Fort Lauderdale fishing report for Top Shot Sportfishing charters and “Happy Day Today”.
Off to a strong start in 2023 with favorable weather conditions and good fishing. We have been catching a variety of pelagic species such as Sailfish, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi and Tuna. Both the morning and afternoon charters have been producing fish with a few more Tuna bites during the afternoon hours. Live bait kite fishing has been producing some Sailfish. Wreck and bottom fishing we are catching Amberjack and Snappers. Trolling offshore and on the reef we are catching some Mahi-Mahi and Wahoo.
Two days past the January full moon we had Wahoo on our minds. We have better Wahoo catches around the full moon and the winter time full moon is traditionally better than other times of the year. The first mate rigged up two of the best Wahoo baits on the market and we started fishing for them on the drop off. As we were heading South on the drop off I started marking fish on the depth sounder. These marks were anywhere from 50 down to 200 feet down. These marks could have been anything from bait fish to pelagic species but certainly a good area. We got two nice strikes, one on the deep planner line and one on the rigger line. Both anglers started fighting the fish and the first one to surface was the planner line, the mate removed the planner and reeled up a nice Wahoo, the first mate reached down and gaffed the Wahoo. Next we worked on getting the second fish in the boat. The fish was moving back and forth and after a good fight the angler brought the fish up along side the boat and the mate gaffed the second Wahoo.
When targeting sailfish we have a few different styles or methods all of which will produce fish. During the winter months when the wind is blowing we will kite fish. This is flying two kites off the back of the boat. One will be positioned to the right and the other to the left and we will fish two baits per kite. This style of fishing is interactive for everyone on the boat. The boat has to be positioned with the bow in the wind. The baits have to be constantly maintained where as the baits are just below the water line and not coming out of the water. Also scanning the spread of baits for any sign of a fish below or around the live baits. When a Sailfish comes up into the spread my best success is to feed the Sailfish until the fish starts to pick up speed then engage the drag to hook the fish. Be on the lookout for multiple fish as they do travel in pairs and larger packs.
The wind had been blowing out of the easterly direction for a week and this will push fish closer to the shore so we decided to target Mahi Mahi. I started trolling in 500 feet of water which is only 3 miles off the coastline. The first mate started putting out a spread of surface rigged Ballyhoo baits, some skirted and some naked. We also fished a deep planner line with a sea witch. As we were heading offshore the weed and floating debris starting to line up in a North and South direction which of course is a where Mahi Mahi will travel up and down the line. Soon as we made a turn heading into the current and facing South the long rigger line got a strike and we had a Mahi Mahi on the line. I continued to work the area picking up another few Mahi Mahi. Back to trolling down the line and there was plenty of visible floating debris. As we approached a floating log the first mate was ready with a spinner and casted out a live bait and soon as the Pilchard hit the water a Mahi came from under the log and crashed the bait. Always a fun fight on spinning tackle and the fish was gaffed and brought into the boat. As we were fishing this line we came across weed patches and some of them had fish feeding under the patches and others did not. I made a pass back through the area with the floating log and the deep planner line got a hit, the angler started fighting the fish and we caught a Wahoo. As we were nearing the end of the charter it was time to start trolling back to shallower water and as we passed over a sunken ship wreck the planner line got a strike. The angler started fighting the fish and we ended up catching a Black Fin Tuna.
Every day has different conditions and depending on the wind and current will determine what species we will target. On this particular day the current was moving in the right direction to wreck fish so we decided to catch live baits, position the boat over a sunken ship wreck. The first mate rigged up a circle hook rig and bridled a live bait, with a sinker to get the bait down to the bottom. The mate hit the bottom and reeled the bait up off the bottom so we do not snag the wreck. As the current moved the boat over the wreck the rod bent over and hooked up to a nice fish. As we brought this fish up we ended up catching a nice Amberjack.