Florida Fishing

A Miami Inshore/Offshore Report :

Miami Fishing Report Updated July 22, 2009

Time for a Summer Doldrums fishing report! Yes things are getting hot here in South Florida and maybe a little earlier than normal. Water temperatures are reaching the low 90Õs and in areas where water depths are less than four feet that can be a bit uncomfortable for the fish. Unfortunately much of North Biscayne Bay is four feet or less and Flamingo very similar except that Flamingo does have deeper water in channels and in open water where fish can go to beat the heat. Off shore with deeper water fishing has been more consistent but a fish that normally is very prevalent in July has been nowhere to be found. That fish is the dolphin or Mahi Mahi. At this point you are probably thinking why bother fishing? The answer to that question is simple. We are fishermen and fishermen fish! It doesnÕt matter where your fishing adventure takes you if your mind is in the right place every angler has the chance to get something positive out of each fishing adventure.

In North Biscayne Bay early mornings has produced the best fishing with small tarpon feeding over some of the grass flats in the bay, snook looking to ambush a live bait fished along a shoreline, sea trout, snappers and barracudas feeding over the grass flats. At first light water temperatures maybe as low as 82 degrees but by 10 AM closer to 90. The fish know this so they spend those short few hours stocking up on easy prey before settling down in deeper water or under some shade till things cool off. Late afternoons have been disappointing but there have been some big tarpon that recently attacked some of our large threadfin herring but did not eat the bait on a recent late afternoon early evening charter. On that charter my clients were able to release a few small barracudas, jacks, trout, snappers and small tarpon. The highlight was that 80 pound tarpon killing our bait but not eating it. We did see some snook and other tarpon at lights during the night but the small jacks ate the baits before the snook did. On this trip three generations of one family spent four hours having fun on the boat.

Ocean fishing has been decent with kingfish and lots of bonitos hitting live baits. Dolphins were targeted on these trips but never found. Some bottom fishing produced some keeper sized mutton snappers that made their way into the fish box plus a few amberjacks, sharks, bluerunners and trigger fish that were released. On one charter we had a 100 pound hammerhead shark circle the boat for ten minutes but refused our offerings. Calm conditions made those offshore ventures possible in my 22Õ Pathfinder Bay boat powered by my quite and fuel efficient Yamaha F 225 outboard engine. During all of these trips offshore we had numerous cut offs by kingfish and had other baits crushed and killed to add to the excitement. On almost every trip we saw fee jumping sailfish, sharks and sea turtles.

Flamingo has been a disappointment to me mainly because I like to fish the Park during the summer. Yes it is hot and this year there have been mosquitoes at the boat ramp and some horseflies to deal with but if you wear the right clothing and have some insect repellent on hand the bugs are not a problem. Normally the fishing for snook, redfish, tripletail, sharks, cobia and others is very good during the summer months. This year maybe because of lots of west winds and stormy conditions things have not been the same. I have not had a lot of charters in the Park this summer but I was there yesterday with some repeat clients from up north and had mediocre results. We mostly targeted the waters of Florida Bay and avoided the shorelines where snook and redfish have been active. My clients wanted action and some fish to take home. The weather was nice with a light breeze from the east and plenty of small ballyhoo and pinfish were netted in our bait spot. Off to the first spot where the anglers caught a few keeper trout, ladyfish a shark and a few catfish before the tide ran out and off to the next spot. We were casting Cajun Thunders with either a ballyhoo or pinfish attached to the 1/0 Mustad hook. Next up I thought we might get a bit more serious and try our luck at some small tarpon, snook and redfish but besides seeing an American crocodile, a few rosette spoonbills all we caught was a few catfish and a couple of missed strikes. Off to the next spot where we found a free floating tripletail and caught and released him on a Hook Up lure tipped with a Gulp shrimp. From this spot we hit some more flats and landed a three pound trout a half dozen snappers, some large ladyfish and more catfish before a storm and a passenger that felt ill sent us back to the boat ramp. We did see a large pod of bottlenose dolphins playing a manatee and a few turtles plus countless numbers of birds before the day ended. I am scheduled to fish Flamingo a handful of times during the next seven days and hopefully with more normal weather conditions I will see the fishing get back to the way I expect it.

Here is some info on an inshore flats fishing report:

Report Updated April 7, 2008

The fishing has been good thru March, the one constant we have had is the wind which normally dies @ the 2 week of April. On the days the winds are down and and we can fish around the beaches and Government Cut there have been Tarpon, Permit, Snook and numerous other species. April is the month we switch to Crabs and the Tarpon bite is usually consistent every night. If you have ever read my reports you know I am a big proponent of the Gulp products and during the day they catch fish that Shrimp don’t, so use them if you can.

The Tarpon will be everywhere at Flamingo as soon as the wind dies, April and May are when we start to notice them in the Gulf in more than one area. There are still some Tarpon in the Back country but the wind has effected this in a big way. The Snook fishing has been and will be very good no that the water temperatures are back where they like it. The Redfishing is always good but during the next few months it will produce some schools on top of the flats which is what we all love to do and see. The Tripletails will start to show up in the Gulf as well and these are a bonus while Tarpon fishing. Every day and year that goes by I learn new info which in turn I offer to my clients. One of those thing I hope to capitalize on is the Permit I have found for the last 2 years while Tarpon fishing.

I am part of a corporate group trip today, I have James and his wife Linda onboard and we are starting out in Government Cut. The wind is up around 18 knots, we gave the Cut a shot for while but it was a little to much for Linda. James had caught a couple small Snappers and we decided to move to calmer waters. The bay worked out they caught 20 Trout and a few Barracudas.

Today we are doing the other half of the corporate group and I have Troy, Bruce and Larry. The winds are even stronger this morning taking Government Cut out of the picture. I decided with the other captains in the group to run north to the next inlet which was holding a lot of bait and some big Jack Crevalle. I spotted some birds diving on the way up and checked it out, on the first 20 cast the trio of anglers hooked up on Jacks. They kept me busy running from rod to rod unhooking there fish for about 30 minutes, it’s cardio fishing at it’s best! The Jack bite continues for an hour with a couple big Trout mixed in. I can still here Larry laughing at how incredible it was. we moved to the inlet where Troy had a monster Jack rip the eyelet out of his Rapala X Rap. Troy caught several nice Spanish Mackerel and Bruce had a big Jack hit his plug and come loose. We finished the day Trout fishing catching a handful.

Eric called me and said he wanted to take his 2 young boys Eric and Pete fishing and to concentrate on teaching them and letting them catch all the fish. I said no problem this is a big part of my business! I hate saying this in every report but it was really windy again which in turn muddied up the high water. The tide starts moving 2 hours earlier to the west so that’s the direction we headed. I was looking for schools of Trout, Jacks and Ladyfish for these guys to get the feel of catching fish. We worked on casting and then getting a feel for a Gulp jig on the bottom, it don’t normally take long for the kids to get it. The fish responded and the Jacks,Trout, Ladyfish and Snappers started coming in the boat as well as the wind gust that continued to get stronger. We ended the day Shark fishing but even the Shark didn’t like the wind today. The kids came up and thanked me for a great day without there dad telling them, to this really made my day!

Fort Lauderdale Fishing Report Updated November 20, 2008

Mid-November Fishing Report – Fort Lauderdale Fishing aboard Lady Pamela II

Captain Paul Palucci and I of the LP II headed out of Shallow Harbor in search of Daytime Swordfish looking to eat. On the way out, we crushed the mahi – mahi. The dolphin were ranging anywhere from 10 – 12 lbs. When we hit fertile grounds, we made our first drop and within 15 minutes the rod bent over. We had him on, he took a run, then pulled the hook! After our third drop of the day, the sun started to set. We rearranged for the nighttime bite and on the first drop we fought a 48 incher. Shortly after, we had a double header on. Nice size fish, a 48″ and a 48.5″ . Things were pretty much going as planned, we were getting bites and we weren’t leaving! Paul and I put everything back out and another one ate. After a 30 minute battle, he pulled the hook. Before we knew it, it was 2 AM and to the dock it was.

The next morning we didn’t get to sleep in, we had a full day of fishing ahead of us, literally. Fishing started off slow, not even a kingfish around. We ran to a wreck, made a drop and got a bite! An amberjack ate instantly.

November is taking off! With this 60 degree weather passing through Fort Lauderdale, the sailfish bite is on fire – the best I’ve ever seen. The bite has been consistent, anywhere from 4 – 8 sailfish per trip, leaving anglers extremely happy. On the 11th & 12th of November, I fished the Sailfish Cup out of Miami Beach. We caught a total of 20 fish in two days, coming in second place by 12 minutes. The Sailfish Cup had an impressive two days of fishing with a whopping 388 fish caught surpassing 2007 where the overall fish caught which was 208! That goes to show you fishing has been great.

The Blackfin tuna are offshore ranging anywhere from 10 – 15 lbs and the mahi – mahi weighing in around 20 lbs. Oddly enough, the mahi – mahi bite has been better this month than it was in August when it’s generally prime time to catch those delicious dolphin. Hopefully they stick around a little longer.

Here is some really interesting information regarding Night Fishing:
Summertime arrives with temperatures that are hot and nighttime fishing becomes an inviting proposition. However, fishing your hometown lake at night requires much more preparation than daytime fishing does. That body of water so familiar and friendly during the day becomes foreign and sometimes hostile as darkness descends. With just a little more preparation it can be enjoyed however and the results can be absolutely super. Being pro-active instead of reactive will ensure a safe and enjoyable venture in the darkness of night.

Fishing day or night requires that your boat be properly equipped as per U.S. Coast Guard required equipment.

Personal floatation devices (properly fitted) for each person on board are at the top of the list and should be worn by everyone when fishing at night. Finding someone that has fallen overboard in the daytime is generally easy, but in the dark can be quite difficult. A throwable flotation device is also required equipment and should be in a convenient location.

Off-Shore Life Jacket Best for open, rough or remote water, or where rescue may be slow coming. Provides the best floatation. Turns most unconscious wearers face-up in the water. Inflatable Type I PFD’s have two air chambers and inflate automatically when submerged. Near-Shore Buoyant Vest

Good for calm, inland waters or where rescue is likely to happen quickly. Turns some unconscious wearers face-up in water. Inflatable Type II PFD’s inflate automatically when submerged and are suitable for many rough water uses. Floatation Aid

Usually the most comfortable PFD for continuous wear. Good for calm, inland waters or where rescue is likely to happen quickly. Inflatable Type III PFD’s will keep unconscious wearers face-up in water after inflation. Throwable Device

Good for calm, inland water with heavy boat traffic where help is always nearby. Device can be thrown to the wearer and some can be used as a floatation cushion. Special Use Device

Made for specific conditions and activities and to be used only for the designated use. Some devices only approved when worn. Refer to PDF label on device for limitations on use. Types include boardsailing vests, work vests and hybrid PFD’s.

Bow and stern lights are required and essential equipment on your boat, and they must be lit when visibility is reduced. Striking unseen objects at night is the most often reported nighttime accident and unlit boats lead as those unseen objects. The temptation to venture forth without proper lighting is not only illegal, but also extremely foolish.

A proper and fully functional warning device (horn) becomes a vital piece of equipment in the darkness. It can be used to warn approaching craft as to your presence and also can be used to draw attention in the event of problems arising. Although not required unless off shore, visual distress signals (flares) should be on board.

An approved type fire extinguisher that is currently dated should be onboard and in a convenient and ready location. During a fire is no time to find out that the extinguisher will not function because it is out of date.

A paddle is required, not optional equipment, and again should be in a convenient and accessible location.

Recommended equipment that should be on board would include an anchoring device with adequate line in both size and length for your boat. Deployment of the anchor should occur at the first sign of trouble to keep your boat in its present safe location. Too often then anchor is the last thing thought of and boats end up drifting into dangerous situations. Some sort of bailing device should be on board. Pumps are useless when the battery goes dead. Flashlight and batteries (that have been checked) and spare batteries should be onboard when fishing at night. The one flaw in flashlights is that they seem to fail just when we need them. Check the operation before launching! A radio with weather band capability is not only recommended for day operation but is an essential piece of equipment at night. Those clouds that look harmless that you see floating over can be hiding a serious storm. The whole world could know about it but if you have no means of hearing the warnings you can be caught by natures worst. First aid kit, basic tools, manuals etc. are all recommended.

Navigation tools, which are helpful in the daylight, become absolutely essential for safety at night. Obviously your best choice for nighttime operation would be a GPS. However, a compass would be a considerable assistant in the dark. Not only is everything different out there at night, but also things such as fog can move in with no apparent warning and without a means of determining direction you are dead in the water. With both pieces of equipment that are mentioned above, being completely familiar with their functions is of extreme importance. A GPS is a basically simple piece of equipment but it does take some practice to use it correctly and efficiently. ItÕs a little late to start reading the manual and trying to figure out how the GPS works when trouble raises up to mar your trip. A compass is a very basic piece of equipment, but again to follow a path and navigate with it does take some practice. For example, did you know that when you make an initial turn to the left that your compass would swing right? For someone that has not used the compass this can be very confusing, especially when stress adds to your navigational problem. In addition, a compass only shows direction of travel, not the direction to your destination, so when fishing at night you should already have made the trips during daylight hours so you know the direction you need to go from your fishing spots back to the dock. Not many lakes have sufficient markers to combine with a chart so pre-locating and sticking to those pre-locations for fishing at night is essential for nighttime fishing.

File a fishing plan with someone so that in event something occurs you can be found. Of course sticking to that plan is absolutely a must if it is to have any value. Ideally, when fishing at night, make your plan so that you stay relatively close to the shoreline. However, with practice and experience you can venture further and further out without mishap.

With just a little preparation you can venture out in the dark and have a safe and enjoyable fishing experience. Without this preparation that adventure can turn into your biggest and darkest nightmare. The results can be a simple scare, or quickly turn into total tragedy. It is not uncommon to hear stories of absolute fantastic times fishing at night. Be prepared and have one of those fantastic times.

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