We have had a productive month targeting pelagic species. The Mahi Mahi bite recently showed some promise with a few days seeing 4 to 5 Mahi’s. Some days, the fishing out of Fort Lauderdale can be slow for Mahi Mahi, and some days are good; it really depends on the conditions and the schools of fish moving through the Fort Lauderdale area. Whenever we have a steady east wind, the Mahi Mahi are pushed closer to the beach, and all the fish traveling 4 to 10 miles offshore are closer to the reef. We are finding the Mahi Mahi in 100 ft. to 300 ft. of water, just a few miles off the beach, and have been catching them on surface lures, Ballyhoo, and deep planner sea witch baits. The last time I was trolling for Mahi Mahi, we found a couple of birds working the area, so we fished our spread of baits close to the floating debris and the birds. A couple of lines came down, and we were fighting Mahi Mahi - fish on!! Whenever there are trailing fish behind the hooked fish, be ready to cast a jig or bait for multiple hook ups. This happens more than you realize, especially when you’re not ready for them. Also, sometimes, when keeping one fish alongside the boat in the water, the rest of the fish in the area will stay long enough to cast a line. Another good technique when kite fishing with live bait is to have a chum bag in the water, occasionally tossing cut bait in the water. Packs of Mahi moving through the area will get pulled into the slick.
Black Fin Tuna have been showing up in both the morning and afternoon charters, having better success earlier in the day and later in the afternoon, as well as whenever it’s overcast and cloudy. The schools of Tuna will run up the reef, and when they turn on with the right current, wind and water temperature, we’ll see awesome action with every line hooked up. Trolling at a faster speed will help increase the Tuna bite. Looking for birds diving helps locate the schools of Tuna. Also, the Tunas will sometimes move along a current change, and when we locate the blue/green edge or weed line, trolling the offshore side will prove successful.
In addition, we are also catching some Barracuda and Bonita mixed in. The two methods we use to catch Barracuda are trolling lures and live baiting. For best results, we use a wire treble rig with a stinger. Slow trolling the baits over a wreck using a down rigger ball, we send the bait down to the top of the structure, being careful not to snag the wreck, and more often than not, the release clip will snap and fish on. The more common fish hanging around the wrecks are Amberjack, Barracuda, Grouper, Snappers and Sharks. Using the wire rig is advantageous to keep the fish connected.
So far in February and now into March we have had ideal fishing conditions in Fort Lauderdale, light to medium easterly wind with some north current. These conditions allow us to live bait kite fish, offshore trolling, and wreck fishing. To book a deep-sea fishing charter out of Fort Lauderdale, give me a call to discuss fishing options, availability and what’s biting.
Capt. Dave Zsak
52’ Hatteras sportfish
“Happy Day Today”