Great White Shark Catch on our Fort Lauderdale Fishing Charter

By | Offshore Reports, Sportfishing Charter Report | No Comments
great white shark on the leader next to the boat

Great White Shark next to the boat on our Fort Lauderdale fishing charter

It started out as a slow day. We were 2 hours into the trip and not a fish over 2 pounds. We caught some small bonitos and blackfin tunas earlier in the day trolling the reef, but no action was there to be had. So we switched tactics and put out a nice shark fishing spread. The big rods were deployed, 130 Penn Internationals, a reel that can handle anything. These are the reels we use for when we go shark fishing, just in case a sea monster jumps on the line. You want to have gear that can handle anything that might bite. We were glad we did.

We had two bottom baits set. The first was an 8 pound blackfin tuna we caught a day earlier. The captain wanted to take it for dinner that night but opted to save it in case bait was hard to come by the next day. Fishing had been a little tough lately with some days being very difficult to catch baits. Fishing begins with bait, remember that. So we were glad to have the blackfin and we rigged it promptly with some big hooks, heavy wire and sent it down to the depths to approximately 350ft deep. Our other bait was a fresh bonito, a bloody fish that works well as bait for almost any predatory big game fish.

Sitting there for almost an hour without so much as a nibble, we were starting to regret our decision. I guess today isn’t the day. Captain Pauly was considering switching tactics one last time to shipwreck fishing to try to catch the customers something. We hadn’t much time left in our trip, we were only out for a half day. Suddenly, without notice or a hint of foreshadowing, the deep bait rod on the left tweaked over and began screaming drag off the reel.

“Fish On!” the captain shouted as he put the boat into forward to help drive the steel hooks into the fishes jaw on the strike. This isn’t the kind of rod you can lift up and yank back on to set the hook. After a minute of driving forward, we were confident the hook was set well enough and we moved the rod over to the fighting chair. The angler was strapped in and the fight began.

We could tell right away that this wasn’t an average shark. We shark fish every day and while every shark is strong and fights hard, this fish had ‘weight behind it’ and wasn’t showing any signs of fatigue after pulling so much drag. A good captain knows, on a big fish, to pull the fish ‘with’ the current. Swimming into the current, a fish can just shoulder down and use his big pectoral fins to plane down, exerting little to no energy. Pull the fish ‘with’ the current and you force the fish to change depths, swim to the flank and even surface, just to keep the water flowing over his gills so that he can breathe. This tires the fish out with efficiency so you don’t exhaust your angler before the fish.

Well this fish was savvy to that tactic and it had the stamina of a horse. We had to change out anglers 5 times during the fight as each angler was drained after 10-20 minutes of battle. At one point during the fight, the fish flew up to the surface and breached. That’s very rare for a shark to breach the surface and leap into the air. Most sharks try to stay deep during the fight. When the shark breached we could kind of see the shape. The captain and mate looked at eachother, speechless, afraid to predict what they thought they saw. In the back of their minds though, they knew…. it was a Great White Shark.

Great whites are extremely, extremely rare. Out of the 60 or 70 fishing charter boats that operate out of Fort Lauderdale and shark fish every day, I can think of only 2 boats that have caught one (one of them is now us).

After an hour plus long fight, we finally had the fish close to the boat. When the fishes head popped up over the whitewater and we could clearly see the shape and face of the fish, our suspicions were confirmed. We had just landed a Great White Shark. Howls and shrieks of jubilation all around. This was a once-in-a-lifetime catch and everyone knew it. Of course the cameras came out at that point and we all snapped 1,000 photos per second.

The mate held the fish on the leader near to the boat and the captain ran down and put a tag into the fish. This is a research tag so that if the fish is ever caught again, we can see how far it has traveled and how much it has grown in that time span. Everyone waved goodbye and the mate cut the wire leader, leaving only one hook in the fishes upper lip. The hook will be a nice piece of jewelry for the shark for the next few months until it rusts or falls out.

Everyone aboard had a hand in catching this giant. From the captain, to the mate, to each angler on the trip, everyone helped land this bad boy. This was a catch of a lifetime for our boat, a catch that may never be matched. A catch that we will remember forever.

Thank you to everyone who fished with us. Good luck to everyone fishing in these coming weeks. There are some sea monsters biting on our Fort Lauderdale fishing charters this week. Let’s go fishing!

Capt. Andy Roydhouse



Fort Lauderdale Fishing Report

By | Drift Fishing Reports, Offshore Reports, Sportfishing Charter Report | No Comments
Mahi-mahi dolphin being held on the gaff, girl kissing captain holding it

Nice dolphin caught on our Ft Lauderdale fishing charter.

The fishing this month continues to be great on our Fort Lauderdale fishing charters.  Action on mahi-mahi perked up a bit after a long dry spell.  Mahi-mahi are a great eating fish that school up, so when you find them, you can catch a bunch of them.  They are usually found way offshore, isolated into small pockets of fish in an otherwise barren zone, so it takes a long time of trolling around looking for them to catch them.  But this week, they have come in closer, on the inside edge of the Gulfstream current where we are normally fishing anyway for just about every other fish in the ocean.  It’s great when we are catching tunas, kingfish and wahoo and then bammo!  We hit a school of mahi-mahi.  I love it when a plan comes together.

Capt Bobby holding a 50 pound wahoo in the boat with the happy angler who caught it. Beautiful sky in the background amidst a choppy ocean.

Nice wahoo caught by this lucky angler. What a catch!

Wahoo are another fish that is hitting the docks this month.  These are the fastest fish in the ocean and when they hit, the are known for ‘smoking’ the line off the reel for the first minute or two on the hook.  You almost always know it’s a wahoo when it hits, just by the sheer force that they take their initial run.  We catch them especially good around both the New and Full moons.  This is because this is when the tides have their strongest flows.  When the tide flows in or out over the reef, it carries with it a lot of baitfish in a vulnerable way, making easy pickings for wahoo to grab a quick meal.  October, November and December are all great months for fishing wahoo on the moon.

Bobby and couple on vacation posing with their huge kingfish, just caught offshore Ft Lauderdale beach

Huge kingfish caught by this lucky couple on a deep sea fishing charter.

Giant kingfish are also being caught on our drift fishing and sportfishing charters.  Average size for kingfish (usually 5-10 pounds) is increasing daily this time of year.  I would say the average size kings are now 8-15 pounders and of course, a few of the humongous smoker kingfish are being caught even now and then too.  A few days ago, we caught this 65 pound kingfish while live bait fishing the Fort Lauderdale reef.  It’s great to see these giant fish moving through our waters.  The mullet run, which just ended brought a lot of these big fish through as well.  It’s the circle of life out here and every time of year offers different species, possibilities and advantages.

Ryan holding a pair of mutton snappers up while aboard the Catch My Drift with the Bahia Mar marina and yachts in the background

Ryan with a nice pair of mutton snappers caught aboard the Catch My Drift.

Drift fishing on our day and night fishing trips are producing great catches of snappers.  Mangrove and mutton snappers are the main catches on our daytime trips and then the yellowtails come out at night.  The yellowtails are snapping at night, and they are big.  Once we get into December and January, the size of the yellowtails goes way down, but they are still big for a couple more months.  Yellowtails are really easy to catch, you just have to give it some time for the chum to start working.  It can take almost an hour for the fish to find you through the chum slick you put out, but once they do, it’s like fishing in a barrel. Daytime is different, where we drift over an area and cover a lot of ground.  This is the ideal way to get mutton snappers on a streamline ballyhoo bait rigged on a long leader.  Mutton snappers are our bigger snappers and they are biting really good on our morning and afternoon drift fishing trips.

Our fish box, full of snappers, grunts, porgies, yellowtail and muttons all piled high.

Nice catch of snappers and other reef fish on our night anchor trip aboard the Catch My Drift.

Our drift boat is also catching good amounts of porgies, groupers, grunts, jacks, and triggerfish.  We catch these fish on almost every trip, mixed in with our main targets which are all the snapper species (mangrove, mutton, yellowtail, lane, mahogany, blackfin, yelloweye, silver and vermillion snappers).  Variety is the ‘spice of life’ and you get that in spades on our party boat fishing trips.

Adolescent boy holding a nice snook he just caught aboard the boat just around sunset on an inshore fishing charter with Port Everglades in the background.

Nice snook caught by this young fisherman on our inshore fishing charter.

Inshore fishing is getting better and better every week this time of year as well.  Snook are biting especially good, especially in the late afternoons and into the evenings.  Tarpon, a light tackle, inshore gamefish, are biting decently right now.  A few were caught this week.  They are always elusive fish because they have such a bony mouth, which makes it hard to get a good hook-set.  And they jump with such strength, shaking their heads side to side violently, to shake the hooks, it makes for a very challenging fish to successfully land.  If it were easy, everyone would be doing it!  I love tarpon fishing charters just because they are such a challenge to get to the boat.  Jack crevales, sharks, snapper and grouper bite on our inshore fishing charters too, depending on the night and our fishing technique on that particular trip.

Ryan holding a big mutton snapper he just caught fishing aboard the Catch My Drift with a beautiful ocean and sky in the background.

Ryan caught this big mutton snapper on a party boat fishing trip aboard the Catch My Drift

Good action all around for most of our Ft Lauderdale fishing trips this time of year.  We have our slow trips too from time to time, but the majority of trips are pretty good catches with some banner, epic days mixed in as well.  You can’t go wrong fishing south Florida this time of year.  The variety is good, action is good, chances at greatness are good and any day you get to go fishing is a good day.  Good luck to everyone fishing this month.  Tight lines and I’ll sea ya on the water!

Capt. Andy Roydhouse

Awesome and I Mean Awesome Wreck Fishing in Ft. Lauderdale

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Dave holding a big cubera snapper caught on our Fort Lauderdale deep sea fishing trip.

Wow!!! What an awesome day of wreck fishing. The spring is the best season of the year for bottom fishing around the wrecks. Big fish such as amberjacks, grouper, snapper, cobia and more, congregate around the wrecks to pick off the easy meals that swim around our 200-300ft deep shipwrecks. With all the increased activity around the wrecks this time of year, the fish get very, very aggressive. Yesterday we have an abnormally awesome day of wreck fishing. Read below…

We started the morning catching some kingfish and bonitos around the reef. We also caught a bunch of small bonitos that we saved in our live well to be used later in our wreck fishing endeavor. We have an extra large live well on the boat, large enough to keep 5-10 bonitos alive. Later in the trip, we went to a couple of our secret wrecks. First drop was a big amberjack. We didn’t have to wait but a moment for the bite so we decided to hit it again. We only drop one bait at a time when we are wreck fishing because targeting these tiny wrecks requires you to be mobile and spin the boat around and drift. If we drop more than 1 bait, we would get tangles and it would be counter productive.

On the second drop, we got another instant bite. It was different than an amberjack this time. Thump, thump, thump. The fish was jerking in an odd manner. I immediately thought grouper. ‘You got a grouper on the line this time!!’, I said to the angler. When the fish got close to the surface, and we could first see the colors, the colors looked odd. It had a reddish hue. We don’t see that often except for mutton snappers on the rare time we catch a mutton when deep dropping on the wreck. When the fish surfaced, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was a Cubera snapper. I’ve been fishing my whole life out here in Fort Lauderdale and I have only caught a handful of these, ever.

Cubera snapper being held with the rig still in his mouth.

We were seriously stoked by this catch so of course, we had to do another drop. This drop also got an insta-bite as soon as the bait hit the bottom. Again, I felt thump, thump, thump. I couldn’t help but scream, ‘Its another one!!’. We got this fish up to the surface and we saw the bronze color of the fish. A big black grouper. This was a very lucky black grouper because they are out of season for another 20+ days. Any other time of year and it would have been a dead black grouper. We got pics of the bottom fish together and then released him. We did a few other drops at the same spot but never got another bite.

A couple of happy anglers holding a Cubera snapper and a black grouper aboard the boat with Dave in the background pointing at the fish.

On the afternoon run, we decided to do the same thing. We had some girls on the boat doing a bachelorette party. They all came dressed in t-shirts that read, “Master Baiter”. LOL, they were a fun group of gals. We loaded the well up with some small bonitos and trolled to our first spot. We decided to go to a different spot on the afternoon trip. Catching a few larger bonitos, kings and a mahi-mahi on the way, we eventually got to the wreck and did our first drop. We hooked into a big amberjack almost immediately on the first drop. I told you, these fish get very aggressive this time of year. They don’t let a bait just sit there or it will get stolen by a more aggressive fish.

A very happy gal holding a 40 pound amberjack during her deep sea fishing charter

With such a quick bite, of course we would do a second drop. On the second drop, we got another instant bite. Again, I felt the THUMP, THUMP, THUMP… I would normally be confident in pre-catch calling it a grouper, but I was beginning to doubt myself today. As we reeled the fish up to the top, when the fishes color began to show, I saw the reddish hue and I couldn’t help but yell, “You’re not going to believe this cap’!” The fish breached the surface and sure enough, it was another Cubera Snapper, our second one of the day. From my early childhood days, ever since I caught by first one of these, I have been enthralled with these fish. We spend so many days out here snapper fishing. Snappers are generally small fish in the 1-2 pound range. We get some bigger ones sometimes, but Cubera snappers are 30-40 pounds. This one was a healthy 30 pounder. I couldn’t believe we caught a second one today, it was just plain awesome.

Awesome catch of a Cubera Snapper.  Dave helping the lady angler hold it up at sea.

The gals were ecstatic too and we got a ton of pictures. The gals in their Master Baiter shirts was just classic. That’s how the fishing is this time of year. You can catch just about anything out here. I mean, we still have slow days of fishing from time to time. But we have a lot higher percentage of fishing charters that come in with some pretty awesome catches too. Good luck to everyone fishing with us this month. I’ll sea ya on the water!

Capt. Andy Roydhouse
Master Baiter Girls holding up the amberjack and the Cubera Snapper at the dock.
A fisher gal holding up the Cubera Snapper about to give it a big kiss.