Top Shot Sportfishing Charters

We had a great week fishing in Fort Lauderdale for Sailfish.  This fishing report is for the charter boat “Happy Day Today” and Top Shot Sportfishing Charters.

February has been a great month of fishing and we have had some beautiful weather.

During the winter months we tend to kite fish more than in summer months.  This is because of easterly winds blowing 10 to 15 mph.  Kite fishing is an excellent method which is flying two kites up in air and suspends the baits on the top of the water line.  This allows the baits to splash at the surface which in turn excites predator species.  Kite fishing allows the bait fish to be presented in its most natural state and from the predators view point below a vulnerable meal.   The first mate will maintain the baits whereas not to allow the baitfish to swim too deep and keeping the bait at the surface.  When a pelagic species appears there is an instant reaction from the baitfish swimming frantically trying to escape the predator.  This is the first indication. Additionally we look for a splash, boil, color in the water or the angle of the line heading off in any direction.  This is the critical point in hooking the fish.  The first mate will feed or give the fish line until the timing is right to set the hook.  Depending on which species is attacking will determine how long or soon before we are hooked up and fighting the fish.

To start off the Sailfish run fishing in Fort Lauderdale began on February 15th. Richard booked a half day afternoon charter and he said to us he wanted to catch a Sailfish and was on his “bucket list”.  The mate and I went out to 150’ of water and started live bait kite fishing.   Within an hour and a half we hooked and caught a full grown Sailfish which measured 92 inches.   Richard did an excellent job at the young age of 84 years old fighting this Sailfish. Which was released back in the ocean.  Richard put a big check mark on the bucket list.

The following day the 16th a repeat customer Shem Miller booked a half day morning fishing charter out of Fort Lauderdale with two of his college friends.  We went right to it and before long we hooked and caught the first Sail of the charter.  We were fishing in 135 feet of water when we hooked up and after we released the Sailfish we moved out a little deeper in 165 feet of water.  Looking around the water was electric blue with flying fish and decided to stay put.  Back to kite fishing and a double header popped up in the spread and we had two Sailfish on and jumping in opposite directions.  Both fish were successfully captured and released.  On this 4 hour charter we went 3 for 3, good job Mr. Miller.


February 17th a repeat customer Rusty Howard booked the boat. He fished with my father Capt Tom Zsak over ten years ago.    We had an all day 8 hour and we decided to first troll offshore. The first mate put out a full spread of trolling baits   We fished the drop off in 150 feet of water having steady action.  Ended up catching a box full of Black Fin Tunas and Bonitas.   Once we found an area with pretty blue water on a rip we started to live bait kite fish.
The first fish we hooked was a Mahi Mahi.  But surprisingly no Sailfish   After an hour with no bites we moved out to deeper water.  This was a productive move and hooked a Sailfish.  Rusty did a great job fighting the fish and it turns out the Sailfish was previously tagged.  We submitted the tag and this fish was previously caught and released over 5 years ago.  The release information was provided by the Billfish Foundation.


On February 18th the current was moving fast to the North.  We decided to start live bait kite fishing at the entrance of Port Everglades over the drop off.   All of a sudden our angler Jonathan from Texas noticed a fish charging the live bait, he grabbed the rod, fed the fish and hooked a Sailfish.  This Sail swam deep and ran offshore making multiple jumps.  After a 30 minute battle the fish was alongside the boat. Jonathan did a great job hooking and catching his first Sailfish, way to go!!

On February 19th we had a morning half day fishing charter with Ariane and Maximus from Canada.  The current was still moving at around a knot and a half up the coast line so we worked our way down to the South before setting up the kites.   A big explosion on the short kite bait, the fish took off and we had on a Sailfish.  Maximus did a great job angling and we got the hook out, quick photo and released the Sail.

On February 21st in the morning Roy and Dave who have fished with us before booked a half day charter.  To start out the trip they hooked a Grouper while vertical jigging.  Groupers are currently out of season and after a quick picture released the fish.   The wind was very light so we couldn’t kite fish.  There was a pretty color change in 200 feet of water.   This is where we deployed the live baits from the outriggers.  Slowly moving the baits from deep to shallow water then back out.  The release clip snapped and up came jumping a Sailfish. This fish was caught and released on light spinning tackle.


Same day on February 21st in the afternoon from 1-5pm. Jim from New York was down on vacation and hoping for the memorable fish  By the afternoon hours the wind had picked up and we were able to resume kite fishing.  It didn’t take long before a Sailfish was feeding on the long kite bait.  This was a full grown fish and after a 45 minute battle Jim reeled the fish alongside the vessel, the first mate reached down, removed the hooks and after a quick picture the fish was released back in the water.

To book a fishing charter in Fort Lauderdale contact Capt. Dave Zsak.