Some very good catches are showing up on the Fort Lauderdale reefs and wrecks this week. We are right in the heart of the best fishing season of the year for south Florida and all the fish are arriving ‘on schedule’. Huge jacks, and lots of them, are showing up around the shipwrecks. Amberjacks and almaco jacks are biting great and the sheer numbers of these hungry gamefish are creating a lot of competition for food. This competition makes for a very aggressive bite around the wrecks. Amberjacks are the most aggressive fish down there so they usually get the bait before anything else has a chance at it. But sometimes a lucky grouper, cobia or barracuda will grab it first. Needless to say, the bite on the wrecks happens quick! The trick is to pull the fish clear of the structure before it has a chance to wrap you up around the superstructure of the shipwreck. We use heavy tackle and a lot drag on the reel to power these fish clear of the shipwreck’s rigging. In April, wreck fishing is hot, fast and fun action.
Trolling is good action too. The great thing about trolling is that you can cover a lot of territory and try different depths and areas. We can listed to the radio and hear what the other boats are catching. If we hear a good bite going on up to the north, we’re mobile and can head right there. If the best bite seems to be happening in 180ft of water today, we can concentrate our fishing efforts in that depth. Trolling is versatile and therefor usually produces the best overall catches. Dolphin, tuna, wahoo, kingfish, bonitos, barracuda and more are all fish that bite best on the troll. You never know what you might catch. Watch and wait for the hard east wind. Any strong wind out of the east will produce a stellar dolphin bite on the reef. Of course, these are the roughest days to fish, but to get the best fishing, you have to work for it. Any day/weather condition could produce a good bite but that hard east wind is as high-percentage as it gets. April is a great month for trolling.
And that brings us to the biggest fish of the season, sharks and sailfish. It is the latter part of the sailfish season, but they are still biting. You’ve got until about the end of May for a good chance at sailfish. Winter is the best time to go sailfishing but being the most sought after gamefish in the sea, we fish for them all year long. Kite fishing is the best technique to fish for sailfish and other surface feeding gamefish. Which brings us to the biggest of the big game fish, shark fishing! March through May is the best season of the year to come shark fishing in south Florida. We do a lot of special fishing charters just for sharks. Over the next couple months, we have an epic migration of giant sharks through our waters. Hammerhead sharks are biting very good right now. Also there are some dusky, sand bar, thresher, bull and tiger sharks biting. If you’d like to catch the biggest fish of your life, this is the month to do it.
We wait all year for the great fishing we have off the south Florida coast this month (and next). Just about everything is in season right now (except groupers), so the sky is the limit. The largest and most epic fish of the year are usually caught in April and May. If you’re a trophy hunter or you want to go after the biggest pelagic fish possible, this is the time of year you want to fish. Fort Lauderdale rarely has this concentration of big game fish moving through her waters. It’s always a fun time to come fishing, but it sure is a lot more fun when the fish are here. Good luck to everyone fishing over the next couple weeks. I’ll sea ya on the water.
Capt. Andy Roydhouse