There’s some great fishing happening in Fort Lauderdale right now. A little bit of everything is biting and we’re seeing some pretty nice fish hitting the docks. The strong East winds are bringing the dolphin in close, right in onto the reef. We’re catching mahi-mahi in 100-200ft of water, something that happens very rarely, usually only in March and April. They follow the seaweed lines as they get blown in closer to shore and they linger on the reefs because of the large amount of available food. A lot of the mahi are pretty big, larger than the average size ones we normally catch. Dolphin aren’t picky eaters. They will eat just about anything you are using for bait, you just need the get the baits near to them and they will gobble it up. Dolphin have voracious appetites this time of year and most of them are above average in size. We’re getting into the absolute best fishing month of the year to catch dolphin, April.
Tunas, wahoo, barracuda and sailfish are also biting on the reef and edge of the Gulfstream on our fishing charters. This time of year, you can catch just about anything in 100-300ft of water. This water column holds a tremendous amount of baitfish and available food, so the fish congregate in that water column for easy pickings. Tunas have been biting great for the past few months. In December, we started catching all the small tunas in the 1-2 pound range. By late January they were 2-4 pounds. Now in March, they are already 5-10 pounds in size and still biting really good. There are a few really big tunas up to 30 pounds mixed in, but most of them are in the 5-10 pound range. Great sushi if you remember to bring your wasabi. Wahoo bite good on the full and new moon phases. They eat best on the big tide swings that these moon phases bring with them and we catch them smack dab on the reefs in only 100ft of water. Trolling artificial lures and rigged baits works best as you can cover a lot of territory, but slow trolling works really good for them as well.
Sailfish and barracuda are the top predators out there right now. With no natural predators, these fish have free reign out there to hunt without the fear of being hunted in return. We catch our sailfish by either kite fishing, slow trolling live baits along the reefs or by faster trolling of artificial lures and rigged baits. Barracudas eat the same stuff. These top gamefish bite really good whenever we get a strong east wind and you’ll find them among the schools of tuna that pop up out there. Kite fishing works particularly well for them on these windy days because the baitfish put off such a strong fish-in-distress signal that can be honed in on from a great distance away. Sharks are also biting out there in big numbers (and big sizes), but I’ll save that for a future report.
And lastly, the wreck fishing is getting stronger by the day. Big fish are starting to congregate in large numbers around our shipwrecks in 200-400ft of water. For many years, Fort Lauderdale supported an artificial reef program. This program brought many old and retired ships out to these depths to be permanently sank to make a structure for fish to congregate around. The divers and fishermen loved it! It gave us both an excellent spot to come to find what we were looking for… big fish. From the months of March through May, a lot of big fish show up around these wrecks with an appetite. They are ready to eat just about anything you drop near their noses. Big groupers, amberjacks, cobia, snappers and more are all caught in big numbers around our wrecks this time of year. This is the only time of year you can show up to a wreck, drop a live bait down and be hooked up to a 40-60 pound big game fish. I really, really love wreck fishing in the Spring fishing season.
Good luck to everyone fishing with us over the next few weeks. This time of year is about the best time you can come down to fish Fort Lauderdale and although we do have slow days from time to time, the average catches we have this time of year blow away the average catches throughout the rest of the year. Tight lines everyone and I’ll sea ya on the water.
Capt. Andy Roydhouse