February is turning out to be a productive month with a variety of species that we are catching on our charter boat and the rest of the charter fleet. The best bites have been Sailfish, Mahi-Mahi, Swordfish and King Mackerel.
The Sailfish bite has been and continues to be good with each cold front, the Sailfish push down the South East Coastline up from Ft. Pierce down to the Keys. We have been catching Sailfish by a couple of the well know and best methods. If the wind is blowing 10 to 15 mph, we are flying kites with four live baits, two rigger baits, and on the bottom we like to fish a Mutton Snapper bait. Our second method of targeting Sailfish if by slow trolling Ballyhoo out of the riggers, on calm days with no wind, we slow troll 6 live Ballyhoo and one deep bait. Typically the deep bait can produce a smoker King, Wahoo, Barracuda, Grouper or Shark.
The Mahi- Mahi bite offshore is trolling in the depths of 500' to 700' of water. Looking for any floating debris, weedlines, birds, pallets or clumps of weed. The Mahi and Wahoo feed on the bait fish that school under the protection of the floating debris. When heading offshore, we are trolling naked ballyhoo and skirted ballyhoo on the surface and run two deep lines for Wahoo. The deep lines are either Sea Witch with a Mylar plug in front, with a double hooked ballyhoo. Also we do fish a 3 ½ in Done spoon which has proven to be very successful out of Ft. Lauderdale. When we are running offshore the goal is to find the floating debris. Once we find a "fishy" area, then we start trolling around the area first for a good 4 to 5 turns in the area. Then depending on the bite, we switch to chumming and we use live Pilchards to raise the fish that are hanging below the floating debris. Our average catch of Mahi are anywhere from 8 lbs to 12 lbs. Sometimes we are catching the 20+ pounders. The Mahi grow fast and unfortunately the average size fish has been the 7 or 8 pounder. A couple years ago, the average fish was closer to 10 or 12 pounds.
This month for Sword fishing, we have had three charters. Once of which caught a nice 145 pound Sword, the second trip we had one on and pulled the hook. No other bites the rest of the night and the last Swordfish trip we never even had a slashed bait. This is not normal for our February Sword bite. Going over the logs from the last couple years, we were averaging one fish every two trip. Now it seems to drop down to one fish ever three trips. Using the same and different techniques, for example the classic night time swordfishing trip we like most fishermen are fishing 4 to 5 lines depending on the drift and wind. Staggered baits from 100' down to 400' of water using Squid and live bait.
Also we are trolling for Swordfish which has shown to be effective, using lures and rigged squid. We troll into the current then will head offshore to get in deeper water, and back inshore to cover some of the underwater mountains or plateaus. The trolling is fun and another approach to the traditional drifting for Swordfish.
If interested in booking a fishing charter aboard the charter boat "Happy Day Today", please contact us at (954) 439-8106 to further discuss the charter, what's biting and when would be the best time for your charter.
Captain Tommy Zsak
46' Hatteras "Happy Day Today"
(954) 439-8106 mobile