We are starting to see more Mahi Mahi moving through Fort Lauderdale from as close as one mile off the beach.  The easterly winds will move these fish, and they will get pushed in closer to shore.   The size of Mahi is increasing, and hooking and catching a “gaffer” has been more common this fall - trolling works well for targeting Mahi Mahi.  A full spread of surface swimming baits with bridge teasers, deep lines and pitch baits will turn up any Bull Mahi on your spread. 


King Mackerel have also been biting good this fall.  The Kings have been traveling the reef in 100 to 150 feet of water.  Fishing deep planner lines with a baited sea witch provides the best success.  Live bait fishing is also an exciting way to target Kings.  A King Mackerel at full speed hitting a surface live bait can end up with the fish hooked 5 feet up in the air, a large explosion of water and a hooked fish diving deep, or a missed opportunity with the fish getting away. 


The Wahoo bite has been good - we are catching more this November heading into December - the size of these fish can range from 20 to 50 pounds!!  Black Fin Tunas are also starting to show up.  We are starting to see more Tunas fishing offshore Fort Lauderdale, catching them in 100 feet of water out to 700 feet of water. 


The Sailfish bite is also ramping up, and we are catching more Sails as the cold fronts move down the coast.   Cooler air temperatures and north easterly winds are the driving force behind the migration.  We are using three different methods to target Sailfish.  First, as the wind blows, kite fishing is an excellent way to present live baits.  Sending out two kites with live baits will definitely increase the chances of catching a Sailfish.  A bait at the surface makes for easy prey for a hungry Sailfish.  The second method is slow trolling live baits along the reef, bumping them from shallow to deeper water.  This allows us to “narrow down the best depth” of where the fish are traveling.  Third is trolling a spread of dead baits.  This works well when covering ground and searching for a Sail.   All three methods are productive, and there is nothing like seeing a Sail jumping out of the water!!

Below is a quick recap of the last trips we fished. 

Steve booked a morning fishing charter in Fort Lauderdale with his wife.  We started the morning trolling the reef and caught three King Mackerel, which were migrating around a sunken shipwreck.  Next, we headed offshore with a trolling spread of baits in hopes of finding Mahi Mahi; however, we ended up catching a Wahoo in 700 feet of water.  I found an edge and worked this area.  Whenever two bodies of water meet, it creates an edge or rip which is a great area to fish.  The Sail came up first on the deep planner line, then faded back to the rigger bait. The Sailfish fed on the bait, stripped off a lot of drag with lots of acrobatic jumps - It was a great fight!! 

Anthony and his family booked a 3/4-day charter.   First, we trolled the reef and caught King Mackerel, which were in 150 feet of water.  Then we trolled down to a couple of sunken wreck structures.  These sunken shipwrecks hold a lot of baitfish and in turn a variety of different species.   Using a live bait, we sent a treble hook rig down to the wreck.  It didn’t take long before we hooked a Barracuda.  We headed out to a deeper part of the wreck, and using a heavier mono rig, hooked an Amberjack.  After repeating the process, we hooked another 2 Amberjacks. These Amberjacks can weigh 30 to 60 pounds and make for a fun fight.  Trolling a spread of dead baits back up the reef, we caught a Sailfish in 150 feet of water.  After we removed the hook and took a quick picture, we released it back into the water. 

Brian and his group from Boston booked a 6-hour fishing charter in Fort Lauderdale.  The wind had been blowing over the last few days, and the conditions looked right to target Mahi Mahi.  Pretty blue waters and scattered weeds with lots of flying fish is always a good sign when targeting Mahi Mahi.  We ran out until the clean green water met up with a deep blue water color.  The first mate fished a spread of surface baits with a couple of deep planner lines.   The first two fish we caught were King Mackerel.  Then, as we were trolling along this line, we came across a floating object and caught 4 Mahi Mahi’s.  We continued to fish live baits around the floating debris and hooked another 2 smaller Mahi Mahi’s.  The fish were just under the legal size, and we released them.

Curtis booked us for a half day morning Fort Lauderdale fishing charter.  Just as the day before, the wind was blowing, and the guys wanted to target a Sailfish. We picked up some live baits and decided to kite fish. We sent out two kites with 4 live baits and a dead bottom bait.  It didn’t take long for a Sailfish to show up on the right short kite bait.  The angler gave the fish some line then came tight, hooking the Sailfish.  The Sail delivered a great fight with multiple jumps out of the water.  Once we got the fish up to the boat, we removed the hook and released the Sail. 

Rich and his group from Tampa chartered a 3/4-day trip.  The easterly winds were blowing so we decided to kite fish with two kites and 4 live baits and a dead bottom bait.  The conditions were right, and we were feeling very confident a Sailfish would find our live baits.  It didn't take long before two Sailfish popped up.  They both fed on the live baits and started swimming off.  Our two anglers fed the Sails some line then came tight hooking the fish.  It was a pretty epic battle - both fish screaming off line in different directions, jumping all over the ocean.  One by one we got the fish alongside the boat, removed the hooks, and released the Sailfish.  


Matt booked us for a half day deep sea fishing charter.  The Black Fin Tuna bite has not been that good over the last few months; however, we located them yesterday.  We were fishing in 700 feet of water, and I could see some Tuna action on the surface - they will jump out of the water and crash on the fish they are feeding on.  Trolling over the area, I was also marking them on the depth sounder, about 20-30 feet down.  We got bites on the surface rigger lines and the deep planner lines and ended up catching 5 Tunas.  Just a little deeper of where the Tunas were caught, there was some floating debris.  We worked the area catching 4 Mahi Mahi’s (two were keepers) and one Wahoo.  





Fish Species: Sailfish, Mahi Mahi, Black Fin Tuna
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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