips are also getting a random kingfish or blackfin tuna while drift fishing as well.  All in all, mostly good days this month fishing our drift boat trips.

Capt Billy holding a mutton and grouper aboard the Catch My Drift

Nice mutton snapper and red grouper caught drift fishing in Ft Lauderdale

This is an excellent month to get out there and come fishing.  We have availability on most of our trips this upcoming week, so give us a call and Let’s Go Fishing!  I’ll sea ya on the water,

Capt. Andy Roydhouse

Nice mutton snapper caught on our night fishing trip

Ira with a nice mutton snapper caught night anchor fishing aboard Catch My Drift

Loads of Fish, Lots of Action on the Ft Lauderdale Reef

By | Drift Fishing Reports, Offshore Reports, Sportfishing Charter Report | No Comments
Kunta and Butch with a nice catch of snappers and bonitos at the dock in Ft Lauderdale

Nice catch of snappers and bonitos on our drift fishing trip.

Great action this week on the Fort Lauderdale reef.  Bonitos, a gamefish species of tuna (non-edible) are solid on our reefs right now as they are embarking on their annual migration down our coastline.  Bonitos are in the tuna family and are one of the strongest fish pound for pound in the ocean.  Every summer, hundreds of thousands of bonitos make their way northward along our reefs, feeding on the plenitude of small baitfishes.  This annual event gets the action on our reefs HOT and creates the best fishing season for general action in south Florida.  Lots of other pelagic fish species migrate among the bonitos, taking full advantage of the school’s protection and hunting advantages.

Happy anglers holding up their drift fishing catch at the dock.

Great snapper & Bonito catch on our drift fishing trip

Our drift fishing trips are getting into the snappers, bonitos and kingfish pretty good.  Afternoon trips have been slightly better than the mornings as the low pressure of the afternoon passing showers gets the fish biting.  Mangrove and mutton snappers are biting extremely well this week. Maybe it is just a fluke, but better than average numbers of the bigger snappers are being caught on our drift boat this week.  For bigger game fishermen, instead of the standard bottom fishing rig, ask the mate to rig you up with the kingfish rig.  This rig is a 3 hook rig where each sequential hook is hooked into the eye of the next and all hooks are put into a larger, whole bait.  This is a good rig for catching kingfish, bonito, blackfin tuna, barracuda and even a possible wahoo.  While you won’t get much action on this rig, at least not as much action as fishing the bottom rig, it gives you the chance to catch a larger pelagic fish.  Some guys call this rig the ‘hero or zero’ rig.

Nice bonito caught trolling the reef.

Nice bonito caught on our sportfish trip. Bonitos get all the activity on the reef going this time of year.

Sportfishing action is red hot in Fort Lauderdale this week.  Trolling is the all around best technique for catching fish on the reef.  With the plethora of fish on our reefs this month, the fishing action is off-the-chain.  Bonitos are making up the majority of our catch.  They are biting the best and they are the most aggressive, so we catch them the most.  Bonitos average 10-20 pounds and are one of the strongest fighting fish in the ocean, even on heavy tackle.  Second in line for numbers of fish are kingfish, which are fairly abundant on the reefs this month.  Kingfish are a great eating fish if you are able to eat them fresh.  Kingfish average from 5-20 pounds and the smaller ones make for the best eating.  Blackfin tunas are also abundant on our reefs this month.  Most of the blackfin tunas are smaller fish, about the size of a football.  They do sometimes get big, all the way up to 30+ pounds.  Tunas are so good eating you can even eat them raw!  Wahoo are a longshot possibility this month.  We catch them when we are trolling the reefs and catching bonitos.  When you’re wiring in your fish and you think you’ve hooked into another big bonito, up pops a monster wahoo.  They always bite when you least expect it.  Don’t forget if you catch one, to shout at the top of your lungs, “Waaahooooo!”.

Capt. Chuck holding a nice dolphin

Nice dolphin caught trolling offshore Ft Lauderdale

Offshore the dolphin are biting, but they are sporadic.  You have to go looking for them and put in your miles.  Even then, it’s not a sure thing to find them.  Dolphin typically bite between 4-6 miles offshore, but can be as far offshore at 10-15 miles out on some days.  You just have to go out looking for them and hope you find something good to fish along such as a weedline, birds, floating debris, or something.  It’s a big ocean offshore and luck is a much larger percentage than skill when it comes to dolphin fishing.  Even with trolling a full day offshore, success isn’t guaranteed with dolphin.  But you can also find a school of fish in your first 15 minutes of fishing and load your entire fishbox from that one school.  Dolphin will generally eat just about anything you throw at them so, it’s all boat meets fish when fishing for dolphin offshore of Fort Lauderdale.

Nice snapper caught by young lady angler

Nice mutton snapper caught this fisher gal on our drift fishing trip.

With the sheer amount of fish we’re catching on the reefs of Fort Lauderdale, there’s not much reason to try anything other than drift fishing or trolling.  As my dad always told me, “Never leave fish to go try to find fish”.  Good luck to everyone fishing off Fort Lauderdale this week.  I’ll sea ya on the water.

Capt. Andy Roydhouse

Nice catch with lots of tunas laying on the boat's deck

Nice catch with lots of tunas on a sportfishing trip out of Ft Lauderdale.