Fort Lauderdale Fishing Forecast – Dec -

November 11th, 2011 by jeffS


Dr. Stu Dessner catches his first sailfish.

Dr. Stu Dessner catches his first sailfish.

This upcoming sailfish season should be one of the best seen here in years. Judging by early catches from the beginning of November, sailfish are already arriving in Broward County in large numbers. We have been hooking up on almost every trip since the beginning of November. As each new cold front arrives, the numbers of  hungry spindlebeaks swimming along Fort Lauderdale’s coastline will be ever increasing. There is no greater thrill than when a sailfish inhales a frisky live bait and launches himself airborne for a series of acrobatic leaps across the sea. When caught on light spinning tackle we often need to start up the boat and pursue the jumping fish before he spools all of our line from the reel. If you would like a chance to experience this thrill of a lifetime, choose a day during the next three months and come on down. Great action on dolphin (mahi-mahi) was also experienced this fall as well, and should continue into the winter. These dolphin normally found further from shore will be in close where the sailfish are caught during the winter months. Kingfish our old standby will provide us action while waiting for the sailfish bites. We have been having fun on the way out the inlet lately catching spanish mackerel as we troll by the rock jetty. These  fish are fun to catch and are good eating as well. This can be plan B when conditions offshore can’t be tolerated.

Ft. Lauderdale Fishing Forecast – Jan -

January 11th, 2011 by jeffS


As the Northeast coast braces for another blizzard beginning tonight, South Florida is enjoying some of the most beautiful weather we’ve had in quite some time. Presently as I write this post the air temp is 83 degrees and the sun is shining bright. The water temp is a comfortable 73 degrees. The breeze is a gentle 7 kts out of the SE. and seas are about 2ft. All this will change though as the next cold front approaches. Upon the arrival of the Northerly winds our temperatures will plunge as well, and this will once again signal the onset of some of the best Sailfishing all year. These sailfish will be feeding on schools of baitfish migrating South and will very interested when they see our frisky live bait suspended from our kite above. These kite baits will appear perfect to the wary sailfish as the hook, leader and line will be out of sight to the sailfish below. As the sailfish engulfs the baitfish we will often see his whole head and bill poking out of the water. We  will wait patiently feeding the fish more line so that he doesn’t sense anything is amiss. Then when he begins to move off we will put the reel in gear and reel like mad as the line comes free from the release clip and the fight is on. The sailfish will usually begin a series of spectacular acrobatic  jumps that he is so famous for in an attempt to spit the hook. After a long battle of give and take between sailfish and tired angler, the fish usually is led to the boat where he is lifted aboard for a quick measurement and photo. He is then revived by holding him alongside the boat as the boat moves through the water. This forces water and oxygen through his gills and soon off he goes to fight another day.   

These are some of the Sailfish caught aboard the “Lady Helen” (by some very happy anglers) in December.

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Laurier Plante from Montreal, Canada

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Bruce Kaufman from New York

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Mam Carlson from Macon GA.

001Ken Lett from Lorton VA.

Ft. Lauderdale Fishing Forecast – July -

July 20th, 2010 by jeffS


Mark Thoreson catches current boat record Bull Dolphin of 56.5 lbs.

Mark Thoreson catches current boat record Bull Dolphin of 56.5 lbs.

Offshore fishing for Dolphin (mahi-mahi) becomes a hit or miss proposition during the summer months of July, August, and September. The Dolphin (mahi-mahi) fishing was outstanding this past Spring and stayed strong all the way into the beginning of July. Some of the best dolphin action I have seen in years was enjoyed this year. In fact the biggest Dolphin (mahi-mahi) ever caught aboard the “Lady Helen” was caught this past May. This Dolphin weighing in at 56.5 lbs. was caught by Mark Thoreson of Erie PA.  Marks Dolphin beat the long standing boat record for Dolphin of 49 Lbs. by 7.5 lbs. I’m sure one day some lucky angler aboard the “Lady Helen” will boat a big bull over 60 lbs. What makes Marks big bull even more impressive was that he caught it on a 20 lb. spinning rod.

 

Lindsay Grubel holds up a nice Kingfish for the camera.

Lindsay Grubel holds up a nice Kingfish for the camera.

 

Fishing  just offshore the reef line in 80′ to 300′ of water will be the plan when there are no signs of Dolphin offshore. Livebaits will not be passed up by hungry Bonitas, Kingfish, Tunas, and  the occasional Sailfish that resides in Fort Lauderdale. The reef is only 1.5 miles from shore so it is an easy run in when summertime afternoon thunderstorms approach.

 As usual the Big Brothers and Big Sisters fishing tournament was a big success this year. This year the weather cooperated and the kids all had a blast. This year the kids caught Kingfish, Barracuda, and lots of bottom fish on the reef. The “Lady Helen” always brings home the trophy, and this year was no different for the kids. I want to give a special thanks to Mr Les Pettit who  donates his time every year as mate for the day. Les makes sure all the kids have a great time and catch lots of fish.

 

Elijah Cole won a trophy with this 40" Barracuda in the Big Brothers Tournament.

Elijah Cole won a trophy with this 40" Barracuda in the Big Brothers Tournament.

When the seas are getting a little high we sometimes run for the shelter of the inlet at Port Everglades. Here where the waters are calm we can cast out our live baits along the channel edge. The edge of the channel becomes an excellent ambush point for predators seeking the hapless baitfish being flushed out with the current. Barracudas, Jack Crevelle, and an occasional Tarpon will inhale a live bait drifted along in the current.

 

Brian Finn catches a nice Tarpon in Port Everglades Inlet.

Brian Finn catches a nice Tarpon in Port Everglades Inlet.

Ft. Lauderdale Fishing Forecast – April -

April 14th, 2010 by jeffS


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John Round of Ft. Lauderdale catches nice Kingfish kite fishing.

My favorite time of year has finally arrived in South Florida. The Springtime fishing offshore Ft Lauderdale will provide some of the most exciting action all year. Each year as water temperature begins to rise schools of all types of baitfish will be moving  northward along the coastline. Many types of hungry gamefish will be feasting on these unsuspecting baits as if they are at an all you can eat buffet. Kingfishing has already seen a dramatic improvement in recent days as the numbers of fish in the area are building. Underneath these feeding schools of kings a bait can be fished near the bottom in hopes of tricking a mutton snapper that is feeding on the chopped up pieces that are falling from above. Blackfin tunas have been showing up as well since the beginning of April. These tunas will increase in size as we get further into the spring. Dolphin (mahi-mahi) action has yet to take off as of yet, but it will any day now. Most of the Dolphin (mahi-mahi) we’ve  seen so far have been scattered and relatively small in size. Having said that I just heard about a report from Capt. Dick Russell fishing on his boat “the brute”. Capt Dick reeled in a 48.5 lb Dolphin (mahi-mahi) in 500′ of water offshore Ft Lauderdale. April and May should also be better than normal for Sailfish as our longer  and colder than normal winter will have pushed more Sailfish south to the keys. These fish will be heading back north as well.

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Rupe Spraul (14) holds up a hard fighting Blackfin Tuna he caught.

Ft. Lauderdale fishing forecast – March -

March 1st, 2010 by jeffS


Looks like the winter fishing pattern will continue into the beginning of March. Another cold front has just passed through South Florida dropping our air temperatures once again. This season has has been the coldest with the most fronts passing our way that I can remember in quite sometime. This all bodes well for the Sailfisherman as the numbers of  billfish in our area will remain high as they remain in our warmer waters. They will be shadowing the schools of baitfish including ballyhoo, herring, pilchards, etc. The best action will be just after the fronts pass through and the wind is still out of the north but has started to ease off allowing for a fishable day on the water. The second half of March usually is our transition period when the fronts stop making it this far south and the wind becomes Southeast on a more consistent basis. This marks the beginning of our Springtime action when the gamefish begin to slowly move on a more Northerly path. The numbers of Dolphin (mahi-mahi) Kingfish and others will begin to increase. The strong cold fronts that are arriving in the beginning of March will guarantee there will also be very good Sailfishing as well, all throughout the springtime months. Spindelbeaks like this one caught by William Gardner shown below, will be around in great numbers this Spring as a result of our cold Winter. If you are considering a fishing charter while in Fort Lauderdale the Springtime is hard to beat

William Gardner catches his first Sailfish on his birthday.

William Gardner catches his first Sailfish on his birthday.

The “Lady Helen” Back from major Overhaul

February 18th, 2010 by jeffS


The ” Lady Helen” starts out the new Year with a totally refitted engine room. I have spent the last several months away from fishing and up to my elbows in grease down in the engine room. While I listen to the chatter on the VHF radio about multiple sailfish hookups and Dolphin attacking live baits out on the color change, I am one more turn of the wrench away from hearing the rumble of these rebuilt diesels coming to life. This past Thursday I was finally able to throw off the dock lines and point the ” Lady Helen”  towards the inlet  to begin her first sea trial. The weather was perfect and sunny as it had warmed up from the freezing temps earlier in the week. As we rounded the buoy and headed out the inlet the ocean was calm with a gentle swell. the sun was glistening on the beautiful deep blue gulfstream water that had pushed inshore. I pushed the throttles forward and was again gliding along on “Lady Helen” realizing how much I missed being out on the water
                     Recent work that I completed included gutting the entire engine room and bilge area. The engines were stripped down to bare blocks then hoisted out. The aft bulkhead was removed to allow the fuel tank located under the cockpit to be slid forward and be removed where the engines had been. Then all remaining wiring and plumbing were stripped out. Next the entire bilge area was steam cleaned and freshly painted.                  
Old Yanmar engine getting hoisted from engine room
Old Yanmar engine getting hoisted from engine room

 

Yanmar engine and gear ready for rebuilding.

Yanmar engine and gear ready for rebuilding.

 

Old diesel fuel tank removed through engine room.

Old diesel fuel tank removed through engine room.

The process was now reversed. First the fuel tank had to be redesigned and built with a notch cut out of the bottom in order to fit over the engine stringers. Then the tank was slid aft under the cockpit where it is bolted to the main stringers. I had to cut a piece out of the old tank out in order to remove it from the engine compartment.  Next a new bulkhead was installed between the tank and the engine room. The engine blocks and marine gears were reinstalled on the stringers. Then the remaining engine sub- assemblies were installed along with numerous wiring and plumbing upgrades. Finally as shown in the following photo the project is finished.

                                                                                                                           
Finished engines newly rebuilt

Finished engines newly rebuilt

Big Brothers Big Sisters Of Broward Fishing Tournament

June 12th, 2009 by jeffS


The Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County held it’s 30th annual fishing tournament this past Saturday, June 6th 2009. Fishing out of Bahi Mar Marina located in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. This fishing tournament has been headed up by Mr John Weller since it’s inception 30 years ago. Mr Weller was honored at this years captains meeting for all the dedicated effort he has provided over the years to make this event a success for Big Brothers Big Sisters. This years tournament began with beautiful weather and calm seas. A perfect day for introducing children to the sport of deep sea fishing. Unfortunately the charter boat “Lady Helen” was not able to participate in this years event as she is in the boat yard for a total refit of all systems. Luckily my good friend Brian Stoner of Cape Anne Towing came to the rescue by graciously offering the use of his 34′ Hatteras, “Old Hat” to fill in for the day. Captain Brian and myself picked up our crew of kids and headed out Port Everglades Inlet. Shortly thereafter lines were in the water as we trolled South along the reef line. Anticipation amongst the kids was high as most had never caught a large salt water fish before. This would be corrected in short order as the deep rod went off and a fish was on! Brianna Osmond of Pompano Beach was the first to man the rod and she reeled as hard as she could. Little by little she worked a nice kingfish to the boat for the first fish of the day. The second fish came as the outrigger clip released and line came screaming of the reel. This time a big Bonita had taken the trolled ballyhoo and provided a good fight for Christina Osmond. Once the Bonita was boated and released attention was back to the deep rod as again it was getting allot of action. Jayson Carrol and 10 year old Blaise Osmond each caught a Kingfish. Prior to this Kingfish the biggest fish Blaise had caught was a 6″ puffer fish. It was about time to head towards the dock for the awards ceremony and pizza party. Blaise wanted to try some bottom fishing on the way back so we stoped for a couple of minutes on the reef and caught several bottom fish including a Red Grouper caught by Brianna Osmond. We reeled in the lines quickly and headed in as the sky was getting very dark. We almost made it back to the dock but unfortunately the rain storm caught up with us and we all got a bit soaked. Anyway we all had a great time and I look forward to having the kids back aboard next year.

Christa Osmond fishing with Big Brother Big Sisters

Christa Osmond fishing with Big Brother Big Sisters

 

Brianna Osmond and Grouper caught with Big Brothers Big Sisters

Brianna Osmond and Grouper caught with Big Brothers Big Sisters

Christa Osmond, Jayson Carroll, and Blaise Osmond fishing with Big Brothers Big Sisters

Christa Osmond, Jayson Carroll, and Blaise Osmond fishing with Big Brothers Big Sisters

Wahoo and Dolphin (mahi) top catches in May

May 28th, 2009 by jeffS


Some of the most recent catches brought to the dock aboard the “Lady Helen” included some nice Dolphin and Wahoo. Jud Erway of Deerfield Beach, Florida was the first to grab the rod when a 40lb Wahoo hit a orange and black Illander ballyhoo combination trolled way back behind a big bird teaser. This teaser was causing quit a commotion at the waters surface and when Juds Wahoo came to check it out he couldn’t resist sucking in the rigged bait that followed behind. His Wahoo made a couple of blistering runs before finally coming to the boat and finding a place in the fish box.

Jud Erway holds his Wahoo for the camera

Jud Erway holds his Wahoo for the camera

 Once again the birds were key to finding Dolphin (mahi) this month. On many of the trips that we ventured offshore in search of Dolphin the ocean was void of any sargassum weed. Sargassum weed is what makes up the weedlines that fishermen follow to deploy thier trolling baits in hopes of encountering a school of Dolphin. In absence of these weedlines one must find birds or floating debris in order to increase the chance of locating fish. We were fortunate to have had the help of several Frigate birds to point us in the direction of the hungry Dolphin. After following these birds sometimes for many miles, your patience is usually rewarded with a strike from the fish below that the Frigate bird has been shadowing. Posted below are some of the latest Dolphin (mahi) and Wahoo that were caught aboard the “Lady Helen”.
Alex Stimphil with nice Dolphin

Alex Stimphil with nice Dolphin

Jeff Hophan of Coral Springs landed this cow Dolphin (mahi)

Jeff Hophan of Coral Springs landed this cow Dolphin (mahi)

Dave Katz of Weston, Florida caught Dolphin offshore and kingfish inshore.

Dave Katz of Weston, Florida caught Dolphin offshore and kingfish inshore.

Peg and Don Clifford caught this double header of Wahoo off Ft. Lauderdale.

Peg and Don Clifford caught this double header of Wahoo off Ft. Lauderdale.

 

Ft. Lauderdale Fishing Forecast – May-

May 2nd, 2009 by jeffS


If I had to pick a favorite month to fish in South Florida the Month of May would win hands down. May provides us with some of the best fishing opportunities with the most species of any month of the year. Early in the month we generally see a strong run of Sailfish that are heading north for the summer. These fish have been wintering in the Keys and will provide us with our last really good opportunity to hook up with a spindlebeak. we will always have a resident group of sailfish that call Fort Lauderdale home through out the summer but nowhere near the numbers of the Fall, winter, and spring. The type of fishing that I most enjoy in May is Dolphin or Mahi- Mahi fishing. This month is one of the best months for Dolphin fishing in the entire year. Dolphin will be caught in close live bait fishing as well as trolling offshore. As we move later into the season it will require venturing further offshore to find the dolphin and become more of a hit or miss affair. Also caught while live baiting this month will
be some Blackfin Tunas, Cobias, Mutton Snappers, Groupers, Amberjacks, amongst others. The last week of April brought with it some very windy weather that kept the “Lady Helen” tied to the dock. This strong wind blowing from the East for days on end did bring lots of fish close to shore. The first day we were able to get out and fish we had a non stop bite in 140 ft of water. On a short fishing trip we caught a couple Sails, 5 Dolphin and several Kingfish before heading for the calm waters inside the jetty. The beginning of May is looking good weather wise and the bite is on. Book a trip now and get out on the water when the weather and fishing is the best.

Mark Mineo caught this Sailfish that was heading North for the summer.

Mark Mineo caught this Sailfish that was heading North for the summer.

The Kids Are Catching All The Fish

April 22nd, 2009 by jeffS


Fishing has been getting better as the springtime bite returns to South Florida. I have had the privilege of having some very fine young anglers aboard the “Lady Helen” the past several trips, and they have reeled in some very nice catches to be proud of. Some of the latest trips included Fernando Grecco of Coral Springs fishing with his son Nick and friend Joe McChrystel.  Jake and Lexi Novacek fishing with their parents Tom and Jennifer. Alex Mies fishing with his dad Mike. Justin and Aaron Stolinski along with parents Bruce and Denise. Ally MacConchie fishing with her dad Bruce MacConchie.

Nick Grecco and Joe McChrystel with nice Mahi-Mahi

Nick Grecco and Joe McChrystel with nice Mahi-Mahi

Jake Novacek had himself a good fight on his hands with this big Bonita.

Jake Novacek had himself a good fight on his hands with this big Bonita.

Lexi Novacek had lots of fun reeling up Groupers on the reef.

Lexi Novacek had lots of fun reeling up Groupers on the reef.

Alex Mies and his dad Mike with a limit of Kingfish.

Alex Mies and his dad Mike with a limit of Kingfish.

Justin Stolinsky displays his Kingfish caught offshore Ft. Lauderdale.

Justin Stolinsky displays his Kingfish caught offshore Ft. Lauderdale.

Ally and Bruce MacConchie with a Dolphin (Mahi-Mahi) caught trolling offshore.

Ally and Bruce MacConchie with a Dolphin (Mahi-Mahi) caught trolling offshore.