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Trolling and Live Baiting Producing Offshore

Capt. David Zsak
September 15, 2021
Fort Lauderdale - Saltwater Fishing Report

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

A group of friends from Jacksonville Florida chartered us for a morning deep sea adventure. We left Bahia Mar where the boat is docked and started heading out of the inlet. Nice weather for the day with calm seas and light easterly winds. We started the trip trolling in 200' of water with two deep planner lines that get about 50 feet down and we also fish four surface lines out of the outriggers. There was a light north current and I started heading into the current facing south.

First, we started marking fish on the depth sounder. I made offshore and inshore turns trying to raise the fish into the spread of baits. This area was over a color change and the first line to get a strike was the long planner line. One of the guys fought the fish until the planner reached the rod, the first mate reached down removed the planner, got the fish alongside the boat and gaffed it. Once we got the fish in the fishbox, we resumed trolling. Working that same area, I was fishing from deep to shallow and just as we were making a turn offshore the rod bent over and we got another strike. One of the guys started reeling in the fish and same as before removed the planner, gaffed the king mackerel and into the box. We continued to catch kings and bonita in this area and the guys racked up a total of 8 fish and we decided to move onto the next Fort Lauderdale fishing method.

Brought in the trolling spread and went to an area that we catch live ballyhoo. We use ground up chum and after 10 minutes we had a big school of ballyhoo behind the boat, the first mate loaded up a cast net and with one good throw we had enough live bait.

I started fishing the Fort Lauderdale reef in 125 feet of water. In this area we have drop offs and reef structure that is productive for pelagic species.

The first mate grabbed 5 spinners and sent out a spread of live ballyhoo. Ballyhoo are one of my favorite baits when charter fishing. Everything feeds on these live baits and we had the right conditions, calm seas with light wind and no sea weed. I started working down the reef slowly trolling the live ballyhoo. We fish the baits with on open bail and when a fish strikes the line will freely come off the spool until its time to set the hook.

I was watching the spread when the high line bridge bait started swimming fast in the opposite direction. Quickly moving to the rod I was ready for him. I saw a sailfish starting to feed on the bait, I fed the fish until it was ready to set the hook, started reeling the line tight then a sailfish started jumping and we had him on. This fish made some big runs sounding then coming back to the surface and jumping high in the air. John our angler did a great job with the stand-up spinning tackle. He was properly lifting the fish and retrieving the line. After the sail made multiple runs and acrobatic jumps John fought the fish until the sail was alongside the boat. The first mate reached down and removed the hook, posed for a quick picture then we safely released the fish back in the water to fight another day.

Click to Enlarge Photo

If interested in booking a fishing charter contact Capt. Dave Zsak with Top Shot Sportfishing Charters aboard the 52' Hatteras "Happy Day Today" at (954) 439-8106

Tight lines,

Capt. Dave Zsak

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Fishing on the charter boat "Happy Day Today" a 46' Hatteras sport fish. Everything is included in the charter (all tackle, licensing, ice, coolers, air condition salon and bait) We are a locally based charter boat fishing out of Bahia Mar and have done so since 1980. Offering half day, 3/4 and full day charters. See website at: www.topshotfishing.com

Contact Info:

Topshotfishing Charters
801 Sea Breeze Blvd
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33060
Phone: 954-439-8106
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