We have been executing a few different fishing methods this month: wreck fishing, bottom fishing, inshore trolling and heading offshore trolling targeting Mahi Mahi.
The seaweed has been a big challenge with constantly clearing off the lines and baits. During the months of July and August, seaweed travels along the Southeastern seaboard from the tip of the Keys to North Florida. When the weed is lined up facing north and south and even east and west, it is best to approach the cleaner and offshore side of the weed line. This will allow for clean spreads and properly swimming baits.
The trolling spread has consisted of two teasers, two deep planner lines, two short rigger lines, and two long rigger lines with a pitch bait ready to toss if a fish is in the spread. We fish an additional teaser line adding a string of squids or a daisy chain of lures in the water without hooks. I like arranging a live well with pilchards or Ballyhoos and having a spinner ready to cast out a live bait rig whenever there is a pallet or raft of weed that has formed into a size of a boat. Sometimes, the Mahi will be under the raft of weeds and won’t come out unless there is a live Pilchard swimming around.
When heading offshore, I am always searching for birds, weed lines and any floating debris. When departing from Port Everglades out of Fort Lauderdale, I head anywhere from 120 to 150 degrees offshore, and most times run the boat until we reach 700 or 800 feet of water. Then it’s all about finding the Frigate bird, the floating debris, or the weed line. If the Frigate bird is circling an area, get below the bird and troll your baits until you get a bite, being ready with a live bait to pitch under the Frigate bird - you’ll be hooked up with a Mahi Mahi.
I am also trolling the reef for King Mackerel, Bonita, Barracuda, Mahi, Wahoo, Black fin Tuna and Sailfish. Fishing the reef is good action, and planner fishing can be very exciting when the rod is getting constant strikes and hits. I troll over wrecks, reef, and the drop off searching for schools of fish. Once I get a strike, I will work over the area making turns back and forth, trying to get a second and third bite.
Whenever the current is moving to the north, bottom fish will congregate up current and around the wrecks. I will bridle a live bait to a circle hook with a long leader and send the bait to the bottom of the wreck, bringing the bait up 50 feet so as not to snag the wreck and ride the current passing over the wreck. Many times, the fish will feed up current to the top of the wreck, and when we have hooked the fish, I will pull the boat away from the wreck to help get the fish away from the structure.
A combination of live baiting, offshore and inshore trolling and wreck fishing will make for an exciting fishing charter out of Fort Lauderdale.