Back from vacation from Florida– and have been asked numerous times:
“How was the fishing?”
In a word: Amazing
I only went out two days and both days were some of the best fishing I have ever had…. Both days I went fishing I used a private charter (meaning I was the only person on the boat other than the skipper) for $500 each day– which is less than a boat rental and both of the skippers went out at ~7:00am to catch 500-600 horse eye pilchards!! The fishing strategy of both of these skippers was to throw out a bunch of these pilchards and create their own mini school of bait. I must admit it was pretty exciting when these baits started getting smashed next to the boat.
We left from Dania Beach at a leisurely 9:00am and was fishing on the first reef by 9:20am – pretty nice having the shelf only 2 miles out! We put out four rods with live bait and I put out my trusty 4KG spinning outfit with a Berkley gulp. This first reef was still in the green water and after 10 minutes the only action was my light spinning outfit being smashed by something much bigger than I could turn. We decided to run South to a wreck and on the way ran into a school of dolphin fish with a least 10,000 fish! For the next 60 minutes, it didn’t matter what you put into the water it was going to get smashed. I am guess between both of us we caught 50 fish+ of those we inadvertently killed -about 8 fish which went into the ice chest. I was lucky enough to be using one of the best reels I have had the pleasure to ever cast: an Ambassador REVO –S reel with a 4KG Browning® Fishing Medallion rod. Initially I was throwing an RMG Barramundi lure and but the dual treble hooks was causing too many mortalities (and very scary) so I swapped out to a painted jig head. (no nothing on it – just a jig head) . To give you how hungry these fish were a couple of them were caught with a paper towel on a hook skipped across the surface! By 11am the dolphin fish had clued into what was going and drifted off. 5 minute run to the wreck and back into the water went the 4 live bait rods: two rods on the surface and two on the bottom. Before the two rods even made it the 120’ to the bottom my Calcutta 400 on the surface went off. 10 minutes later a 30lb Kingfish was in the ice chest. By the time this rod was back in the water one of the bottom rods went off and a large black tip shark was being released before that rod made it to back to the bottom a huge snapper smashed the other bottom rod – and so it went for the next two hours. The finally tally was half a dozen large sharks, a couple bite offs, and several large snapper. By two o'clock the heat had really turned on and we pulled up the anchor and were trolling back to rest our weary arms.
We left at 8:00am and ran the 75 minutes to a set of islands in the south end of Biscayne Bay where we sight fished for moving schools of Yellow Jacks. We ended the day catching 30 or 40 barracuda, Jack Caravel, a lemon shark, several mangrove snapper, 4 mutton snapper, raising one tarpon and yes caught about 10 yellow jack (our target species)
It isn’t often I am out fished but between Jay being a super fisherman and not having sight fished before I was clearly taught a lesson this day – and had a blast doing it!
Pretty ironic as one of my fishing buddies did a 5 day trip to the Swains on the great Barrier reef and I managed to out fish him in two days and was still able to go out to one of the best restaurants in the world in the evening!
So would i do it again?
The difficult question becomes if i could only do one of the trips which would it be?
I guess it depends on what is running and what these skippers suggested. In both cases the trips above are the days and the location these two skippers suggested. That is the nice thing about chartering fisherman - they don't want to go somewhere "they" aren't going catch fish therefore are very vested in picking optimal dates/locations.