February Fishing in Fort Lauderdale

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Group of bachelor party guys taking a pic aboard the boat with a wahoo they just caught.

February is wahoo month. Nice wahoo caught by these guys on a bachelor party fishing trip.

Finally!  We’re through the rough patch of January where fish are really hard to come by.  We’re into February now where the fishing starts to get better and better out here in Fort Lauderdale.  The action is improving daily and so are the size of our catches.  The fishing starts improving now until it peaks in May.  The highlights for February are the sailfish in 100-150ft of water, small blackfin tunas all over the place, wahoo should be biting, the shark migration begins and some of the big game bottom fish start showing up around the wrecks.

Family posing with a nice sailfish caught in Ft Lauderdale.

Nice sailfish by this family on our deep sea fishing charter out of Fort Lauderdale.

On our drift fishing trips, snappers are beginning to move back out to the deep, following their retreat last month into the shallow waters.  Snappers are the main target on our drift fishing trips.  This past month, you really had to work hard to catch some snappers.  In the winter months, snappers slide in shallower into 20-30 ft of water.  They do their mating spawn and then slowly start moving back out into the deep.  The mangrove and yellowtail catches are beginning to improve daily and should be at full strength again by the end of the month.  Mutton snappers are biting better and better all the time too.  They didn’t slack off as much as the smaller species of snappers did, but mutton had their own issues as this is the first year of the new size limit being 18″.  Many of the muttons we caught over the past few months had to be released because they didn’t make the size limit.  This is a good thing as it will make for more breeding size muttons in the mix, so many  more muttons next year for us.  Also, larger muttons are starting to show up already, showing us that this new size limit for them is a great thing.

happy lady angler posing with her mahi she just caught offshore of Fort Lauderdale.

Nice mahi caught by this fisher gal on our drift fishing trip aboard the Catch My Drift.

February is prime season for our sportfishing charters.  The sailfish, which showed up late again this year just like they did last year, are starting to bite in awesome numbers.  Last year was the same thing.  They usually show up in November and then start tailing off in early March.  This year, they didn’t even show up until mid-January.  So, just like last year, the sailfish bite should continue to be awesome all the way through April.  Sailfish are one of our biggest gamefish here in Fort Lauderdale and they are most definitely the most sought after gamefish in the entire world.  They are awesome to catch with their aerobatic display of jumping, somersaults and the sheer runs they put on.  Everything about sailfish is exciting.

Father and son pose at the dock with a big kingfish and barracuda they just caught on their fishing charter.

Nice kingfish and huge barracuda caught by this father and son fishing team aboard our sportfishing charter.

Sharks are beginning their big migration down our coastline this month.  February is the start of the shark train where hundreds of thousands of sharks cruise down our coast on their move northward.  We get so many sharks here in Fort Lauderdale, it’s crazy.  And they are humongous.  We catch hammerhead sharks, tiger sharks, mako, thresher, bull, dusky and more.  Some of these sharks are 10 feet long and larger or weigh more than 300 pounds.  These are some of the largest and strongest gamefish in the ocean.  We run a huge amount of special shark fishing charters, where go out and fish almost solely for big game sharks.  These charters are incredibly successful in February, March and April.

Nice mutton snapper just caught drift fishing off Ft Lauderdale.

Nice mutton snapper caught drift fishing aboard the Catch My Drift

Tunas, wahoo and mahi are the other species that bite on our sportfishing charters and February is a great month for them.  Mahi are sporadic so you never know where they are going to be or when they are going to bite.  Blackfin tunas are usually all over the reefs and bite small feathers and other streamline lures that you pull fast behind the boat when trolling.  They are usually everywhere on the reefs during February and March and they are very hungry and aggressive.  Wahoo are a bit more elusive.  You never know where they are going to be or when they are going to bite.  They do bite especially well on the tide change, especially the tide change during the full and new moons.  The full moon in February is generally a hot to trot wahoo bite on the Fort Lauderdale reefs.

It’s a great time of year for our Fort Lauderdale fishing charters.  There’s a lot happening, a lot changing (for the better) and a lot of fish moving through.  Good luck to everyone fishing on our charters this month.  I’ll sea ya on the water.

Capt. Andy Roydhouse

2 happy anglers aboard the boat with a nice wahoo they just caught on their fishing charter.

Nice wahoo caught on our sportfish charter by these lucky guys.

Fort Lauderdale Dolphin Fishing Charters

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Dan, Pat and Alex holding an approx 50 pound bull dolphin just caught on a deep sea fishing trip.

Huge bull dolphin caught by Dan and Pat Okee on their Ft Lauderdale fishing charter.

WOW!  It’s been an awesome month of mahi-mahi fishing in Fort Lauderdale.  Our dolphin fishing charters have been perhaps the best I have seen in over a decade.  The strong East winds blowing for many days concurrently is most likely the reason for the extraordinary dolphin fishing we’ve been experiencing.  When the winds blow from the East for more than a few days in a row, the dolphin get blown in closer and closer to the reefs.  This puts them right in our path for our trolling trips to pass right over them and entice the bite.  But this year was a little bit different.  We’ve not only caught more dolphin but also bigger dolphin than we normally do.  I attribute this to conservation efforts making some headway on the fish populations off our coast.  We’ve seen the same thing with groupers over the past couple of years.  More and bigger fish than we’ve caught in the past years are biting.  It’s a great indicator for our fishing charters for future years ahead.

Alex, at the dock, holding another huge mahi-mahi caught on our fishing charter out of Fort Lauderdale.

Alex with another huge mahi-mahi caught on our fishing charter out of Fort Lauderdale.

Dolphin are normally a gregarious fish.  They travel in schools of sometimes a dozen, sometimes a hundred fish.  One of the best tricks to catching dolphin in a school is to always leave one in the water.  If you do, the rest of the school will stick around and stay nearby the dolphin still in the water (even though he is hooked on the line).  This is an awesome tactic because it allows you to take your time and catch literally as many dolphin as you want to, picking them off one at a time.  Well, the dolphin this year bit differently.  They were not congregated into schools but rather loners, swimming solo for the most part.  It was kind of odd this year to find them acting like that.  The good thing about that is they were scattered all over the place and much more abundant.  Rather than looking all over the ocean for that one school and loading up on them in one quick slam, we’ve been picking them up throughout the trip, fish action distributed more evenly throughout the trip.  I love how they are biting this year.

3 folks at the dock, holding up a nice bull dolphin they just caught on their fishing charter.

Nice bull dolphin caught by this fisher gal on our deep sea fishing charter.

As in years past, the dolphin are mostly 6-12 pounders with the occasional fish over 20 pounds.  We recently had a charter that went out and caught several sea monster dolphin over 45 pounds.  That’s a monster dolphin.  Lots of scattered skipjack and blackfin tunas are biting alongside the dolphin catches as well as a rare wahoo that might hit the deep line.  Great action on the pelagic fish this month. Sailfish, a species that is usually biting great for us by this time of the year, have not shown up in great numbers as of yet.  This is kind of late for them to not be practically jumping in the boat for us, but they showed up rather late last year too.  Fish run in cycles and whether it be El Nino or La Nina or any of the other countless variables that affect the fishing, patterns usually emerge that last 2-3 years and then change.

Couple happy anglers posing with a sailfish they just caught, Capt Bobby with thumbs up behind everyone.

Nice sailfish caught by these happy anglers on our deep sea fishing charter trip.

The cooler winds are coming soon.  I think there is a cold front due to hit us this weekend.  When the weather cools down a little bit more, the dolphin will bite less and less and the sailfish will bite more and more.  I’m looking forward to some good sailfish action this year on my fishing charters.  Kite fishing is a lot of fun and although not the best technique to get action on the line, it is a great way to catch the very best and biggest gamefish that we have off our coast.  I’ll be spending a lot of my time in the coming 2 months with the kites up, 4 goggle eyes dangling on the surface of the water, waiting for that sailfish to stick his hairdo up there and take the bait.  Good luck to everyone fishing this month.  I’ll sea ya on the water.

Capt. Andy Roydhouse

Guy kneeling down at the dock holding a dolphin with several other dolphin and kingfish laying next to him on the dock.

Nice catch of dolphins and kingfish by this lucky angler on our sportfishing charter.

Dan, Pat and Alex holding a pair of big dolphin fish just caught, one of the dolphin over 45 pounds.

Dan and Pat Okee again with the huge bull dolphin as well as the cow that was following close behind.

Nice dolphin being held at the dock by a happy angler with his coworkers behind him posing for a picture.

Nice dolphin caught by this group on an end of the year company party trip aboard the Mary B III.

Dolphin and Sailfish Are Here!

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Angler making a funny expression as he poses with a dolphin he just caught on the drift boat trip.

Nice dolphin caught by this excited angler on our drift fishing trip aboard the Catch My Drift.

It’s a great time of year to come fishing in Fort Lauderdale.  This time of year, we get the cool, Easterly winds come in and with them comes a plethora of mahi-mahi and sailfish.  This past week, we’ve had off-the-scale mahi-mahi action.  The east winds are blowing the flying fish closer and closer to shore.  Following right behind them are the mahi-mahi.  The mahi-mahi and flying fish end up right in on the reef where it becomes a feeding frenzy.  Our sportfishing trips, which lean heavily on trolling this time of year, really crush the dolphin.  When trolling, you are mobile, you can cover a lot of territory with your full bait spread out and when you do find the fish, you can stay right on top of them trolling in circles.  Our drift fishing trips are catching the dolphin too.  They don’t catch as many, but they are always ready to cast a pitch bait out if they see a dolphin swim up to the boat.  November is probably the second best time of year for catching mahi-mahi dolphin, April and May being the all-around best.  Tunas are mixed in as well to get their fair share of the flying fish action.  We catch a lot of 5-10 pound blackfin tunas among the mahi-mahi when we’re trolling.  It’s a seafood buffet and it’s all you can eat!

2 boys each holding a nice size dolphin fish and a tuna aboard the boat driving through Ft Lauderdale

Nice dolphin and tuna caught by these boys on their deep sea fishing trip.

Sailfish action is heating up too.  The sailfish are kind of late this year.  We didn’t catch many in September or October, which could be because we weren’t fishing that often due to Hurricane Irma and the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.  But with that all over, we’ve been fishing every day.  As soon as November hit, the sailfish started biting.  Lots and lots of the 4 foot sailfish (and that is small for a sailfish) were coming up and swatting our trolling baits around trying desperately to get the baits in their mouths.  Bigger sailfish are much for adept at catching and eating our rigged trolling baits.  The small sailfish can catch and get the bait down their mouths, but it takes them a lot of swipes to get it down their mouths.  The big sailfish are now showing up and we’ve started to get some of the big ones these past few days.  November is the first month of stellar sailfishing, which continues through the end of February.  Big game fishermen from all around the world come here to Ft Lauderdale in hopes of catching sailfish, which are probably the most sought after gamefish in the world.

4 buddies along with Capt. Bobby pose with their sailfish they just caught on their bachelor party fishing trip.

Nice sailfish caught by these guys on a bachelor party fishing trip out of Fort Lauderdale.

While sailfish and mahi-mahi are the most popular fish that people desire to catch, mainly because of their colors and the fact that put on an awesome jumping display when on the line, there are other awesome big game fish to be had.  Fort Lauderdale has hundreds, if not thousands of shipwrecks that are sunken off our coast.  Fishing around these shipwrecks is a lot like taking the bait right to dining room.  Rather than trolling where you are driving around looking to find the fish somewhere, when wreck fishing you are going right to where you think they are going to be and dropping a live bait down on top of their head.  A lot of the big bites that we get around the wrecks happens as soon as the bait touches the bottom.  Big groupers, amberjacks and cobia don’t let a live bait swim around for very long before they pounce on it.  Almaco jacks, barracuda, sharks and snappers and also nice big game fish that we catch near the wrecks using the same technique.  With the great action we get trolling the reefs, we don’t spend a lot of time hitting the wrecks, but on a slow fishing day when there isn’t much action on the reef, spend the last hour on top of a shipwreck can often make a slow day of fishing into an exciting one.

Couple guys in gold Fishing Headquarters shirts pose with a big amberjack they just caught off a sunken ship in Ft Lauderdale

Nice amberjack caught deep dropping over a shipwreck on a Ft Lauderdale fishing charter

The last thing I want to mention in this report is our drift fishing trips, particularly our night anchor trips.  November is a great month for drift fishing in Fort Lauderdale too.  The action on snappers is generally very good, some kingfish are biting and we get some odd-ball stuff we normally don’t see on the drift boats such as mahi-mahi and cobia.  Action on the snappers (yellowtail, mangroves and muttons) is very good on the day and night trips.  The day trips catch more mutton snappers but the night trips get the most amount of snappers with lots of yellowtails and mangroves.  My favorite snapper trips are the afternoon and night trips.  They seem to catch the most snappers and come in with good catches of them the highest percentage of trips.  Groupers are biting especially good this month too, much better than last year.  This week I’ve seen some big keeper-sized black groupers and red groupers hit the docks.  We have 2 more months of good grouper fishing before the season gets closed on Jan 1.  I foresee some good grouper fishing this month and next.

Couple guys holding a big black grouper they just caught off the South Florida coast.

Nice black grouper caught on our deep sea fishing charter in South Florida.

It’s a great month for fishing the Fort Lauderdale area.  There’s lots of action to be had, lots of good eating fish and some big game fish too.  There’s something for everyone this month.  Good luck out there on your fishing trips.  I’ll sea ya on the water.


Capt. Andy Roydhouse

Matt, very happy, holding a big yellowtail snapper he just caught at night.

Nice yellowtail snapper caught night anchor fishing aboard the Catch My Drift.

Evan in full rain jacket holding a dolphin he just caught aboard the Catch My Drift.

Nice dolphin just caught drift fishing aboard the Catch My Drift.

James holding a nice red grouper at the dock

Nice red grouper caught drift fishing aboard the Catch My Drift.