Fort Lauderdale fishing report for Top Shot Sportfishing charters and "Happy Day Today".
Off to a strong start in 2023 with favorable weather conditions and good fishing. We have been catching a variety of pelagic species such as Sailfish, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi and Tuna. Both the morning and afternoon charters have been producing fish with a few more Tuna bites during the afternoon hours. Live bait kite fishing has been producing some Sailfish. We are catching Amberjack and Snappers when wreck and bottom fishing and catching Mahi Mahi and Wahoos when trolling offshore and on the reef,
Two days past the January full moon, we had Wahoo on our minds. We have better Wahoo catches around the full moon, and the wintertime full moon is traditionally better than other times of the year. The first mate rigged up two of the best Wahoo baits on the market, and we started fishing for them on the drop off. As we were heading south on the drop off, I started marking fish on the depth sounder - these marks were anywhere from 50 down to 200 feet and could have been anything from bait fish to pelagic species, but certainly a good area. We got two nice strikes, one on the deep planner line and one on the rigger line. Both anglers started fighting the fish - the first one to surface was the one on the planner line; the mate removed the planner and reeled up a nice Wahoo, reaching down and gaffing the Wahoo. Next, we worked on getting the second fish in the boat. The fish was moving back and forth, and after a good fight, the angler brought the fish up alongside the boat, and the mate gaffed the second Wahoo.
When targeting Sailfish, we have a few different styles or methods, all of which will produce fish. During the winter months when the wind is blowing, we will kite fish. This is flying two kites off the back of the boat. One kite will be positioned to the right and the other to the left of the boat, and we will fish two baits per kite. This style of fishing is interactive for everyone on the boat. The boat must be positioned with the bow in the wind. The baits must be constantly maintained, whereas the baits are just below the water line and not coming out of the water. You also have to scan the spread of baits for any sign of a fish below or around the live baits. When a Sailfish comes up into the spread, my best success is to feed the Sailfish until the fish starts to pick up speed, then engage the drag to hook the fish. Be on the lookout for multiple fish, as they do travel in pairs and larger packs.
The wind has been blowing out of the easterly direction for a week, and this will push fish closer to the shore, so we decided to target Mahi Mahi. I started trolling in 500 feet of water, which is only 3 miles off the coastline. The first mate started putting out a spread of surface rigged Ballyhoo baits, some skirted and some naked, and we also fished a deep planner line with a sea witch. As we were heading offshore, the weed and floating debris started to line up in a north and south direction, which, of course, is a where Mahi Mahi will travel up and down the line. As soon as we made a turn heading into the current and facing south, the long rigger line got a strike, and we had a Mahi Mahi on the line. I continued to work the area picking up another few Mahi Mahi’s. We went back to trolling down the line, and there was plenty of visible floating debris. As we approached a floating log, the first mate was ready with a spinner and casted out a live bait. As soon as the Pilchard hit the water, a Mahi came from under the log and crashed the bait - always a fun fight on spinning tackle - the fish was gaffed and brought into the boat. As we were fishing this line, we came across weed patches, and some of them had fish feeding under the patches and others did not. I made a pass back through the area with the floating log, and the deep planner line got a hit - the angler started fighting the fish, and we caught a Wahoo. As we were nearing the end of the charter, it was time to start trolling back to shallower water, and as we passed over a sunken shipwreck, the planner line got a strike. The angler started fighting the fish, and we ended up catching a Black Fin Tuna.
Every day has different conditions, and depending on the wind and current will determine what species we will target. On this particular day, the current was moving in the right direction to wreck fish, so we decided to catch live baits and position the boat over a sunken shipwreck. The first mate rigged up a circle hook rig and bridled a live bait with a sinker to get the bait down to the bottom. The mate hit the bottom, and reeled the bait up off the bottom, so we do not snag the wreck. As the current moved the boat over the wreck, the rod bent over and hooked up a nice fish. As we brought this fish up, we ended up catching a nice Amberjack.
To book a deep-sea fishing charter contact Capt. Dave Zsak at (954) 439-8106