Fort Lauderdale fishing report for the charter boat “Happy Day Today” and Top Shot Sportfishing Charters. 


April is a great month to deep sea fish in Fort Lauderdale.  We are targeting and having some great success with King Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, Sailfish, Tuna, Sharks, and Amberjacks.  When the north current speeds up, the fish start to feed.  I always like a little easterly wind with some chop on the water, which gets the fish up and moving.  Baitfish are also migrating along the coast during these months, which increases the likelihood of seeing Tuna, Mahi and Sailfish.  The warmer water temperatures in Fort Lauderdale stimulate these species and will increase the number of fish caught during a fishing charter in Fort Lauderdale.  The sea conditions are calmer during the spring months compared to winter months, making an offshore fishing charter more comfortable for anglers and crew alike.  


Fort Lauderdale is located along the southeastern coast of Florida where King Mackerel are plentiful due to the warm waters.  Trolling the reef in 100’ to 150’ of water with two deep planner lines with a baited sea witch has been productive for King Mackerel.  The Fort Lauderdale area has an abundance of reefs, wrecks, and structures, which is good for Kings.  Fishing in Fort Lauderdale offers easy access to deeper waters, which is close in proximity to the coastline where Kings migrate.  The Kings have been ranging in size from 8 pound to 15 pounders, and they are known for their powerful runs as well as acrobatic leaps out of the water when hooked.   We are using a variety of colors to see which one gets the fish biting; for example, we will fish a green sea witch when the water color is a darker green or use a darker color sea witch on clear sunny conditions.  Fresh cut strips definitely make a difference, and we are catching more and bigger ones.   Adjusting the speed of boat and trolling at faster or slower speeds can help make the stubborn fish feed.  Kings migrate through the area year-round, which gives anglers the opportunity to catch Kings regardless of the season; however, April and May are the peak times to target them.   

Bottom fishing for Mutton Snappers has also picked up, and these fish are moving along the reef and can be found anywhere from 100 out to 200 feet of water.  Fort Lauderdale has many wrecks, drop offs and structures which is good for Snapper fishing.   Anchoring up or drifting in the current is a great way to target these fish.  Keeping the bait close to the bottom and using fresh bait is key when targeting Snappers.  Mutton Snappers are prized for their delicious taste and can grow to impressive sizes.   We have been losing some Muttons to Sharks and catching most.  Using a circle hook or J hook with light tackle makes for a fun fight.  Depending on the conditions of the day will determine what method is used to target them.  


April, May, and June are three good months for Tuna fishing in Fort Lauderdale.  The close proximity to the Gulf Stream with warm waters are ideal conditions for Tuna.  These fish are traveling along the continental shelf and can be caught in 100 feet of water out to 500 feet of water.  Groups of Tuna will break the surface and can be visible from a distance.  Look out for birds working high above the area, which is a good indication of Tuna activity.  These fish are ranging from 8 to 15 pounds with some fish over 25 pounds.  Tunas are prized for their strong fighting ability, and not to mention they are an excellent fish to eat either raw or cooked.  Tunas have good eyesight, so a little chop in the ocean with cloudy skies will increase the bite which helps hide the line and hook set.  Trolling at a higher speed can also help the Tuna bite.  Using live baits for Tunas is another great method.  Pilchards and Herring work well when fished out of the kite or from the outriggers.  Trolling with smaller lures on the surface and deeper planner line is probably one of the most successful techniques.  What also makes this style fishing exciting is the ability to hook into other species such Mahi Mahi, Sailfish and Wahoo while trolling for Tuna.  


Hammerhead Sharks have been moving through the area, and with the north current, we are seeing these sharks on the surface and deep baits.  They have an excellent sense of smell and can detect a bait from a long distance.  April and May are two very good months when fishing in Fort Lauderdale for Sharks.  In addition to Hammerheads, we are also catching Tiger, Sandbar, and Bull Sharks.  I am using a single large circle hook which sets in the corner of the Shark’s mouth and eliminates the Shark getting gut hooked.  A spread of three baits works the best with one on the surface, one fished at 150 feet of water and the third bait fished at 300 feet of water.  A Bonita cut in half is a tough bait to beat - a Hammerhead Shark will find the scent trail and zero in on the bait.  When a Hammerhead Shark feeds it’s when the excitement begins - the rod will bend over, and the drag will start ripping off the reel.  Anglers will strap in for a fight of a lifetime, which can last over an hour.  

Fishing in Fort Lauderdale during the month of April we have also been having a lot of success with Amberjacks.  We have over a dozen wrecks in the county and these fish will congregate around the shipwrecks.   We are catching these fish anywhere from 100’ of water out to 400’ of water, depending on the depth of the wreck structure.   Using live bait, dead bait or vertical jigging works well when targeting Amberjack.  When the current is heading to the north, I will position the boat just south of the structure, and the first mate will rig a bait and send the bait down to the bottom.  It’s important to bring the bait up off the bottom and not to snag the wreck.  When the fish feeds, the rod will bend over and game on.  This is an important part of the fight as it is the angler’s responsibility to quickly get the fish away from the structure.  Moving the boat ahead of the structure helps the angler in getting the fish away from the structure, as these fish are fighting to get back in their home.  In addition to Amberjack, we are also catching Groupers and Snappers while wreck fishing. 


To book a deep-sea fishing charter in Fort Lauderdale aboard the “Happy Day Today” 52’ Hatteras sport fish contact Capt. Dave Zsak at 954-439-8106  Website:

Bahia Mar

801 Seabreeze Blvd. 

Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316

Fish Species: King Mackerel, Tuna, Snapper, Salfish
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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