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They’re Here! Dolphin Run Is Happening in Ft Lauderdale

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Nice dolphin just caught off Fort Lauderdale

Beauty of a dolphin caught sportfishing in Fort Lauderdale

It happens every year.  Whenever we get a strong easterly wind in March, the dolphin fishing action heats up in Fort Lauderdale.  Dolphin come right in on the reef to do their annual spawn.  These dolphin, normally an offshore fish, are being caught inshore of 300ft of water, just outside the reef.  While there are some schoolies mixed in, many of the dolphin we’re catching right now are nice size ones, 10-20 pounders.  This is the all-around best time of year for dolphin fishing.  It usually lasts anywhere from a couple weeks to a month and a half, depending on how long we get the strong winds out of the east.

Nice dolphin just boated

Nice dolphin just boated on a Fort Lauderdale fishing trip

Dolphin fishing is awesome but they aren’t the only fish in the sea.  This is also a great time for sailfish fishing, pretty much the same waters where we’re catching the dolphin.  Sailfish feed on the same baitfish and swim in the same water column as dolphin do, so we catch both species doing the same fishing techniques.  Kite fishing and trolling are the best fishing techniques to target these surface feeding gamefish.  This week, the sailfishing has been going off, especially in the afternoons.

Nice sailfish jumping next to the boat

One of 2 sailfish caught today on the Mary B III

Wahoo, tuna and kingfish are also biting pretty good on the reef.  This time of year, just about everything is biting.  Trolling is especially good this season because the boat is moving and you can cover a lot of territory.

Nice kingfish caught in the late afternoon

Nice kingfish caught in the late afternoon off the coast of Ft Lauderdale

Wreck fishing is also great this time of year because of the amberjacks.  Big amberjacks stack up around the shipwrecks in 200-300ft of water.  The wrecks are a great source of food with the numerous schools of baitfish that also make these shipwrecks their home.  Amberjacks are tremendous fighters.  They are extremely fun to catch as they put up one helluva fight.  Groupers are around the wrecks too, but unfortunately, if you catch one, you have to throw it back.  Groupers are out of season until May 1.  Fortunately with all the dolphin action, sailfish around and amberjacks around the wrecks, there’s plenty of fish to keep an angler busy.  Good luck to everyone fishing this week.

Nice tuna fish caught trolling

Nice tuna caught trolling in 200ft of water in Ft Lauderdale

Sailfish and Wahoo fishing action is heating up in Fort Lauderdale

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wahoo and tunas

Wahoos and Tunas are biting great on the Fort Lauderdale reef

The wahoo and sailfish bite is on fire off the coast of Fort Lauderdale this week.  Wahoos are biting right on the reef in as shallow as 80 feet of water.  Sailfish too are making a strong surge in their numbers, with our boats averaging 2-3 per day.  This is to be expected in February.  As the fronts move through and the barometer drops, the fishing action heats up.  Wahoo are biting best on the troll and are slamming the deep baits.  Wire leaders are a must as those razor sharp teeth will cut through anything not made of steel.  We’re also catching a few wahoo live baiting, either out of the kites or slow trolling live baits from of the outriggers.  The numbers of wahoo we’re catching on our sportfishing charters this year is extraordinary.

Sailfish catch and release

Nice sailfish caught and released on our sportfishing charter

Sailfish action remains strong through the depths of 90-150ft of water, also known as “Sailfish Alley”.  Kite fishing is the most effective method to catch sailfish and they are eating goggle eyes, pilchards and mullet baits the best.  Trolling can also be effective for sailfish, as you cover much more water when trolling, but kite fishing is still the best.  The cooler weather coming this week should get them even more stirred up.  February is traditionally the last really good month on sailfish here in Fort Lauderdale and it looks like February is going to finish off an already great season with a bang.

Nice wahoo

Nice wahoo caught trolling in Ft Lauderdale on a charter

Tunas, kingfish and mahi-mahi are also patrolling the reef and add a little variety to our catches these days.  Look forward to some awesome mahi-mahi fishing towards the end of the month and into March.  Last year was outstanding mahi-mahi fishing as the mahi-mahi came into 100-300ft of water during any easterly wind.  Tunas are mostly small, but they school up and we catch a lot of them when we find a school.  Sometimes bigger tunas are mixed in with the small tunas and will make a fatal mistake of taking our baits.  They all taste good!

amberjack

Nice amberjack just caught deep dropping on a shipwreck

Wreck fishing for amberjacks is also starting to get good.  During the spring months, the amberjacks school up in the wrecks so thick that you can hardly get a bait down to the bottom.  They are already starting to make their presence known and are getting more and more aggressive when fishing around our local wrecks.  Groupers, out of season now, are also biting good.  Fun to catch and it hurt to have to throw back such a tasty fish.  I’ve been seeing more and more groupers since the grouper season took effect so the regulations they are making are working.  We’re stocking up for the rest of the year, so book your grouper charters now (anytime after May 1).

Nice red grouper just caught fishing over a shipwreck

Nice red grouper caught by these ladies fishing atop a wreck

Shark fishing season is also getting underway.  February is the start of our shark fishing season where thousands upon thousands of hammerhead sharks make their migration down our coastline.  This is our Big Game fishing season here in Fort Lauderdale and we’re beginning to catch our first few of the year now.  Shark season lasts well into June and sometimes through as late as August.  March through May are the peak months.  Good luck to everyone fishing out there over the next couple weeks.  You have plenty of fish to keep yourself busy with reeling in!

Big spinner shark next to the boat

Nice spinner shark right next to the boat on a shark fishing charter

Great Fishing in Ft Lauderdale This Week

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12 pound Snowy grouper

Nice snowy grouper caught deep sea fishing in Ft Lauderdale 475ft deep

The fishing is great in Ft Lauderdale this week!  There is a lot of action on the reefs with plenty of bonitos and kingfish around.  We’re catching these on both our drift fishing trips and our sportfishing charters.  We’re also getting a lot of nice fish off the bottom this week.  Some big groupers are biting out deep and the snapper bite is hot.  In shallow, approximately 40-100ft of water, mangrove snapper, muttons and black groupers are active.  Out deeper, in 300+ feet of water, the vermillion snapper are chomping and there are a few nicer groupers around too, warsaws and snowys.

Nice kingfish caught drift fishing aboard Catch My Drift

Nice kingfish caught while drift fishing on the Catch My Drift

The fishing action in Ft Lauderdale in August is always good.  Bonitos, a fish in the tuna family, make their annual migration down our coastline in massive schools this month and next.  They run in schools, tearing up any baitfish they come across.  Kingfish, blackfin tuna and wahoo are swimming right with these bonito schools, competing over the same schools of baitfish.  The aggressiveness of the bonito schools make all the other fish more aggressive too, so you can hook into some pretty large and exotic gamefish this time of year.

mutton snapper caught night fishing in Ft Lauderdale

Nice mutton snapper just caught on the night anchor trip aboard the Catch My Drift

Snappers and groupers bite great in the late summer, especially at night.  While we catch our fair share of snapper and grouper during the day, at night the snappers come out of the woodwork to feed and the bite goes off!  Yellowtails, mangroves and mutton snappers are biting excellent.  The best technique for targeting snapper at night is to anchor the boat and chum the water.  This draws the snappers and all the other reef fish close to the boat where we can drop to the bottom and catch them.  A lot of sharks, some kingfish and the occasional cobia also bite on our night trips.

Nice mutton snapper caught aboard the Mary B III

Nice mutton snapper caught aboard the Mary B III by this young angler

The fishing is good in Ft Lauderdale.  If you’re coming on the drift fishing trips, I recommend morning for kingfish and bonitos, afternoons for tuna, snapper and grouper and nights for pure snapper fishing.  On the sportfishing charters, afternoon fishing has been slightly better with the tuna and wahoos biting better at that time of day.  Call me anytime if you have any fishing questions.  Good luck to everyone fishing this week, I’ll sea ya on the water.