Category Archives: Offshore Reports

Great White Shark Catch on our Fort Lauderdale Fishing Charter

By | Offshore Reports, Sportfishing Charter Report | No Comments
great white shark on the leader next to the boat

Great White Shark next to the boat on our Fort Lauderdale fishing charter

It started out as a slow day. We were 2 hours into the trip and not a fish over 2 pounds. We caught some small bonitos and blackfin tunas earlier in the day trolling the reef, but no action was there to be had. So we switched tactics and put out a nice shark fishing spread. The big rods were deployed, 130 Penn Internationals, a reel that can handle anything. These are the reels we use for when we go shark fishing, just in case a sea monster jumps on the line. You want to have gear that can handle anything that might bite. We were glad we did.

We had two bottom baits set. The first was an 8 pound blackfin tuna we caught a day earlier. The captain wanted to take it for dinner that night but opted to save it in case bait was hard to come by the next day. Fishing had been a little tough lately with some days being very difficult to catch baits. Fishing begins with bait, remember that. So we were glad to have the blackfin and we rigged it promptly with some big hooks, heavy wire and sent it down to the depths to approximately 350ft deep. Our other bait was a fresh bonito, a bloody fish that works well as bait for almost any predatory big game fish.

Sitting there for almost an hour without so much as a nibble, we were starting to regret our decision. I guess today isn’t the day. Captain Pauly was considering switching tactics one last time to shipwreck fishing to try to catch the customers something. We hadn’t much time left in our trip, we were only out for a half day. Suddenly, without notice or a hint of foreshadowing, the deep bait rod on the left tweaked over and began screaming drag off the reel.

“Fish On!” the captain shouted as he put the boat into forward to help drive the steel hooks into the fishes jaw on the strike. This isn’t the kind of rod you can lift up and yank back on to set the hook. After a minute of driving forward, we were confident the hook was set well enough and we moved the rod over to the fighting chair. The angler was strapped in and the fight began.

We could tell right away that this wasn’t an average shark. We shark fish every day and while every shark is strong and fights hard, this fish had ‘weight behind it’ and wasn’t showing any signs of fatigue after pulling so much drag. A good captain knows, on a big fish, to pull the fish ‘with’ the current. Swimming into the current, a fish can just shoulder down and use his big pectoral fins to plane down, exerting little to no energy. Pull the fish ‘with’ the current and you force the fish to change depths, swim to the flank and even surface, just to keep the water flowing over his gills so that he can breathe. This tires the fish out with efficiency so you don’t exhaust your angler before the fish.

Well this fish was savvy to that tactic and it had the stamina of a horse. We had to change out anglers 5 times during the fight as each angler was drained after 10-20 minutes of battle. At one point during the fight, the fish flew up to the surface and breached. That’s very rare for a shark to breach the surface and leap into the air. Most sharks try to stay deep during the fight. When the shark breached we could kind of see the shape. The captain and mate looked at eachother, speechless, afraid to predict what they thought they saw. In the back of their minds though, they knew…. it was a Great White Shark.

Great whites are extremely, extremely rare. Out of the 60 or 70 fishing charter boats that operate out of Fort Lauderdale and shark fish every day, I can think of only 2 boats that have caught one (one of them is now us).

After an hour plus long fight, we finally had the fish close to the boat. When the fishes head popped up over the whitewater and we could clearly see the shape and face of the fish, our suspicions were confirmed. We had just landed a Great White Shark. Howls and shrieks of jubilation all around. This was a once-in-a-lifetime catch and everyone knew it. Of course the cameras came out at that point and we all snapped 1,000 photos per second.

The mate held the fish on the leader near to the boat and the captain ran down and put a tag into the fish. This is a research tag so that if the fish is ever caught again, we can see how far it has traveled and how much it has grown in that time span. Everyone waved goodbye and the mate cut the wire leader, leaving only one hook in the fishes upper lip. The hook will be a nice piece of jewelry for the shark for the next few months until it rusts or falls out.

Everyone aboard had a hand in catching this giant. From the captain, to the mate, to each angler on the trip, everyone helped land this bad boy. This was a catch of a lifetime for our boat, a catch that may never be matched. A catch that we will remember forever.

Thank you to everyone who fished with us. Good luck to everyone fishing in these coming weeks. There are some sea monsters biting on our Fort Lauderdale fishing charters this week. Let’s go fishing!

Capt. Andy Roydhouse
www.FishHeadquarters.com
754-214-7863

 

 

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
www.FishHeadquarters.com
754-214-7863

Great Snapper Fishing This Month in Fort Lauderdale

By | Drift Fishing Reports, Offshore Reports, Sportfishing Charter Report | No Comments
Nice pile of snappers on the cutting table after the trip.

Nice catch of vermillion snappers caught on our drift fishing trip out of Fort Lauderdale.

I haven’t done a fishing report in a while, but with the fishing as good as it is, I feel a fishing report is warranted.  Our snapper fishing off Fort Lauderdale over the past few weeks has been nothing short of amazing.  While the snapper fishing over the summer months was not as productive as in years past, the snapper fishing this year during October is well above expectations.  On our daytime drift fishing trips, we’re catching lots and lots of vermillion snappers, yelloweyes and some big mutton snappers mixed in.  This is in addition to the regular catches of porgies, groupers, grunts, jacks and all the bottom fish species.  An odd kingfish, tuna or cobia is also being caught on our daytime drift trips.  Being off-season here in Ft Lauderdale, with everyone going back to school and getting into the swing of work/school stuff, we haven’t had the huge numbers of people on the trips as we normally do in the spring and summer months.  This is a great thing for the drift boat trips because it gives you a lot more room to fish as well as a higher ratio of more fish per person aboard.  This is a great season to come out and try some drift fishing.  You’re almost guaranteed to get some nice snappers to bring home.

Nice vermillion snapper behind held up at the dock by the lucky angler who caught them.

Nice vermillion and yelloweye snapper caught by Andy on our drift fishing trip.

Night fishing is just plain ole’ awesome this month.  Snappers, snappers and more snappers are the catch on our night trips.  The snapper species we target at night are the yellowtail snapper and the mangrove snappers.  We do get a few of the bigger mutton snappers as well.  But the sheer numbers of the yellowtail and mangroves that we’re catching at night is just incredible.  This year has been better snapper fishing than I have seen in quite a few years.  I love to see the bite so good because we have slow fishing sometimes in Fort Lauderdale, where it’s tough to catch anything.  Fortunately for us, the bite has been really strong, so almost every trip is a good catch.  We’re having nights where 3 deckhands have to clean fish for over an hour after the trip because we caught so many.  Night anchor trips are also yielding a some sharks, cobia, bluefish and barracuda too.

Nice pile of yellowtail snappers on the dock after a night trip aboard the Catch My Drift.

Big pile of yellowtail snappers after a night anchor trip aboard the Catch My Drift this week.

Sportfishing boats are getting their fair share of fish out there.  Some good catches of mahi-mahi (a few really big ones), wahoo, tuna, kingfish and some of the big game fish around the wrecks.  It’s a mixed bag for the sportfishing boats this time of year, they can catch just about anything.  Mahi-mahi are funny in that they come through really strong for 2-3 days in a row, and then they disappear for a week or more where there are none to be found, and then they pop up again practically jumping in the boat.  It’s very hit or miss with the mahi-mahi or as I like to say, “Hero or Zero”.  Still, even on the days when the mahi-mahi are non-existent, the tunas, kingfish and other reef species are keeping us busy reeling in some nice fish.

John holding a pair of big snapper on his trip aboard the Catch My Drift

Nice snappers caught on the drift fishing trip out of Fort Lauderdale.

If the bite on the troll slows down, we usually switch over to deep dropping over the shipwrecks to try to hook into a big amberjack or grouper.  There are some big groupers still lurking around the wrecks and deep dropping is fast paced fishing.  You drop down, and either get a bite in the first 2-3 minutes or you reel them in and try to hit another wreck.  It usually only takes a couple shipwrecks before you find a wreck that is holding some fish.  Fish move from wreck to wreck every day so you have to experiment a little with some trial and error to find where they are biting that day.  And if the big game fish aren’t biting on the wrecks, we can always drop some multiple-hook chicken rigs to load up on the vermillion and yelloweye snappers.  It’s a buffet out there these days.

Ryan holding a big mahi-mahi caught on our sportfishing charter.

Nice bull dolphin caught on our sportfishing charter out of Fort Lauderdale.

The secret to fishing in Fort Lauderdale in October is to stay versatile.  You need to switch from technique to technique until you find what’s working that day.  That’s one big reason the afternoon is often the better trip time.  We have all that trial and error from the morning figured out so we can go right to what was working for us the best immediately when we go back out for the afternoon run.  The mullet run is just getting started which rejuvenates the reefs with lots of available food (baitfish) and get the big game fish such as sailfish, sharks, tarpon and barracudas, snapping all over the reefs.  Good luck to everyone fishing in these coming weeks.  I’ll sea ya on the water!

Capt. Andy Roydhouse
754-214-7863 cell
www.FishHeadquarters.com

Andrew holding a 30 pound wahoo just caught trolling at sea.

Nice wahoo caught trolling on our sportfishing trip