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.

February Fishing in Fort Lauderdale

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February is a hit or month for fishing in Fort Lauderdale. There are a lot of fish around this month, but they move through in spurts and schools. So we get a nice flurry and some awesome trips and then we hit a lull and there it’s tough to get a bite. Fort Lauderdale has the Gulfstream current, the main reason for our great fishing just a mile off our coast. This warm water current acts as a conveyor belt for the migratory fish, ushering in new fish through our waters every day. We get tunas, mahi, barracuda, sharks, sailfish and more this month and it all depends on a million variables that change every day.

In the winter months, some of our biggest fish make their way throughout waters. Sailfish, probably the most exciting and sought after fish in the ocean, are the grand prize for game fishermen and this is one of the best months to go after them on a sportfishing charter. After February, sailfishing tails down slowly through May and June and then they are only caught once in a while until the season starts back up. So get out there now while the bite is still hot. You gotta make your ‘hay’ while the sun is shining!

Wahoo are another species that bites incredibly well this month. The best bite is concentrated on the Full and New Moons. Wahoo love the tide change, when the offshore waters flow over the reef, bringing a strong head-current toward the baitfish and washing many of them away from the protective structures of the reef. Once they get into the open, they are easy targets and wahoo can use their tremendous speed to grab them before they even know what’s happening. The tide changes with the greatest force during the Full Moon and New Moons, so it makes sense that wahoo bite the best during those days. But wahoo can be caught any time of the year and at any time of day and the only sure thing is, they always bite when you least expect it.

While wahoo are one of the biggest gamefish on the reef this month, there are plenty of other cool species to be caught too. Blackfin tunas, bonitos, kingfish, barracudas and more are all over the reefs this month too. These fish make up the majority of our action and are always a thrill to catch. The plethora of baitfish over the reef this month make for good hunting grounds for a variety of fish, most of them feeding on all the same micro-species of baitfish. So all the fish we’re trying to catch this time of year are concentrated on and just outside of the reefs. This makes trolling the reef the most effective style of fishing so you can cover a lot of territory through the most lucrative fishing grounds.

Shark season is upon us! Sharks are the biggest and baddest fish that can be caught in the ocean. They are the Apex Predators and nothing hunts them back. They are the top of the food chain and remember, it’s all about the food. Big game fishermen come from around the world to come shark fishing from February to May. It’s a great season to catch hammerhead sharks, duskys, bulls, sandbars, makos and threshers. You can catch just about any kind of shark off our coast and some of the biggest ones are 6-12ft long. If you want to fight a truly large gamefish, shark fishing charters are the ultimate catch.

It’s a helluva month for fishing in Fort Lauderdale. Good luck to everyone that is fishing with us this month. I hope you have some good luck and hook into some of the awesome gamefish that are migrating off our coast. Sea you on the water,

Capt. Andy Roydhouse