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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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