Reefs and Wrecks Holding Big Fish in Fort Lauderdale

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Capt Rod and Mick posing with a black grouper at the marina.

Nice black grouper caught deep dropping on a shipwreck during our sportfishing charter.

The Fort Lauderdale reefs and wrecks are holding some nice fish this week.  First off, the wrecks are working great.  In years past, Fort Lauderdale was involved in the Artificial Reef Program and sank dozens of large, retired vessels to make good habitat for fish.  Shallow spots were great for divers, creating a fun location to dive and view fish.  Deeper wrecks in the 200-300ft range, made good spots for fishermen to target deep dwelling bottom fish.  We’ve perfected our technique for fishing shipwrecks.  Using live baits, we can target a specific structure (like a big sunken shipwreck) to go after big game fish.  We drop a single live bait to the bottom and allow the current to carry our boat and bait over, along and past the sunken structure.  This is a fast, efficient way to go after amberjacks, almaco jacks, several species of large groupers and cobia.  We catch other species at times too such as barracuda, sharks and snapper.  Wreck fishing is a great technique this time of year to catch some of the biggest and hardest fighting fish available in our waters.

Nice tuna and bonito just caught trolling the Ft Lauderdale reef.

Nice blackfin tuna and bonito caught fishing the Fort Lauderdale reef.

Reefs are beginning to hold a lot of fish.  Tunas are scattered all over the reefs these days.  Most of them are smaller tunas, football size on average, but there is no size limit on tunas and they are numerous.  A few larger blackfin tunas are also mixed into these same tuna schools so you never know how big of a tuna you might catch when trolling the reef.  Kingfish are biting stronger and stronger everyday.  Summertime is kingfish season here in south Florida.  It’s not the time for the lonely smoker kingfish but rather the time for lots of medium sized ones.  The best bet to target kingfish is trolling the reefs, covering as much ground as you can, and sticking to whatever depth or zone is giving you the best action.  The depth/area of greatest concentration of kingfish is generally where the best concentration of all the other fish too.  Bonitos are starting to show up.  In another month, they will be so solid on the reef that you can walk on them.  Bonitos will hang right in there with the kingfish and tunas.  Wahoo, although less common, are also a possibility when trolling the reef, which is the best method to target wahoo as well.  Basically, the action on the reef in the summer is as hot as the weather.

Exhausted angler holding a big amberjack just brought up from the deep

Nice amberjack just fought up from the bottom by this exhausted angler

There’s good variety on both the reefs and wrecks this month.  If you’re after mahi-mahi, you have a chance to catch them if you go offshore and look for them.  They can be hard to find and we come back skunked sometimes if we put all our eggs into one basket and head offshore for the long shot.  Mahi-mahi are around this month but they are hit or miss.  You have to put in your time looking for them and then you have to get lucky and actually find them.  For dedicated anglers that are solely after mahi-mahi, they are exciting and awesome to find.  It’s just with so much action on the reefs and wrecks, its hard to leave high percentage fish to go try to look for low percentage fish.  For those willing to go for the gusto, it does sometimes pay off.  A few good dolphin catches have been caught this week.

Nice mahi caught on our sportfishing charter.

Lucky angler with a nice mahi-mahi caught on an offshore sportfishing charter.

There are fish biting in Ft Lauderdale on all our different fishing trips.  Drift fishing trips are a fun, inexpensive way to get out on the water and go after snappers, groupers, jacks and other small bottom fish.  Sportfishing charters sacrifice action in order to catch larger size gamefish and trophy sharks.  Our 8 hour shared charter gives us a lot of time to try a variety of different fishing techniques which can lead to a diverse catch of many different species (some really big ones).  This is a GREAT month to go fishing in south Florida.  Good luck to all the anglers fishing with us this week.  I’ll sea ya on the water.

Capt. Andy Roydhouse

Nice mahi caught trolling offshore Ft Lauderdale.

Someone is eating mahi for dinner tonight. Nice mahi catch on our sportfish charter.

Deep Sea Fishing in Fort Lauderdale

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Nice big dolphin caught sportfishing in Ft Lauderdale.

Big dolphin caught on our sportfishing charter in Fort Lauderdale.

Some big fish were caught this week fishing the waters of Fort Lauderdale.  A few lucky anglers caught big mahi-mahi on some of our charters.  This is the last good month we have of good mahi-mahi fishing for a few months.  They aren’t biting as well as they were in April where you could find them without even looking, but they are still out there and they can be found.  Sometimes in June, the dolphins form up into massive schools of fish offshore.  It might take 6 hours of trolling to find them, but when you do, it’s like finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  Of you can troll for hundreds of miles without finding a fish.  Offshore dolphin fishing is like roaming a desert and finding a school of dolphin is like finding an oasis in the middle of that desert.  For dolphin, you have to put in your time so for the best bet, try our 8hr All Day Fishing Trip.

Nice tuna and kingfish just caught

Nice tuna and kingfish caught trolling off the Ft Lauderdale coast

The best bet these days for good fishing action is trolling the reef.  Trolling the reefs you can catch kingfish, blackfin tuna, bonito, barracuda and more.  If you’re really lucky, you might hit a wahoo or even a rare sailfish.  Trolling the reef is effective because you can troll over and cover a lot of ground.  If you find a depth or zone that is producing fish, you can ‘work the area’ leading to even more action.  This can lead to a boxful of fish if the fish are being cooperative.  June through September is reef trolling season in Fort Lauderdale and the action gets really hot.

Happy anglers holding a nice catch of snappers caught drift fishing aboard the Catch My Drift

Nice catch of snappers on our afternoon drift fishing trip in Ft Lauderdale.

Drift fishing on the reefs is great fun too.  June through September is when our drift fishing boat really shines.  First off, there is surface and mid-depth action.  This is the time of year you can go out on the drift boat and actually have a good chance at catching a big kingfish or blackfin tuna.  Ask the deckhand to rig you with the “hero or zero” rig, not the standard bottom rig in order to catch these upper water column, larger fish.  This rig gives you a good chance at catching something big, but lessens your chances at catching anything at all.  So for most anglers, I recommend the bottom fishing rig to go after snappers… and June is one fine month for snapper fishing in Fort Lauderdale.  Mangrove and mutton snappers spawn on and around the nights of the full moons in June through September.  They get really aggressive and and throw caution to the wind to bulk up for spawning.  We catch them better during these months than throughout the entire rest of the year.  Snappers bite best later in the day so I recommend the afternoon drift trip or the night anchor trip for the best success.

Nice cobia caught drift fishing by Alex.

Nice cobia caught drift fishing aboard the Catch My Drift

On drift fishing trips, we catch the full spectrum of bottom fish from grunts and porkfish to sharks and groupers.  The action on the bottom is pretty good.  Most of these fish are pan sized, but almost all are good eating.  Groupers are a possibility and they sometimes get big!  Cobia are another big fish that frequently bites on our drift fishing trips.  There are always a few around, they follow sea turtles around and other slow moving sea creatures.  They bite sporadically when you least expect it, but this is a good time of year when there are more of them around, so you always have a chance.  There’s a good variety of good fish biting on all our trips this month.  Good luck to everyone fishing south Florida this week.  I’ll sea ya on the water.

Capt. Paul Roydhouse

Guy holding a black grouper in the boat.

Nice black grouper caught deep dropping in Ft Lauderdale.

Good Deep Sea Fishing in Fort Lauderdale

By | Drift Fishing Reports, Offshore Reports, Sportfishing Charter Report | No Comments
Lots of dplphin caught on our sportfishing charter

Nice catch of dolphin on our sportfishing charter in Fort Lauderdale.

It’s been a mixed bag on the reef this week.  Tunas are biting strong on our sportfishing charters where we troll with natural feathers and rigged baits.  Snappers are biting pretty good on our drift fishing trips and night anchor fishing excursions.  We’ve had a few banner days this week and couple tough ones.  May and June are great months for snapper fishing, which is what we’re targeting on our daily drift fishing trips.  Yellowtails are biting in decent numbers, some really, really nice mangrove snappers are around and biting this month and some respectable catches of mutton snappers too.  I would say the general rule is that the larger snappers bite during the day and the numbers of them are being caught at night.  Groupers are out there and biting too.  We’re getting into quite a few of the small rock hind and strawberry groupers and a few of the larger reef groupers… reds, blacks and gags.  A lot of the groupers we catch are an inch or two short of keeper size but a few nice keepers are being caught on our drift fishing trips, especially during the day.

Kid with monster kingfish caught on sportfishing charter

Huge kingfish caught sportfishing in Ft Lauderdale with kids.

Sportfishing boats are catching most of their fish on the troll.  Trolling natural feathers and rigged ballyhoo is generally good for the tunas that are showing up on the reef.  If you’re lucky, you may hook into a mahi-mahi or wahoo on the troll as well.  Kingfish are biting good trolling the reef too, with some bonitos mixed in.  Trolling has been the magic ticket for catching fish on our sportfishing charters.  It allows you to cover the most territory out there and try different depths and zones.  Live baiting may start working a bit better this week with the wind picking up.  Last week, we had very light winds if any.  The past couple days we’ve had a stiff breeze.  This may make for good kite fishing conditions.

Nice pair of muttons caught drift fishing aboard the Catch My Drift

Nice pair of mutton snappers caught on our drift fishing trip.

Wrecks are holding some nice fish.  The jacks are very aggressive this time of year.  Big amberjacks and almaco jacks are congregated around the wrecks this time of year.  They are very aggressive, especially with live baits, and they get big, very big and they are strong.  Jacks are one of our best gamefish that will give an angler an awesome fight, even on heavy tackle.  Also, there are some very big groupers around the wrecks this time of year and you never know when one of them is going to bite.  Cobias too, are a possibility, another big game fish we catch around the shipwrecks.  And sharks, you never know what you may catch around our 200-300ft deep shipwrecks.

nice warsaw grouper just pulled up off the bottom

Nice warsaw grouper caught deep dropping on our deep shipwrecks.

There’s a good variety biting on our Fort Lauderdale fishing trips.  The months of May and June have a good majority of good trips with good action and some big fish.   Summer months are good, but this is the end of the best time of year to catch our biggest game fish.  Come out on a fishing charter with us and let us show you why we are the best fishermen in Fort Lauderdale.  Let’s go fishing!

Capt. Andy Roydhouse