Dennis, Taylor, and Tyler from Iowa booked the charter boat, Happy Day Today, for a fishing charter. Dennis owns his own freshwater tackle shop and wanted to get offshore for some saltwater deep-sea fishing action. The guys wanted to have fun catching some fish to put on the grill.
We had nice conditions with an easterly wind blowing 15 mph out of the east with a couple of feet of chop. Easterly winds are generally good wind direction for all fishing conditions. The Mahi Mahi get pushed in closer to the shoreline. East winds allow us to kite fish, as well as pushes the pelagic species up along the drop off, which is where we spend a lot of time trolling and live baiting.
We left the inlet and did not have to run far before I saw some weeds forming in that very deep cobalt blue water with some flying fish in the area. The nice part about fishing in Fort Lauderdale is that the continental shelf is very close to land, and we travel just a few miles to hit the deep waters. The first mate started rigging an offshore spread of baits, which consisted of naked Ballyhoos, lures, and teasers. We fish a shotgun, two long and two short riggers with a deep planner line and two teasers. It is always a good practice to have a few spinners out and ready to pitch if there is a floating log or large raft of weed. Additionally, Mahi Mahi’s will have multiple fish and followers when bringing one in. Having the pitch rod ready will increase your chances of catching that extra few fish out there in the spread.
I started trolling in 400 feet of water heading offshore. I told the guys to keep their eyes open for any birds or anything floating. We made it out to 600 ft. of water when we found a nice current edge with some weed line. As soon as we made the turn, the rigger line came down, and we had a Mahi Mahi on. We caught that one, and ready with the pitch in hand, there were no other followers. We continued working the edge, and got another bite, but this time it was a double header. Both fish came up alongside the boat; the mate reached out and gaffed each one, then in the fish box they went. I pitched a few live baits out waiting for another bite, but we did not get any other bites. After spending some time trolling this edge with no other bites, we decided to try fishing for another species.
We got on top of a sunken shipwreck and put out our bullet gear. These are smaller jigs used with a Boone bird teaser to catch Bullet Bonitas. We made a half dozen passes over this wreck and caught enough live Bullet Bonitas to fish a few spreads. The first mate rigged up all the rods with wire rigs with treble hooks. This is a very effective rig when using these baits. Since all fish eat Bullets and a lot of these species have teeth, this rig increases the chances of landing most of what bites the bait. We sent out a high line, two long baits and a down rigger. I made a pass with the live baits over the same wreck, and the down rigger ball bounced, which released the clip; the line scoped up and drag started coming off the reel. After a nice fight, we caught a nice Barracuda. The guys took a few pictures and we let the cuda go. The mate rigged up another deep bait and sent it down on the down rigger. We want back to the live bait trolling spread and started working the baits to deeper waters, and slow trolled them out to 200 feet of water. This is a good depth for all species. I worked them in shallower water to 150 feet and back out to 300 feet of water fishing the drop off. The deep line popped out of the clip, and we waited a minute before checking the bait. The bait was fine, but something scared him enough to pull out of the clip. Shortly after sending the bait back down on the down rigger, I saw the left rigger bait splashing. As soon as I told the guys to get ready for the bite, the line came out of the rigger clip, and we had a nice fish on. Just a second later, the other rigger line came ripping out of the rigger clip, and we had a double header on. Both fish were pulling out drag, and both fish were ripping offshore. The guys started fighting the fish on either corner of the cockpit. The fish were going in opposite directions then they turned and started heading towards each other. We did everything to keep the lines separated but, unfortunately, we ended up losing one. This fish was ripping off and making dives down. The angler did a great job, and after a long battle, he was able to get the fish up alongside the boat. The mate reached out with the gaff, and with a nice head shot, hauled in a Wahoo. Next, we decided to try wreck fishing with these same live baits. The first mate rigged one up and sent it down to the structure. As soon as we reached the bottom, the line came tight, and the fish cut us off. This time we rigged one up with wire and sent another bait down; same as before, the line came tight, but this time the fish stayed on. The guys brought up a Shark. We took a quick picture and released it.
After a fun day fishing, it was time to head back to the dock. If interested in booking a fishing charter, contact Capt. Zsak with the Top Shot Sportfishing Charters and the Happy Day Today at 954-439-8106.