Our sportfishing boats have been doing well on every trip this week. The mullet have begun to make their run down the South Florida coast and with them, come the big sailfish and shark migration. The canals in the Fort Lauderdale Intracoastal Waterway are all packed with finger mullet, which is the undeniable sign that the mullet are making their run down the beach. They do this every year and always bring with them the same big game predator fish, following them. I’ll definitely be trying a little beach fishing in the mornings, fishing for tarpon and sharks, until the lifeguard kicks me out at 7:30AM. Then, a few minutes late for work, I’ll be heading out on a sportfishing charter to do some sailfishing.
Sailfish are snapping this past week. We’ve caught at least 1 sailfish on every trip this week. I hope we stay on this sailfish streak for a while. Almost every sailfish this week, we’ve caught trolling. A couple fish on the kites have been landed, but most have been on the troll. Live baiting is usually the best method of catching sailfish. The great thing about trolling is that you can catch kingfish, tuna and mahi-mahi on the troll also. The mahi-mahi bite lately is a different story.
Offshore fishing in Ft Lauderdale this whole month has been awesome. There have been a lot of weed lines formed up offshore as well as scattered debris. The dolphins seem to be all over the place. I’ve noticed lately that there have not been as many boats fishing offshore. Less charters around with a slow economy, fuel was expensive for a while, etc… With not so many boats competing for fishing grounds, our overall catches have been outstanding. Big dolphin and lots of smaller ones are out there to be caught. Just spend some time fishing for them offshore and a good captain can usually find something that will hold some fish.
Finding a piece of debris floating offshore is like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. You know, when you find something offshore, if it hasn’t been molested by 10 other boats already, it’s going to have some nice fish around it. We’ve had some spectacular dolphin fishing days this year, made spectacular by spotting a tiny floating board- Needle in a haystack. On a couple of our trips, we’ve caught 20 or 30 dolphins and caught our limit of wahoo. On a couple other trips, we’ve come back with a couple dolphins over 20 or 30 pounds. There are some fish out there if you look for them.
Now you can catch dolphin just trolling around too. I’ve hit some of my biggest single dolphin and some great schools of schoolies, by just “Out of the Blue” offshore trolling. But no fisherman can deny, the secret to dolphin is finding the right fishing grounds. One of my secret techniques for dolphin is to always have a bailing rod out with a small live bait or chunk bait, whenever I’m bottom fishing. You can set it out there on top and just forget about it. You would be very surprised how often a school of mahi-mahi swims up on you when you’re dropping baits around a wreck.
Bottom fishing has been productive too. The shallow wrecks in about 90-160′ of water are holding black and gag groupers. They are very aggressive and will eat live or dead baits. I always use very heavy tackle for grouper because the first thing every grouper tries to do is to wrap you in the rocks. You’ve got to ‘make or break’ that fish right at the hookup and get him up a few feet off the bottom. Then you can back your drag down and fight him, but it’s no fun fighting a rock. There have been some really big groupers around some the wrecks and the vermillion snappers are always biting out here it seems. There is a lot of action on the little 1-2 pound red snappers if you want to catch a lot of tasty fish.
Fishing this season has been excellent for us and I really believe that this will be a great year for sailfish for us. The numbers already are great and we’ve only been through 1 cold front. The second and 3rd cold fronts of the year are when we get the crazy “10 sailfish in a half day” catches out here. We should know soon, there’s a cold front on its way here. I can feel it. Good fishing everyone, sea ya on the water.