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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.

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

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.

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.