Ft Lauderdale Fishing Forecast – April -

April 1st, 2009 by jeffS


As we progress into the month of April we will usually see a dramatic increase in the number of dolphin (mahi-mahi) schools found offshore. We will begin to see more weedlines forming due to the switch to our more prevailing S.E. wind pattern. April will also have it’s share of windy days as well, making it uncomfortable to venture very far offshore in search of the fishy looking areas to deploy the bait spread. These  windy days will be a perfect opportunity for live bait kite fishing at the drop-off to the 3rd reef. This drop-off ouccurs only 1.5 miles offshore making it a good option on windier days. Kitefishing will bring its share of sailfish, as they migrate this month and next. As the bait moves North the predators will be close at hand ready to pick off their next meal. This is also the time of year to find the big cow and bull dolphin in the live bait spread as well. Wreck fishing on any of  Fort Lauderdale’s artificial reefs will be good for Amberjack and barracuda as well.  On my last trip we dropped a few live baits down on a wreck off Hollywood Beach. Brent Longenecker of Springfield, MO  hooked up immediately. After a brief fight I began to see coming up from the depths below the silver outline of a decent size Kingfish. I went for the gaff and when I got back I saw a big slob Barracuda following up the hooked Kingfish. The Barracuda could resist no longer and attacked the hapless King and chopped him clean in half about 3 feet from the boat. I re-hooked the half of Kingfish we had left, and freelined him back down towards the wreck. Sure enough a couple of seconds later Brent is hooked up again , this time to the big Cuda. Brent had all he could handle with this guy but did a great job bringing him to the boat. We carefully lip gaffed the cuda and hoisted him aboard for a quick photo. We then released him and watched him slowly swim off to the wreck below. 

Brent Longenecker with Barracuda he caught wreckfishing off Hollywood Beach.

Brent Longenecker with Barracuda he caught wreckfishing off Hollywood Beach.

  Fishing the bottom for Red Groupers has been very good, but it is difficult to find the keeper size fish. Currently  Red  Groupers need to be 20” to take and most are in the 17”-19” range. These fish are still a great fight and the red hot bite provides plenty of fun for everyone.

Amanda and Brent Longenecker catch Groupers at the same time.

Amanda and Brent Longenecker catch Groupers at the same time.

 

 

                                                                

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Springtime bite heating up in Ft. Lauderdale

March 22nd, 2009 by jeffS


Springtime is my favorite season of the year for fishing in Ft. Lauderdale. Although it is still very early in the season, I have definitely noticed an increase in the numbers of some of our targeted species. As we progress further into the season the action will continue to pick up and become consistent. Kingfishing has already improved as and we catching them on most every trip now. Dolphin Mahi – Mahi are being caught in close to shore as well as offshore when sea conditions allow us to venture out in search of the feeding schools. Blackfin Tuna are starting to move into the area as well. This past week I took out Dan & Carol Bell along with their friends Gayle & Don Banks from Kansas. They were spending the day fishing before boarding Carnival Cruise Lines at Port Everglades for a Caribbean cruise. Dan is a hunting guide back home in Kansas, and provides his clients with some of the best hunting the state has to offer. If you like to hunt check out his website at www.bellwildlife.com  I was especially interested in hearing about Dan’s involvement with Pass It On – Outdoor Mentor Program. Teaming up with Big Brothers Big Sisters Pass It On finds mentors for children who want to experience the great outdoors. Dan and his party had a great day on the water catching Dolphin (Mahi – Mahi) and Kingfish. Fishing around the Tenneco artificial reef off Hollywood Beach, Dan hooked up on a nice Wahoo. Just as the fish came to the surface a few feet from the boat we saw his unmistakable neon blue stripes as he shook his head and spit the spoon back at us while he went on about his way. I don’t know who was more disappointed Dan or I, as I hate to loose one that close to the boat.

Don & Gayle Banks with friends Carol & Don Bell

Don & Gayle Banks with friends Carol & Don Bell

Yesterday the weather was windy and rainy for Kiel Pierce, Tommy Pierce, Greg Cameron and Dwayne Bell. We started out kitefishing off the coast of Ft. Lauderdale in about 350′ of water. A soon after a Dolphin (mahi – mahi) was seen chasing the short kite bait. Out of the release clip the line pops and Greg is hooked up. After a short fight the Mahi is put in the box. A couple of minutes later the short kite bait again gets hit and Greg is on again this time a large Barracuda is landed. After another drift without any hits we decide to troll the reef line. Trolling seems to be the ticket and we put a few Kings in the boat. About this time we decide to head further offshore to look for Dolphin (Mahi – Mahi). Rain is now moving in and everyone is huddled under the hardtop looking for shelter. Of course that’s when the Blackfin Tuna hits. Kiel grabs the trolling rod and fights his fish out in the driving rain. Kiel has the tuna hooked good and he is gaffed and dropped into the box. Tuna steaks are on the menue tonight. We head for the inlet after a great day of  Ft. Lauderdale  fishing.

Greg Cameron holds a big Barracuda he caught kitefishing

Greg Cameron holds a big Barracuda he caught kitefishing

Make A Wish Foundation fishing trip with Jackie Simkin & Dane Hershberg

March 15th, 2009 by jeffS


This past Saturday I had the pleasure of having Jackie Simkin and her fishing buddy Dane Herchberg aboard the “Lady Helen” for a half day of fishing. Jackie had been so kind as to support the Make A Wish Foundation by bidding on this trip at the foundations annual gala. Saturday was another picture perfect South Florida day although a little breezy. Jackie had mentioned that she was a bit unsure of her tolerance to the days sea conditions. After picking up our live bait I suggested we take a look at the mouth of the inlet so she could decide if we would fish inside in the calm waters or go for it on the outside. After a brief look-see just outside Port Everglades inlet we decided to make a u-turn and fish the calm inshore waters instead. We pulled up to one of my favorite flats to slow troll some live pilchards along the sandy edge of the the ships channel. This area is a favorite haunt of hungry barracudas eager to ambush helpless baitfish being whisked by in the strong current. I hooked a live bait through the nose and flipped it behind the boat and handed the spinning rod to Jackie. Before I could get the second rod out I hear jackie let out a scream as the rod bent over and the line began screaming off the reel. Jackie immediately set up on the fish and just as she did the line went slack. She learned the first lesson in live bait fishing and that is you must allow the fish time to catch the live bait and then eat it before setting up on it. Luckily the bite was on and we were hooked up again as soon as the next bait hit the water. After a couple of misses both Jackie and Dane got the technique down pat and began bringing fish after fish into the boat for a quick photo and release back to the channel below. Jackie, Dane and myself all enjoyed a great day on the water while benefiting a good cause at the same time. I look forward to the next opportunity to fish with Jackie and Dane in the future.

Jacki Simkin holds her toothy barracuda for the camera

Jacki Simkin holds her toothy barracuda for the camera

First sailfish for Mike Mottram

March 8th, 2009 by jeffS


This past Friday I had the pleasure of taking out a party of four friends from New England, Bill Shea, Mike Harris, Mike Mottram, and Mike Castello. The wind was straight out of the East at around 18 kts. and the seas were 4-6 foot. The group was game and we set off for the inlet. Luckily when heading straight into the wind there is no sea spray blowing across the boat and we all managed to keep dry on the ride out. We stopped in about 250′ of water and set out the spread of live baits. The kite was set up first with two goggel-eyes suspended at the waters surface. Then a couple of spinning rods were pinned with pilchards and drifted out on the upwind side of the boat. A deep bait was dropped to complete the spread and we were ready for action. Not long thereafter I hear bill who was watching the bow spinning rod yell fish on! He was hooked up to a good sized fish that was pulling off a lot of line from the reel. To Bill’s dismay the line went limp shortly thereafter. On further inspection we discovered the wire leader had been cut through by a toothy fish probably a big kingfish or shark. Not long after this the deep rod gets hit but he doesn’t get hooked and makes off with our bait. Looks like the kingfish are back for the Spring run and this is good to see. It doesn’t take long for the next hit to come as once again Bill is hooked up on the bow spinner, this time we see a nice dolphin (mahi-mahi) jumping about 30 yards from the boat this fish is hooked real good and Bill does a good job of bringing it to the gaff. The action is good but I notice the 4-6 seas are having an effect on at least one in the group. The one thing I know that can stop a bout of seasickness real fast ( if for only a short period of time ) is having a sailfish take off with one of your kite baits. That’s exactly what we saw as the unmistakable image of a big hungry sailfish engulfs one of the hapless goggel-eyes at the waters surface. The line pops from the release clip and the fight is on. Mike Mottram is closest to the rod and puts on the fighting belt. Mike’s fish puts on a great show for us as it jumps and tail walks across the waters surface. We clear the remaining lines and watch Mike work the fish towards the boat. A short time later mikes fish is getting close to the boat. As I try to grab his bill to bring him aboard he gets a second wind and I have to let him go as he leaps out of my grip and temporarily escapes. Luckily on the second try I get two hands on the bill and am able to get him into the boat for a quick measurement and photo. Mikes sailfish measures 84″ and is a real beauty. We put him over the side to revive him before releasing him on his way. After a round of high fives and a couple of beers the group decides the mission is accomplished and elects to show mercy to the ill crew member and head for the inlet.

 

Mike Mottram's first Sailfish

Mike Mottram's first Sailfish

Ft Lauderdale fishing forecast – March -

February 28th, 2009 by jeffS


The month of march is our transitional month in South Florida fishing. The first half of the month generally follows our wintertime pattern of weather conditions as the second half of the month begins the spring season. As the last cold fronts of the year pass through our area Sailfish will be caught, especially when all the best conditions are lined up. Optimal conditions being North current, clear blue water close to the reefline, wind out of the North East, and most importantly schools of baitfish in the area. Last month the first two weeks of February turned out to be the hottest sailfish bite. Multiple hookups were common and on one trip we hooked up six Sailfish in one two hour period. The last two weeks of February it was a struggle to find a single fish. Sailfishing will be good all through the Spring as the sailfish again will be passing through our waters on thier annual migration North.

 

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Springtime also offers more opportunities to venture offshore in search of Dolphin (mahi-mahi). I my opinon springtime Dolphin fishing is some of the best found all year long in South Florida. Dolphin are typically found much closer to shore during the spring season and less time is spent covering open featureless water. The key is  to find a fishy area to deploy the trolling baits. Fishy areas include places where birds are diving at the waters surface, weedlines, current rips, floating debris etc. Springtime brings it’s share of windy days that I think increases the amount of debris found floating as pallets are more likley to fall off ships during times of rough seas.

 

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Kingfishing will also become more consistant as we will begin to get many more strikes as we are live bait fishing at the edge of the reefline. On yesterdays trip George Marr of Ontario, Canada an avid fresh water fisherman landed his first saltwater fish a 20 lb. Kingfish. George was manning the kitefishing rod when the big king came skyrocketing 6 feet out of the water with the live googel-eye hanging out of his mouth. Unfortunately the king didn’t get the hook and swam away with his free breakfast. About 30 seconds later he comes flying out of the water a second time with the short kite bait sucked all the way down and we have him hooked up solid. One of the things I like about kitefishing is that since the baitfish is dangling at the waters surface you get to see the entire action when the fish strikes.

 

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