Fort Lauderdale fishing report for the charter boat “Happy Day Today” a 52′ Hatteras and Top Shot Sportfishing Charters.
On January 15th Brian and Ginny booked us for a half day morning charter fishing out of Fort Lauderdale. We started the trip trolling the reef in 120′ of water using two deep planners and four surface lines. This is a reliable spread when targeting pelagic species and covering many depths and distance of areas fished. There was a little bit of North current so we were fishing into the current heading to the South. The first strike came on the deep planner line which was no surprise, the long deep planner line is one of my favorite positions in the spread. The planner came up to the surface and the fish was bending the rod and pulling drag. Brian was the angler and he fought the fish and reeled it to the back of the transom, the first mate had a gaff ready and reached down and gaffed the King Mackerel in the head and brought the King into the boat. I continued to fish around an area and had a few marks on the depth sounder. As we were working the drop off and around some rock and ledge structures ended up hooking and catching another 3 King Mackerel. Kings are best known for their speed and powerful runs. This provides anglers with an exciting and challenging Fort Lauderdale fishing experience. King Mackerel can be caught in Fort Lauderdale waters year round with a wide range of fishing spots, including reefs, wrecks and drop offs where they like to congregate. Our next style of fishing was with a kite spread of baits. The boat was positioned into the wind and two kites were fished with two live baits per kite. The live baits are suspended right on the surface of the water and this mimics the behavior of a school of bait fish. The natural movement in the water, whether it is swimming, darting or struggling. This motion is more likely to trigger the instincts of a pelagic fish to eat the bait. Shortly after setting up the spread I noticed a dark large object swimming below the long kite bait. After a making a few deeper circles a Sailfish broke the surface and charged the bait. Making a couple passes on the bait yet each pass missing the bait. This lasted for less than 60 seconds and the Sailfish lost interest and faded back into the water. We were ready for the Sailfish to pop back up on one of the other baits but there was no sign of the Sailfish. A few minutes passed and the live baits started getting noticeably nervous again. Out of the water came a dorsal fin, but this time it was a Shark. He fed on the live bait and we ended up catching a 4 and a half foot Shark. It was fun on light tackle and once we got the Shark to the back of the boat we snapped a quick picture and released the fish. Was it a coincidence the shark was caught minutes after the Sailfish sighting or did the Shark scare the Sailfish away.
On January 17th Andrew and five of his friends who lived in various states in the north east were down in Fort Lauderdale for a bachelor party. With overcast skies and an easterly wind we started trolling a little deeper in search of some larger game fish. Wahoo are predatory fish and will use ambush tactics to catch their prey. Cloudy skies give the predators cover making it easier to attack prey. Choppy seas and wave action encourages hunting behaviors and these fish are more inclined to strike as the bait fish are pushed closer to the surface due to the turbulent conditions. We were trolling up to the north where there are a number of sunken shipwrecks as well as anchored ships waiting to arrive into Port Everglades to either load or unload cargo. What makes this area effective is the bait concentration in and around the anchor chain of the ships as well as the sunken wrecks. We were heading offshore when the deep planner line had a big strike. The rod was violently moving and the drag ripping off the reel. Andrew was the angler and he started fighting the fish and as the fish was getting closer to the boat there was a lot of head shaking and water exploding as the fish was making runs to either direction. Kyle the first mate had the gaff ready and when he had his shot made a perfect shot in the Wahoos head, lifted over the covering board and into the box. The next plan was to head to a spot to try some Snapper fishing. The Fort Lauderdale area has a large number of underwater structures including wrecks, natural reefs and artificial reefs. These structures serve as ideal habitats for Snappers which gives them shelter and areas to congregate. So when we arrived to the area two rods were rigged up with cut bait and sent down to the bottom and almost instantaneously we started getting bites. We were catching mostly Yellow Eye snappers with some Vermillion Snappers. Some of the fish were smaller and we released them only keeping the snappers that were 12 inches and larger.
On January 18th Seth and his son and parents booked us for a half day fishing trip. Similar to the day before we had overcast skies with a north easterly wind. We headed offshore in search of Black Fin Tuna. The first mate rigged the spread of some recent hot Tuna lures and he deployed two deep planner lines and four surface lines. I was seeing a few surface explosions around 400 feet of water so we concentrated the trolling from deep to shallow in this area. The first couple fish we caught were Bonita. They are known be in the same area as the Tunas due to the currents and water conditions. We had a surface line and deep planner line strike at the same time and brought in two Black Fin Tuna. The next two fish we caught were on the deep planner line and they were also Tuna. With an hour and a half left in the charter we decided to make a stop and try for Yellow Eye Snappers. In addition to fishing for Snappers we also sent out some bigger tackle with a dead bait in search of a shark for Seth’s son. The first half hour of fishing we caught a half dozen Snappers. All the commotion in the water from the Snappers and the bait we were using attracted a Hammerhead shark. The shark fed on the dead bait and we ended up with an awesome battle fighting the Hammerhead shark. Once we got the shark to the transom a few pictures then used bolt cutters and cut the hook out of the Hammerheads jaws. It was a safe release and congratulations on the awesome catch. On the way back to the marina the Tuna and Snapper was filleted and bagged for Seth and his family.
To book a deep sea fishing charter out of Fort Lauderdale contact Capt. Dave Zsak at (954) 439-8106.