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, which is flying two kites up in air and suspending the baits on the top of the water line, is an excellent method.  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 predator’s viewpoint, a vulnerable meal.   The first mate will maintain the baits so as not to allow the baitfish to swim too deep and will keep 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 told us that on his bucket list was catching a Sailfish.  The mate and I went out to 150 ft. of water and started live bait kite fishing.   Within an hour and a half, we hooked and caught a full-grown Sailfish, measuring 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 after a quick photo.  Richard put a big check mark on that 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 Sailfish of the charter.  We were fishing in 135 feet of water when we hooked up.  Thereafter, we released the Sailfish.  We moved out a little deeper in 165 feet of water where 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.

On 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 charter, 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, and 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 waters.  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.   Suddenly, our angler, Jonathan from Texas, noticed a fish charging the live bait; he grabbed the rod, fed the fish and hooked a Sailfish.  This Sailfish 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 coastline, so we worked our way down to the south before setting up the kites.   There was 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 on light spinning tackle and was released. 

On the same day of February 21st in the afternoon from 1-5pm Jim, who was down on vacation from New York, booked a charter hoping to catch 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 Sailfish, 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 deep-sea fishing charter contact Capt. Dave Zsak at (954) 439-8106

Fish Species: Sailfish, Mahi Mahi and Grouper
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About The Author: Captain Tom Zsak

Company: Happy Day Today

Area Reporting: Fort LauderdaleFl.

Bio: owner Capt Tom Zsak, Happy Day Today Charter boat in Fort Lauderdale Fl.started in 1980 caption for 35 years

Click Here For Past Fishing Reports by Captain Tom Zsak