Live bait fishing out of Fort Lauderdale can be one of the most productive ways to target Sailfish. Depending on the time of the year, wind, and wind direction, current, bait, and previous catches will determine what method we will use during the fishing charter out of Fort Lauderdale. I do like targeting Sailfish, but it’s not always the best fish to target, especially when Sails are not coming through the area. Of course, that's not to say you won’t get the Sailfish bite; only mentioning since there has not been much action with Sailfish over the last few weeks, so the chances may be a little less than desired.

The day started with action somewhere in the middle and enough success to tilt the scales and just go for a Sailfish. We had a nice group who wanted to catch a fish of a lifetime, as well as get some good fishing action. I decided to start the day at the swim buoys, which are located in shallow water right over a north and south reef structure holding Ballyhoo baitfish. We pulled up to the swim balls and tied up, with a steady shaking of the chum bag and within 10 to 15 minutes, just as expected, the Ballyhoo baits swam up to the back of the boat. The first mate got a cast net, and with a solid throw, we had plenty of baits for our Fort Lauderdale Sailfish adventure.

Now, with baits in the well, we were off to start slow trolling the reef in 75 feet of water. It’s a good starting point, as we will work off to deeper waters getting our baits out to 400 feet of water then back into 100 ft. with most of the time concentrating in 150 ft. The rigs we use are light mono with circle hooks and either a cocktail straw or copper wire to attach the bait to the rig. We'll fish a spread of two long, two short, one shotgun and a flat line live bait. Plus, we like to have teasers in the water - there is the ever-attractive strip teaser and/or the squid chain (sometimes using the live ballyhoo chain).

We worked the baits down the reef line avoiding any weed patches. The first fish we caught was a 15-pound Bonita - it crashed on the live bait, put up a good fight, and was put into the fish box. The Bonita will also be put to good use as a cut, strip and/or bottom bait. With baits back in the water, we continued working the reef. Suddenly, we had two Mahi Mahi’s swim into the spread and crash on the right long and right short bait - a double header on!! Both Mahi's were jumping and pulling drag; we were fighting them on light spinning tackle, and they put up a great fight. One at a time, the Mahi’s came in with the first mate reaching out, gaffing the Mahi’s, and putting them into the fish box.

As I was working the baits out in 200 ft. of water, we finally saw the target fish. A Sailfish, fishing out of Fort Lauderdale, with a semi dorsal, bill out of the water and trying to eat the bait will put a smile on anyone's face. The Sail took a shot and ate the bait. We fed the Sail, and as soon as we reeled the line tight, he started jumping out of the water. Our anglers began fighting the fish, as the mate cleared some of the spread leaving a few out (trying for the second bite). With some good air action, this Sailfish put on an awesome show. We got the Sailfish up along the side of the boat, pulled it in for a quick photo and put it back in the water. After a successful revival, the Sailfish swam away.

The group had a killer trip, as did we; it was time to head back to the dock at Bahia Mar. For a successful and adventurous deep-sea fishing charter aboard the Happy Day Today with the Top Shot Sportfishing team in Fort Lauderdale FL for Sailfish, Shark, Bonito, Mackerel, Swordfish, Snapper, Wahoo, Tuna, Mahi Mahi and Grouper, contact Captain Zsak. - 954-439-8106 or email us at Website:

Sailfish 2-14-21.jpg

Owner/ Captain Tom Zsak