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Ft. Lauderdale Fishing Forecast – Jan -

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011


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 – March -

Monday, March 1st, 2010


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

Thursday, February 18th, 2010


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

Ft. Lauderdale Fishing Forecast – May-

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009


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.

Ft Lauderdale Fishing Forecast – April -

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009


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.

 

 

                                                                

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Sunday, March 15th, 2009


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

Sunday, March 8th, 2009


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 -

Saturday, February 28th, 2009


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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