Drift Fishing Report
The drift fishing on the reef lately has been a mix of kingfish and snappers. Kingfish, averaging 6-10 pounds, are biting well on the morning and afternoon trips. They’ve been biting on sardines the best, at least the bigger ones have been. The bite has been in 80-120′ of water and most of our fish have been caught just south of the inlet on the outside edge of the reef. Snappers too are being caught on our drift fishing trips. Those fishermen fishing bottom rigs are catching yellowtail snappers fairly well and the occassional bigger mutton snapper.
A fish we don’t get everyday out there, cobia, are starting to bite out there too. Cobia are traditionally a bottom dweller, that actually make their living by following around sting rays. A school of cobia will follow behind a big sting ray and watch for it to uncover a crab or fish or shrimp that was hiding in the sand. As soon as they see it, they gobble it up. You can catch a cobia on the surface also. Cobias might like to follow sting rays to get food, but The Stingray Buffet is hardly the only fast food restaurant in the ocean. Cobia will occassionally rise to the surface to grab a quick snack.
A lot of the cobia we catch on the surface are alone and when we catch them around stingrays or on the bottom, they are usually in schools. On one of our drift fishing trips the other day, we were fishing the reef when a customer yells out, “Shark on the surface”. Capt. Vic took a quick glance and shouted back, “Cobia! Cobia!”. It was a mad casting frenzy, but before anyone could throw their line towards the fish, the cobia swam right over to the sardine closest to him and ate. It was a nice cobia, about a 35 pounder, and we caught him in only about 4 or 5 minutes. Nice fish caught aboard the Catch My Drift.
We’ve mainly been catching kingfish, snapper, grouper, cobia, and a few tunas on the drift boat trips. It’s been great on some days and slower on others, but we always bring back fish. Night fishing has been great snapper fishing. I’m going to write a night fishing report tommorrow.
The sailfish bite is still on, and I think this is the second cold front of the year. Sailfish love the cold weather and whenever we get a cold spell, the sailfish always snap. The next few days should be some awesome sailfish fishing in South Florida. One of our boats, the Keeping it Reel, has caught a sailfish on every single charter this week. Sailfish are biting while kite fishing with live baits and trolling artificial lures. When the sailfish are biting trolling baits, I usually just assume troll for them, because you can cover a lot more ground out there. Also, trolling usually yields good catches of king mackeral and sometimes wahoo and mahi-mahi.
There are 2 types of fish that bite exceptionally well in November, and both of these fish are fairly rare the rest of the year: wahoo and cobia. I call wahoo and cobia the Thanksgiving fish. Wahoo are an offshore fish that are usually caught on our offshore dolphin fishing trips, 700-900′ of water. In November, we usually catch them just 1-2 miles offshore, in only 180′-300′ of water. This is a great season to go high speed trolling for wahoo. Wahoo love to bite at really fast speeds. My favorite speed to troll for wahoo is 14 knots(about 18 miles per hour). That’s very fast for any kind of fishing, but it is the best method of targeting wahoo. Wahoo are the fastest fish in the ocean.
Cobia fishing is great this time of year too. We catch cobia around the shipwrecks usually. No catches of cobia on our sportfishing charters this week, but the head boats are catching them. They will show up on the shipwrecks soon enough for us, and then we’ll be catching them good. Around the wrecks, there have been some very nice fish. A lot of huge amberjacks are starting to show up on the 200’+ shipwrecks. Really big groupers are being caught on the deeper shipwrecks. We caught this 35 lb. back grouper on a 250′ shipwreck off Fort Lauderdale. Judging by the way it was fighting, I was absolutely certain that it was a huge amberjack. Capt. Adam guessed it to be a grouper. I knew I was wrong when I saw the fish pop up on the surface. Very nice catch.
The deep wrecks are holding amberjacks and groupers, but the shallow wrecks are holding big barracuda. If your a meat fisherman, than you probably don’t like to catch these. If your a light tackle enthusiast, you won’t find a fish that’s more fun to catch. Barracudas are hanging around the shallow wrecks right now and they are huge. The summer barracuda are usually like 20-25 inches long, but the big fall and winter barracuda are the 40+ inches. I’m glad barracudas don’t get any bigger than they do, there wouldn’t be any fish left in the ocean.
I would have to say, great fishing on both the drift fishing and the sportfishing boats. Sharks will be here soon, and sailfish should be hanging around for a while. It’s going to be a good season on fishing. Sea ya out there…