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Rules and Regulations for Bow Fishing in Florida

Written by Capt. Noah on Friday, 07 June 2013. Posted in Fishing Advice

Bow Fishing is incredibly popular in Florida. Anglers delight in the primitive hunting approach that offers a completely different challenge to the traditional hook-and-line fishing methods. We strongly recommend this experience for anyone wishing to catch fish. Before you go acquire a bow and arrow and start practicing your aim, it is important to know the strict rules and regulations that apply to bow fishing in Florida:

License Requirements for Bow Fishing in Florida

The same license requirements apply for bows and arrows as are necessary for other methods of fishing. However, you may need a permit to fish in certain areas so it is advisable that you check with the management of the place where you want to go bow fishing beforehand.

Bow Fishing Area Regulations in Florida

In some areas of Florida, it is illegal to use a bow or crossbow or even to possess them. These are usually places where there are people around and these rules must be obeyed for safety reasons. Weapons such as these are powerful and can inflict severe injury to innocent bystanders, or even kill by accident. Parks, refuges and sanctuaries are obvious places to avoid. If you plan on using a bow in a certain area, please check with the management of the place before you go there.

Freshwater Fish Bow Fishing Regulations in Florida

Many freshwater fish may not be taken with bows and arrows, crossbows or spears. These include all game fish found in freshwater rivers, lakes or dams. Here are some rules to remember:

  • During daylight hours, non-game freshwater fish may be fished with bows and arrows. However, there are safety regulations that prevent you from using this technique in certain places.
    • You may not bow fish anywhere on the Jim Woodruff Dam spillway.
    • Likewise, you are not allowed to use a bow and arrow at the Eureka Dam and Rodman Dam spillways.
    • Bow fishing is also prohibited in the Dade County canals south of C-4 and east of L-31N and L-31W.
  • At night, you may use a bow and arrow to catch non-game freshwater fish provided you use a powerful night light.
    • In the Northwest Region, night bow fishing tournaments do not require a permit.
  • You may not be in possession of a bow if you have any freshwater game fish on your boat. It is illegal to have any fish onboard that are not allowed to be taken with the gear you have with you.

This is a list of the fish you MAY NOT catch while bow fishing in Florida:

  • Bluegill
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Warmouth
  • Redear Sunfish
  • Redbreast Sunfish
  • Spotted Sunfish
  • Mud Sunfish
  • Longear Sunfish
  • Flier
  • Shadow Bass
  • White Bass
  • Peacock Bass
  • Sunshine Bass
  • Striped Bass
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Alligator Gar

If a freshwater fish is not classified as a game fish and it is not fished for sport, then you may use a bow and arrow to catch it. This is a list of the fish that you MAY catch while bow fishing in Florida:

  • Common Carp
  • Catfish
  • Bowfin
  • Eels
  • Pickerel
  • Gar (but not Alligator Gar)
  • Threadfin Shad
  • Gizzard Shad
  • Shiners
  • Tilapia
  • Suckers
  • Topminnows
  • Killifish

Saltwater Fish Bow Fishing Regulations in Florida

There are size and bag limits that apply for various saltwater fish during established seasons. Make sure that you check beforehand what the regulations are for the fish you are targeting. All saltwater game fish and all families of ornamental reef fish are prohibited for bow fishing, but you can catch any other fish outside of these categories.

The following saltwater fish MAY NOT be harvested by bow and arrow:

  • Blue Marlin
  • White Marlin
  • Black or Striped Marlin
  • Sailfish
  • Swordfish
  • Spearfish
  • Spotted Eagle Ray
  • Sturgeon
  • Manta Ray
  • Sharks
  • Tarpon
  • Bonefish
  • Goliath Grouper
  • Snook
  • Blue Crab
  • Spotted Sea Trout
  • Nassau Grouper
  • Weakfish
  • Red Drum
  • Pompano
  • Stone Crab
  • African Pompano
  • Tripletail
  • Permit
  • Lobster
  • Trumpetfish
  • Surgeonfish
  • Butterflyfish
  • Angelfish
  • Porcupinefish
  • Cornetfish
  • Trunkfish
  • Squirrelfish
  • Parrotfish
  • Damselfish
  • Pipefish
  • Puffer
  • Seahorse
  • Triggerfish (except Gray Triggerfish and Ocean Triggerfish – which you may target with arrows)

We strongly recommend that you keep informed of the current rules and regulations regarding bow fishing in Florida, as well as the latest bag and size limits. Florida’s Recreational Saltwater and Freshwater Fishing Regulations are published twice annually. This is specifically so that anglers can keep themselves well educated about the laws involved with recreational fishing. Be sure to keep yourself fully informed.

Call now to book your Bow Fishing Charter in Florida and delight in the primitive experience.

Natural Cures for Seasickness

Written by Capt. Noah on Friday, 07 June 2013. Posted in Miscellaneous

Motion sickness is the body’s natural reaction to being unbalanced and it is directly related to travelling; whether via car, train, bus, airplane, boat, escalator, lift or any other mode of transportation. Seasickness is the motion imbalance that many people experience aboard ships and boats when out on the ocean. It is extremely common and very unpleasant; with sufferers having little or no warning signs and turning extremely pale in a few short moments.

This article is dedicated to helping victims alleviate their symptoms without the need for medication. Natural cures for seasickness are few, but there are ways to overcome this debilitating problem. There are various home remedies available on the internet; none of which have been scientifically proven to cure motion sickness. Once you understand that seasickness is caused by the brain’s reaction to unnatural movement, you can cure seasickness. The only way to do this is to constantly find a rhythm with the motion that puts your brain back in balance with your body. You can acclimatize yourself fairly quickly and effectively “overcome it”. Prevention is the best cure. Here is the most effective guide for overcoming seasickness naturally:

Recognize your symptoms: Your earliest symptoms need to be known in order to react to them and stop them escalating. Everyone experiences different initial symptoms but they are almost always repetitive. Generally yawning and drowsiness appear first. Then victims feel extremely lethargic and experience abnormal tiredness. These early warnings are so often unnoticed because people are already tired from standing watch.

The next symptoms to appear are usually an awareness of the stomach that turns to nausea. Sweating becomes evident, the face pales dramatically and hands start feeling clammy. Other common symptoms are flatulence, belching, salivating and an excessive need to urinate. Concentration becomes extremely difficult and eventually the nausea will come in waves, increasing in frequency until vomiting inevitably occurs. As these attacks continue, they happen with less warning than previously.

React to your symptoms: Do something about your symptoms as soon as you notice them. Walk around and find something to keep you occupied. Reduce visual conflict by focusing on something that is fixed still and not rolling with the waves. By staying amidships or aft you will experience less motion stimulus because pitching and rolling in the waves is less severe there.

There is a technique called “Horizon Viewing”. Use it because it works. Find a place where you have a clear, wide view of the motion around you. This will help your brain to anticipate the motion and your body will respond kindly. Use oncoming waves, clouds, distant sails and the horizon as references.

Go with the flow: If you lie down or lean passively against objects, the motion will be worse and may even toss you around. You will not get better by doing that. Instead, sit upright and relax your body while finding the rhythm of the motion.

Use your chest and neck muscles to keep your head and shoulders balanced over your hips as the boat moves. This is called “Riding the Waves” and it is far easier to do than fighting to hang on. It is also less tiring. When you feel well enough, then stand up and walk around. Find something to do while developing your sea legs.

Talk about it: Do not keep your seasickness to yourself. Communicate your symptoms with the captain and other parties onboard. Seasickness is common and almost everyone has experienced it at least once, probably more. There really is no need to be embarrassed and your captain should know some tricks that will help you. For example, by changing the course slightly the boat’s motion in the waves can be reduced dramatically.

Go on deck: Avoiding visual conflicts becomes easier when you minimize the time spent below. If you start feeling queasy then go on deck. This broadens your visuals and allows you to train your brain to anticipate the motion again.

Set a pace: If you have duties to attend to, pace yourself. You can keep your symptoms under control by taking regular intervals for some “Horizon Viewing” or “Riding the Waves”. Every few minutes (or when you feel your symptoms returning) then take a break. Increase your peripheral vision by expanding your view of the horizon widely.

Think forward: By anticipating your needs, you can keep your symptoms in check. Bring everything you will need with you onto the deck to eliminate the need to return below. For example; rather dress warmly. You can always remove clothing, but you will need to fetch more if you are underdressed.

Abstain from alcohol: Alcohol directly affects your vestibular system. If you are a sufferer and have consumed large quantities of alcohol, then you will soon feel dizzy every time you or the boat moves. We do not recommend climbing onboard if you are hung over from the night before. It is almost certain that you will get seasick.

Keep hydrated and replace lost nutrients: Those who have continual bouts of vomiting will soon feel weak, drowsy, confused and experience apathy. Even if you are feeling queasy, you need to force yourself to eat food in moderation and drink plenty of fluids. Even if you are unable to keep it down, small amounts ingested frequently will reduce the loss of fluids, glucose and electrolytes common with vomiting. You will soon feel better if you can keep yourself hydrated and replace any lost nutrients.

There is a great deal that you can do to prevent seasickness and even cure it once you know its causes. By teaching your “balance brain” to subconsciously and naturally anticipate the next wave, you can control the symptoms. Until you have learnt to adapt, you can use techniques such as “Horizon Viewing” and “Riding the Waves” to help alleviate sickness. Remember that these work best when you catch the symptoms early. If you do get seriously ill, then these guidelines will make the experience less unpleasant and will aid in a fast recovery. The best way to get over seasickness is to go sailing, yachting or deep sea fishing regularly. Fortunately, this is the most enjoyable method of them all.

Fly Fishing in the Everglades

Written by Capt. Noah on Friday, 07 June 2013. Posted in Fishing Advice

The Florida Everglades, Florida Bay and Ten Thousands Islands are inhabited by a variety of unique ecosystems. Fish simply thrive in the multitude of mangrove islands, shallow bays and hidden coves that are fed by freshwater springs. In the western Everglades, shallow flats rise and fall with the incoming tides of the Gulf of Mexico. The numerous habitats in this environment are ideal for some of the most sought-after inshore game fish in the world. These fish and others promise fantastic fly fishing and they will greedily bite on almost any fly.

A myriad of fish species swim in the Everglades; the most frequently targeted being tarpon, pompano, snook, permit, bonefish, largemouth bass, peacock bass and redfish. You can catch all of them with fly tackle, which is possibly the most thrilling way to catch them. We mostly focus on sight-fishing when we are trying to catch fish on a fly. Light-motor boats power quietly through the water, while skiffs pushed with sturdy poles are even less noisy. Much of the time, we search for fish in shallow waters where we can clearly see them. We stalk our prey before we cast for them. They usually take our flies without too much fuss if we have considered their behavior and water conditions carefully.

When fly fishing in the Everglades, it is important to understand the fish you are targeting as well as their essential needs. Your target fish has certain habits that will make it easier to find them. Knowing where to cast your fly can be difficult because it differs depending on where you are fishing. Here are some tips for fly fishing in the Everglades:

Fish Seek Protection

Every living entity on the planet wants to survive and fish are no different. They will always look for protective shelter or cover. Structures such as floating logs, ledges, undercut banks and reeds are perfect hiding places. Deep water, fast-flowing or choppy water and even shade will reduce the chances of a predator seeing them.

Fish Need Food

In the Everglades, the common diet of most fish is insects and smaller fish. As fly anglers, we are interested in locating the insects (because that is what our flies resemble). In order to find the fish, we need to find the insects. Vegetation provides insects with their food source, and vegetation grows in sunlight. Look for areas where the sun reaches the water and you will be able to find vegetation where insects live. The sun cannot penetrate deep water, so avoid fishing there. Shallow, fast-flowing water mostly gets the sunlight needed, and there are always more insects near the banks.

Fish Avoid Currents

As with all animals, fish do not enjoy wasting energy. They prefer slow-moving currents as opposed to faster ones where more energy is needed to move around. On the other hand, they do need food which is mainly found in fast-moving water. This is why fish congregate in seams; which are places where the two different speeds of water meet. Your fish is likely to be swimming comfortably in the slow current and only darting out into the fast current to catch food passing by. For example, rocks break the current and many fish hunt from there.

If you take these factors into consideration, you will be able to find big inshore fish regardless of where you are in the Everglades. You can cast a variety of flies into areas where insects thrive; where fish can get to them easily without expending unnecessary energy or revealing themselves to predators. If you can see the fish, then cast ahead of it and tempt it with your most convincing fly techniques.

Call us to book your Everglades Fly Fishing Charter and experience the magnificent challenge.

Catfish Fishing in the Everglades

Written by Capt. Noah on Friday, 07 June 2013. Posted in Fishing Advice

The Florida Everglades are world-famous for their meandering rivers, shallow flats, streams, ponds, swamps, mangrove shorelines, lakes, hidden underwater coves and other geological water formations. This richness, combined with the tropical climate, creates perfect habitats for various unique ecosystems that thrive in the Everglades. The diversity of life in these waters ensures that all species of fish have a selection of food sources available to them, and catfish are no exception. These fish can grow into true giants here and we catch them excitedly in the Everglades.

There are many ways to catch catfish and there are a variety of species available. Anglers catch these beasts ranging in size from 1lb to far in excess of 100lbs. These whiskered fish survive comfortably in all types of water. They are found inhabiting every watery nook and cranny of the Everglades. Giant catfish seem to prefer rivers and these successful predators are absolutely thrilling when hooked; providing anglers with an inspiring fight indeed.

Catfish are generally bottom feeders, although they will eat floating bait as well. In fact, these hardy fish will eat anything if it will fit into their mouths. They locate their food using their sense of smell; and you need to take full advantage of this fact when fishing for catfish in the Everglades. These are the most popular species of catfish swimming in the Everglades:

  • Flathead Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • White Catfish
  • Blue Catfish

There are a number of tricks that you can use to catch catfish, but the techniques are not complicated at all. Catfish enthusiasts tend to make the mistake of never trying anything new; always fishing in the same place, rigging one particular setup, using the same tried and tested bait and they will never deviate from the technique that caught them that massive Channel Catfish a while back. The reality is that integrating a few new tips into your routine will make you a successful catfish angler. You can catch these interesting fish in the Everglades with any bait, any tackle and any techniques. If one method is not working, then try something else:

  • Regardless of which catfish species you are targeting, you can use practically any bait to catch them. Commercial stink baits, night crawlers, minnows, cut bait, live fish, crabs, crayfish, chicken livers, live baby chicks, lures, flies and even soaps and medicines. However, if you are after giants then we recommend using cut baits. Their sense of smell is so acute that they can smell bodily fluids over vast distances. Cutting your bait will attract every catfish lurking in the area.
  • In rivers, there are pools and rapids where you can find catfish. Where the fast-flowing water has carved the channel deeper, it will have created a depression or hole which is the deepest part of the pool. This is most likely where you will find large numbers of catfish.
  • Rocks, logs, fallen trees, shade, deep waters and other shelters provide protection and some of them cause breaks in the current. You will often find catfish waiting there to ambush any prey that passes by.
  • You can catch catfish while still-fishing and drift-fishing. You can try both of these methods from the bank or from a boat.
  • Ensure your hooks are sharp, or you may have trouble hooking these fish. Use long rods over seven feet in length for the best chances of success. They will help you to cast further and give you more manoeuvrability around cover. They will also give you better control of your bait.
  • Stay alert. Know when a catfish takes your bait. Use bobbers or other indicators to show when your line has a bite on it.
  • Keep your rig simple. One of the best rigs is a lead jig head that has a piece of shad or herring (or any cut bait) impaled on your hook.

Call today to book your Catfish Fishing Charter and be awed by their size and fighting spirit.

Bow Fishing in Florida

Written by Capt. Noah on Friday, 07 June 2013. Posted in Fishing Advice

Bow fishing has become incredibly popular in Florida over the last few years. The sport is growing and many are practicing their archery skills to improve their accuracy. Using a bow and arrow is a very primitive form of hunting and it allows you to interact with your prey on a more personal level. This ancient method dates as far back as the earliest of prehistoric men and it is still widely preferred today. Catching fish with a bow and arrow is completely different to using traditional tackle and gear. Anglers delight in the action, risk, excitement and the additional danger. We highly recommend experiencing some fantastic bow fishing in Florida.

Why is bow fishing popular in Florida?

Using a bow and arrow to catch fish swimming haphazardly underwater is an extraordinary challenge that is absolutely exhilarating. Not only does your aim need to be very accurate, but you need to hit the right spot too. Many of the fish that we are allowed to catch with a bow have exceptional fighting spirit. You need to ensure that the barbs of your arrow stay hooked in the fish while they are trying to get away from you. Pull too hard and you risk the barbs coming out as well. While this is happening, you also need to be exceptionally fast on the throttle of your boat in order to follow your arrowed fish. At the same time, you need to feed out your line and avoid getting it wrapped around structures. Once the fish begins to give up the fight, you can gather your slack line while reeling in the fish.

Where does bow fishing occur in Florida?

In Florida, bow fishing occurs in both freshwater and saltwater. If we head out to sea, we usually use a chum (or other form of teaser) to excite the fish and get them to come closer to our boat so that we can take fair aim. Inshore saltwater and freshwater methods involve using a boat with a quiet electric motor or a skiff that we push around with long poles. We like to keep as quiet as possible in this environment because we do not want to scare any fish away. After all, the idea is to get them to come within shooting range. Regardless of where you are bow fishing, you will require high visibility. You need to be able to see the fish congregating in protective shelters or swimming through the water. For this reason, calm water without ripples is ideal for bow fishing in Florida.

What techniques are used for bow fishing in Florida?

Usually a spinning reel is mounted on the hunting bow – sometimes a storage bottle wound with fishing line. Depending on where you are fishing, between twenty-five and a hundred yards of line should be on your reel. This line is attached to your arrow and ensures you never lose it. It also means that the fish can be reeled in. Many anglers favoring bow fishing prefer to use handlines. It makes the sport more primitive and appealing. Unless you have spectacular archery skills, you are likely to miss more fish than you actually hit. This is how it works:

  • The first thing to do is to locate the fish. You can use a teaser or you can stalk them. Either way, you need to be able to clearly see the fish and get close enough to it to take aim.
  • Once you have a fish in sight, you can aim and release your arrow. If you miss the fish then you need to reel in your arrow and repeat until you hit one.
  • When you hit the fish, you need to release your line so that the fish can run. Make sure that neither the fish nor the line gets stuck in any obstructions that will break the line. An arrow will seriously injure the fish and will probably kill it. This is why it is important to get your fish onto the boat every time you hit one, so try your utmost not to lose the fish (or your expensive arrow).
  • When the fish tires sufficiently, you can reel it in.
  • Depending on the species of fish you have snagged, be very careful when handling it. Stingrays are among the favored species to target and they are incredibly dangerous, as are a variety of others. Some people even target alligators, so make sure that safety is your main priority.
  • Once you have dealt with the fish, release your arrow and repeat the process.

What fish are the most commonly caught while bow fishing in Florida?

Tilapia, mullets, certain rays, gar, drums, sheepshead, catfish, common carp, bowfin, eels, pickerel, shad, shiners, killifish, suckers, minnows and even alligators are targeted for bow fishing. There are stringent rules and regulations in place regarding what fish can be caught with a bow and arrow. Before you go hunting, it is advisable that you be sure of them. No game fish are allowed to be hunted with bows and arrows, regardless of whether they are freshwater or saltwater fish. There are absolutely no exceptions to this rule.

If you are going bow fishing in Florida, you are guaranteed an exceptionally thrilling adventure. However, there are places where it is not acceptable to shoot arrows. These include many parks, refuges and sanctuaries; particularly during their busy seasons. Anywhere where a stray arrow may harm something or someone else must be avoided. Respecting the rules, regulations and safety of others will ensure that bow fishing continues to grow in Florida.

Call now to book your Bow Fishing Charter and discover the most thrilling way to catch fish.

Low Price Guarantee

Written by Capt. Noah on Wednesday, 05 June 2013. Posted in Miscellaneous

About our Low Price Guarantee on Fishing Charters

boat-direct-pricesYou may have noticed that we advertise a "Low Price Guarantee" or "Boat Direct Pricing" throughout our website. This is a fundamental piece of the value we deliver to our customers and is therefore something we take very seriously.

Our low price guarantee applies to private charters booked through us on our website or over the phone and reads like this:

If you find a lower price from any other source on any boat in our fleet we will beat that price by 10%

This means that when you book through VIP Fishing Charters you can always have trust that you are getting the lowest price on the boat that we book you on. We never mark up the price of our trips and you will always pay the same price as if you spoke to the boat's captain or owner directly.

If you have questions about our low price guarantee or if you have found a lower price elsewhere please call us and we will make sure you are taken care of.

We hate fine print, but we also like to be transparent and thorough. There are a few conditions when were are not able to beat a lower price:

  • After the time of purchase
  • When the trip, boat and/or desired time are different
  • When the price has not been advertised or quoted in writing
  • Promotional offers on group deal or flash sale sites such as LivingSocial or Groupon
  • Shared charters
  • Special events, packages, and vacation rentals

How We Select Fishing Charters

Written by Capt. Noah on Friday, 31 May 2013. Posted in Fishing Boats

The VIP Fishing Charters Review Process

As you browse through our VIP Fishing Charters site, you'll see that we list fishing boats for each city we operate in. Although this may appear to be another fishing charter directory site, ours works much differently.

Every boat listed on our site has been scrutinized by one of our fishing charter experts. Most of the time, the review process starts with our current network of guides, captains, industry colleagues, and customers. That means that almost every referral we get, comes from someone we already have a relationship with and trust. We feel that this is the best type of recommendation since our current Captains are vested in making good recommendations that will reflect positively on them.

Once we've identified a charter operation, we then conduct an extensive review of the operation. This includes reading customer reviews online, comments on social media, and reports with trade organizations like the Better Business Bureau. We also employ "secret shoppers" who contact companies on our behalf and sometimes even participate in a charter to get first hand experiences.

Once the review process is complete we interview the Captain, owner and crew and whenever possible conduct an in person boat inspection to make sure the operation is suitable for our clients. We look for operations that meet our requirements for things like:

  • Reputation
  • Professionalism 
  • Tournament Performance
  • Captain & Crew Personality
  • Boat Location
  • Boat Apperance and Cleanliness
  • Safety Equipment
  • Insurance & Licenses

Once a charter operation has made it through the review process we list them on our site and begin referring our clients to them. We continually follow up with our clients after each trip and use the feedback we receive to help make recommendations to other clients in the future. We share client feedback, both positive and negative, to help our operators improve their businesses and enhance the experience of our future clients.

Miami Boat Passenger Limit

Written by Capt. Noah on Thursday, 30 May 2013. Posted in Fishing Boats

Unfortunately, unless a vessel in Miami is authorized to carry more than six passengers by the United States Coast Guard, it may not. There are very few fishing boats that can comfortably transport more than six people and safety is the main priority. USCG safety regulations are in place for good reasons and our Miami Fishing Charters comply with them at all times.

This does not mean that groups consisting of more than six people are unable to experience deep sea fishing off the coast of Miami. We have a great deal of experience with accommodating large groups on our Miami Fishing Charters. There are two choices available to you and we tell you about each of them below:

Head boats, or party boats, are the first option. These boats are bigger than average and can transport more people. We have a 45ft Stapleton in our Miami fishing fleet that is allowed to carry over twenty people, and it does so comfortably. These types of boats typically take everyone drift fishing, which is very exciting. Once everyone is onboard, we take them out to sea where their engines are switched off and the boat is left to drift. Your group can throw their lines over the side and catch tasty, powerful fish such as grouper, snapper, jacks and various sea basses. There is a downside to this option though. Due to the size of the boat and the fact that it is drifting in the water, you will not be able to chase truly exhilarating big game fish offshore. The techniques required to catch them are also impossible to use when fishing this way.

Sportfish boats are the second option. Our Miami fishing fleet has a multitude of these smaller boats on offer and your group can split up and go out on several of them. These boats will allow you to get farther offshore where you can utilize specialized techniques to catch the most thrilling fish of all. These include mahi-mahi, swordfish, sailfish, shark, tuna, wahoo, kingfish and many others. The ability to get further from shore opens up so many options for you to catch large numbers of absolutely fascinating fish. There is a radio on every boat that keeps your group in constant contact, and we have fun and exciting activities to keep your group feeling as one. Our mini fishing tournament is easily the most popular and it involves groups competing against each other from different boats. Usually the goal is to catch the biggest fish, the most fish or a particular species of fish.

If you do not wish to split your group up then we can customize the perfect drift fishing charter for your group in Miami. We recommend choosing the sportfish option if you can. Many more fish can be caught and the experience is far more thrilling. Either way, your Miami Fishing Charter will be an adventure you will remember.

Call today to book your Group Fishing Charter in Miami and experience the adrenalin.

Fort Lauderdale Boat Passenger Limit

Written by Capt. Noah on Thursday, 30 May 2013. Posted in Fishing Boats

There are very few fishing boats in Fort Lauderdale that are allowed to carry more than six passengers. The United States Coast Guard has set this rule to maximize all life at sea, both yours and those already living there. Safety has always been the most important aspect of any deep sea fishing charter, and our Fort Lauderdale Fishing Charters make no exceptions to this rule.

If your group consists of more than six people, then we can still take them out to sea for an explosive fishing adventure. We are highly experienced at accomplishing this with ease and there are two ways that we can do it:

  • Only USCG “inspected” vessels are allowed to transport more than six passengers and we have a 45ft Stapleton in our Fort Lauderdale fleet that meets this criteria. It is authorized to carry over twenty people. This is our standard head boat, or party boat, and is set up for drift fishing. Everybody climbs onboard and we head out to sea where we switch off the engines. Lines are thrown overboard and your group can have an exciting time catching as many fish as possible. Usually they catch fish such as snappers, groupers, sea basses, jacks and others. This does limit everyone in the types of fish that can be caught. Due to the fact that the boat is drifting, it is impossible to chase big game fish offshore. It is also very difficult to use any of the techniques that these fish require.
  • The other alternative is to split your group up and go out on various sportfish boats in our Fort Lauderdale fleet. These boats are smaller and can chase fish farther offshore. They are able to move around and specialized techniques can be used easily. You can catch truly thrilling fish from these boats, including fish such as tuna, swordfish, sailfish, shark, mahi-mahi, kingfish, wahoo and others. The boats are in constant radio contact with each other and we have various activities that will keep your group together. The most popular of these is our mini fishing tournament where groups compete from different boats for the most fish, the biggest fish or a specific type of fish.

We recommend using multiple sportfish boats for groups on our Fort Lauderdale Fishing Charters. There are so many options available to you and you have the opportunity to catch larger numbers of more exciting fish. If you group needs to remain together on one boat, then we can certainly customize the perfect drift fishing charter for you in Fort Lauderdale.

Call today to book your Group Fishing Charter in Fort Lauderdale and experience true adventure.

Fishing Charters in Florida Keys

Written by Capt. Noah on Thursday, 30 May 2013. Posted in Tourist Info

Fishing Charters in Florida Keys

A coral cay archipelago, the Florida Keys is the exposed portions of an ancient reef and they consist of small islands and cays beginning at the south-eastern tip of the Florida Peninsula. About fifteen miles from Miami, the Keys protrude in a gentle arc southward before turning westward towards inhabited Key West. From there they extend to the furthermost key which is the uninhabited Dry Tortugas. They define one edge of Florida Bay and lie along the Florida Straits, effectively dividing the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Gulf of Mexico to the west. Both bodies of water are world-famous for the most spectacular big game fishing happening anywhere on the planet – and you can experience the adventure on our Florida Keys Fishing Charters.

The major industries in the Florida Keys are tourism and fishing. Upland forests, inland wetlands and shorelines make up the natural habitat; which is why tourists visit them in their thousands. Unique ecosystems are thriving, wildlife is protected and there are many conservation parks and botanical gardens. Fishing is phenomenally popular in the Florida Keys. Most locals go out to sea regularly and the abundance of a diverse number of sought-after fish brings visitors in large numbers. Anglers from all over the world dream of the opportunities these waters offer, and many of them make it a reality.

Key West is the most populous city in the Florida Keys. Anglers wishing to experience the city life go there to charter a boat and head out to sea. The Gulf Stream current passes close to shore and the Gulf of Mexico is also nearby. The fishing is explosive in Key West, but there are other keys that are considered veritable fishing hotspots as well. Marathon is well-known as being one of the best places to catch fish in Florida, but Islamorada is the place to be if you want to take advantage of the biggest fishing opportunities, particularly for swordfish and sailfish.

The continental shelf drops very steeply on the Atlantic Ocean side, whereas it is more gradual in the Gulf of Mexico. There are deep underwater canyons, ocean trenches, coral reefs, seamounts and other landmass structures on either side; but if you are on the eastern keys you do not need to travel as far. These are the places where you find big game fish feeding on prey that hides there. The Gulf Stream current is a migratory route used by all the sports fish in these waters and it passes close to the eastern coast of the Florida Keys.

We recommend those in Key Largo take the twenty minute drive to Islamorada. There are nicer boats there and the fishing is generally better. Regardless of which keys you are visiting, you will always be able to catch the world’s most exhilarating fish. Depending on where your are, you may have to take a short drive to reach the best fishing spots or travel a little further by boat to reach the most promising fishing grounds.

Contact us to book your Florida Keys Fishing Charter and exhilarate in the sheer diversity available.

Photo Credit: NOAA

Fishing Trips in Florida

Written by Capt. Noah on Thursday, 30 May 2013. Posted in Tourist Info

Florida is among the most popular destinations in the world for anglers seeking a diversity of big game fish. Not only are there many of the most-sought after fish on the planet in these waters, but there are a variety of ways to catch them. There are also many different places where sports fish can be found and there are numerous options that our Florida Fishing Charters offer our clients.

On the eastern coast of Florida lies the Atlantic Ocean. The Gulf Stream current brings migrating fish of all shapes and sizes close to the shore. You can catch any fish you desire without having to travel far at all. On the western coast of Florida lies the Gulf of Mexico. These waters are extremely deep in places and are home to a myriad of fish as well. Regardless of which direction you choose to go, you will certainly be catching large numbers of exhilarating fish.

Our fishing charters in Florida have many exuberantly satisfied clients. All our trips are private and can be customized specifically for you. You will be able to target the fish you most wish to catch on a day trip with us. You can even catch all the famous fish over the course of several days. Here are the options we offer:

  • Our Half Day Fishing Charters are four hours in length. They are ideal for those limited by either time or budget. This is enough time to catch vast numbers of fish because many thriving fishing grounds are close to shore.
  • Our ¾ Day Fishing Charters take you out to sea for six hours. This is the option that we usually choose ourselves when we go fishing. More choices become available to you with the ability to move around more and get farther offshore. We can chase various fish and play with different techniques.
  • Our Full Day Fishing Charters are eight hours long. These trips get very far offshore and are not recommend for beginners or youngsters. Serious fishing enthusiasts take advantage of this option. You can chase those fish that prefer extremely deep waters that you are unlikely to catch near the shore. The combinations and methods we can try are almost limitless. For those wishing to do some night fishing, this is a very good choice.

On any of our fishing charters in Florida, you will be able to catch fish in different places. Here are some examples and only some of the fish found there:

  • On the flats
  • In deep waters
  • Coral reefs
  • Underwater rocks
  • Wrecks
  • Underwater structures (canyons, seamounts, ocean trenches and ledges)
  • Sargassum weed lines
  • Around floating debris
  • Rivers, canals and ocean inlets

Our Florida Fishing Charters will allow you the opportunity to try various techniques, such as:

  • Troll fishing
  • Deep-drop fishing
  • Drift fishing
  • Kite fishing
  • Dredge fishing
  • Sight fishing
  • Fly fishing
  • Bottom fishing
  • Surface fishing
  • Bait fishing
  • Artificial bait fishing

Departing from anywhere in Florida; our most popular fishing charters leave from Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Palm Beach, Destin and Islamorada. These particular areas offer the highest chance of catching your dream fish and are closest to the most productive fishing grounds. The less time spent getting to these hotspots allows us more time to chase fish, try out techniques and catch as many of the biggest fish as possible.

Call today to book your Florida Fishing Charter and discover the thrill of having so many opportunities.


Best Places for Swordfish in Florida

Written by Capt. Noah on Thursday, 30 May 2013. Posted in Fishing Advice

Swordfish are among the most popular game fish in the world. They are simply enormous, intensely powerful and they ensure an incredible fight. Deep dives and surface jumps occur for hours once hooked and anglers are overwhelmed by the sheer challenge of catching these fish, often begging for the assistance of electric reels. The waters surrounding Florida are a veritable nursery for swordfish and the area is among the top world-wide destinations for catching this billfish. So where are the best places to find them off the coast of Florida?

This question has been much debated amongst local anglers for decades, and there are many opinions about where the swordfish hotspots are. In order to answer this accurately, we need to discuss the topography of the surrounding ocean floor, the spawning habits of swordfish and their feeding needs. Swordfish can be caught anywhere off the coast of Florida; but if you are looking for the fishing grounds with the highest chances of catching them then read on:

Ocean Topography off the coast of Florida

The land does not stop at the water’s edge. It continues underneath the ocean. Mountains, slopes, volcanoes, underwater canyons, coral reefs, ocean trenches, seamounts, abyssal plains and other continental slopes, shelves and land masses are prevalent everywhere. Currents push zooplanktons, fry and various other organisms that form the basis of the food chain into these crevices. This is where they congregate in numbers for safety, shelter and food. Practically every member of the underwater food chain benefits from these places, and swordfish are no exception. They frequent these geographical formations because it is an abundant food source, provides effective shelter and protects the smaller swordfish from their larger predators.

Swordfish Feeding Habits off the coast of Florida

It used to be thought that Swordfish were nocturnal predators. More anglers are now catching them during the daytime. The methods used to catch these fish are different. At night, Swordfish will come to the surface to feed where anglers mostly troll for them. During the daytime, they prefer to remain in deep waters where they are caught by deep-dropping baits with lights attached. This means that you can go to where there are large schools of pelagic fish for night fishing, or you can seek out underwater structures during daylight hours. Wherever you find their prey, you will find Swordfish.

Swordfish Migration Routes along the coast of Florida

Travelling with the major surface currents, Swordfish migrate along the Gulf Stream. This is directly off the coast of Florida and is the reason for the abundance of spectacular game fish in the area. It flows northward along the U.S. Continental Shelf, before going north-east toward the Azores. From there, Swordfish continue in a clockwise direction that brings them back to their spawning grounds in late spring.

Swordfish Spawning Grounds off the coast of Florida

Adults congregate during the months of April and May to spawn. Similar to salmon in that they seem to return to their breeding grounds, they return yearly to the same spots. Their spawning locations are varied; one is about 350 miles east of Trinidad and the other about 550 miles east of St. Maarten. They also spawn in the gaps between the larger Caribbean islands; such as the Mona Passage, the Florida Straits, the Yucatan Straits, the Windward Passage, the Anegada Passage and the gap between Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. This means that Swordfish spawn in the Caribbean and their fry float down-current towards Florida’s east coast and the northern Gulf of Mexico. This is called their nursing areas and they are a few miles off the coast of Florida. Juveniles will remain here for the first two or three years of their lives before undertaking migration efforts.

Now that we understand the behavior of Swordfish, we can work out which are the best places to catch them in Florida. We know that we are looking for underwater structures where we can find their prey. We have learnt that they pass Florida on the Gulf Stream when migrating and we understand there are many juveniles in the nursing areas. This leads us to consider the Florida Keys and the east coast of Florida to be prime locations. These inspiring fish swim in the Gulf of Mexico, but they are much more prevalent on the eastern coast. However, we can narrow it down further.

Ocean topography suggests the continental shelf that runs along the eastern coast of Florida is littered with ocean trenches, underwater canyons and other geographical features. The continental slope drops off sharply and provides very deep waters close to shore. The biggest canyon is closest to Islamorada and the Florida Keys. A few short miles further is another ocean trench infested with prey for Swordfish – and it is closer to Palm Beach and Miami. Fort Lauderdale, Destin and Stuart are also fantastic hot spots; but if you are prepared to travel then you can catch Swordfish from anywhere in Florida.

Call now to book your Swordfish Fishing Charter and thrill in the power of these enormous monsters.

White Marlin Fishing in Florida

Written by Capt. Noah on Wednesday, 29 May 2013. Posted in Fish Info

White Marlin

From the family Istiophoridae comes the White Marlin (Tetrapturus Albidus). These highly migratory fish prefer subtropical and tropical warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Off the coast of Florida, particularly around Key West and the lower keys,  these inspiring fish can be found in the deep waters of the Gulf Stream and the Gulf of Mexico. White Marlin is easily one of the most exhilarating and thrilling big game fish found anywhere on the planet. Respected as an immensely prized catch, sports anglers consider these phenomenal fish to be icons in the sports fishing world.

White Marlin is an incredibly long fish; with massive upper jaws that have the strength to carry elongated bills. Roughly the size of a large sailfish, these animals are chocolate-brown or dark blue in color – as with their cousins the Blue Marlin, but proportionately lighter. Another distinguishing characteristic is that White Marlins have pectoral, dorsal and anal fins that are noticeably rounder than those of the Blue Marlin. Males are smaller than females, which grow significantly larger. They average between 40lbs and 70lbs in weight, but it is not uncommon to catch some over 100lbs. During the warm season, White Marlin will migrate to higher latitudes and they prefer water that is deep blue, in depths over 330ft. In early summer, they will spawn in very deep waters. This usually occurs when they are in subtropical environments.

Although these fish are rare to find and catch, they are not solitary animals. People tend to think they prefer swimming on their own. In fact, White Marlins generally swim in schools of up to eight individuals. Their common diet consists of crustaceans, squid and smaller pelagic fish such as tuna and mackerel. Frequently caught as a bycatch by longline international fisheries targeting tuna, White Marlin is now considered a threatened species. These fish are tasty, but sports anglers rather release them.

The current world record for White Marlin stands at 181lbs and 14 ounces. Possibly the most aerial of all billfish, every pound of them will fight you insanely. These fish are popular because of their scarcity and awesome power. In Florida, anglers hope consistently for the indescribable encounter with a White Marlin. There are a variety of ways to catch these fantastic creatures, the most common of which are trolling and drifting. Here are some tips for catching a White Marlin off the coast of Florida:

Tackle for White Marlin

A heavy spinning outfit or light ocean trolling one will work for White Marlin. 12lbs, 20lbs or 30lbs test will give the best hook-up ratio and provide the most thrilling sport. A graphite rod and reel combo of superior quality is ideal because it allows you to detect subtle movements and offers little resistance. A 60lbs or 80lbs fluorocarbon leader of a length between 6ft and 10ft is a good idea.

Bait for White Marlin

We find squid and ballyhoo to produce the best results, either live or dead. Having said that, you can also use tuna, mackerel, mullet, anchovies, bonefish, blue runners and herring. Although White Marlins have been caught on artificial lures as well, we strongly recommend using live bait and rigging it as simply as possible.

Techniques for White Marlin

In Florida, we troll for White Marlin. Sometimes we cast live bait and drift for them too. These fish are generally surface feeders, but they will take bait at varying depths. When we troll, we often set our lines at different water levels in order to catch any White Marlins in the area. Here are some tips for catching these awe-inspiring fish:

  • Ideally, you want your bait to be at its most attractive and easy to swallow. For this reason, do not opt for massive baits but keep them within biting size. Rig your bait in a manner that offers little obstructions when it comes to devouring it. If your bait is rigged pinless, then that pin will not stick out the wrong way and prevent your catch from taking the bait. If using ballyhoo (for example), rig some to swim and some to skip. The skipping bait attracts the fish to the swimming bait, which is usually swallowed heartily.
  • With other fish, spreading as much different baits as you can yields great results. Not with White Marlin. Keep it simple, with four baits spread at a maximum. These fish are among the fastest in the world and the less bait they have to choose from, the more likely you will see which ones they are going to bite – and you can snag them efficiently.
  • Teasing White Marlin is a sure way to get them to bite. By using a teaser, such as a dredge, you can get them really excited. A dredge creates a fantastic bait ball that attracts these predators extremely well. You can throw naked baits to them when they come up to eat your teaser, because they will pounce on them very quickly.
  • These fish are fast enough to hit your bait without you even noticing. The trick to catching White Marlin is to beat them to the rod. If you see one approaching, you need to be ready and have your rod in your hand by the time they take the bait. Be alert or miss out.
  • When the fish wants to eat the bait, drop back and allow the bait to fall back naturally. Often, you will miss snagging the fish if it bites down on the bait when there is tension on the line. Instead, it will catch the bait sideways and you will be left only with the head. Give the fish the opportunity to bite properly on the bait by feeding it to them.
  • When one of these fish takes your bait, you line will start screaming. This is incredibly exciting and naturally you will want to pull back quickly. Here is some advice: there is enough line on your reel to let the fish run some (or there should be). White Marlins swim in schools, so take it slowly and watch your other baits in the water. Often anglers miss out on numerous potential catches because they were too busy with the one already hooked.
  • Go to them. White Marlins are found far offshore. Although they occasionally come close to shore, they are seldom (if ever) caught there. Be prepared to travel and spend much time onboard.
  • These fish are released, so start using circle hooks. J-hooks often kill them and circle hooks are much safer, giving them a great chance of survival.
  • Have a few extra baits rigged and ready to be dropped. If there are a number of these fish in your spread, then you need all the chances possible to catch them. With White Marlins so frequently biting off the tail ends of your bait, you will need regular replacements that can be deployed quickly.

Call now to book a White Marlin Fishing Charter in Florida and prepare for the ultimate excitement.

Photo Credit: BlueCloudSpatial - Creative Commons

Triggerfish Fishing in Florida

Written by Capt. Noah on Wednesday, 29 May 2013. Posted in Fish Info

Triggerfish Fishing

Belonging to the family Balistidae, there are roughly forty species of triggerfish inhabiting tropical and subtropical waters around the world. Most of these unique fish prefer shallow waters along the coast and can often be found in the coral reefs so abundant off the coast of Florida, particularly those off. Some, like the Ocean Triggerfish, are pelagic and enjoy deeper waters while several smaller varieties are popular in aquariums across the globe.

With oval-shaped, solidly compressed bodies, triggerfish are often marked by lines and spots of various color. Large heads end in small mouths with incredibly strong jaws that are used to crush shells. At the top of the head are small eyes. There are three spines on the anterior dorsal fin that are retracted into a groove, the first of which is the longest and is very stout. In order to allow slow speed movement, the posterior dorsal fins and ventral fins undulate from side to side. Used to escape predators, triggerfish have a sickle-shaped caudal fin. A single spine is formed by two pelvic fins that are mostly covered by a layer of skin, and are only visible as very short rays. Their gill plates are also covered by tough skin and are not visible, being overlaid with rough scales that form a protective armor for the body. The only visible gill opening can be found above the pectoral fins and is noticeable as a vertical slit. A row of four teeth on either side occupy each jaw, but the upper jaw also contains six plate-like teeth.

Triggerfish can erect their first two dorsal spines as a protection against predators. When erected, the short second spine locks the first anterior spine. This can only be unlocked by pushing the second spine, which is called a ‘trigger spine’ for this reason; and is responsible for their name. You can tell by the triggerfish’s unusual anatomy that their typical diet consists of slow-moving crustaceans that have protective shells and spines; such as sea urchins, molluscs, crustaceans and other types of echinoderms. They are also willing to dine on smaller fish and some even feed on algae, while others eat plankton. These fish have displayed signs of exceptional intelligence and have been proven to have learnt from previous experiences.

Notoriously ill-tempered, triggerfish are known to be rather aggressive by nature – particularly when guarding their nests against intruders. Their powerful teeth have bitten many snorkelers and scuba divers who were not paying attention. Due to the fact that the territory they are protecting extends in a cone from the nest toward the surface, it is advisable to avoid swimming upwards when confronted by an angry triggerfish. Rather move away horizontally, out of their territory.

Known bait stealers, triggerfish will also nibble at your bait instead of swallowing it whole. This frustrates many anglers and is why it is so important to use the correct baits and rig them properly. Our Triggerfish Fishing Charters in Florida will show you exactly how to catch these awesome fish successfully. Here is some information to help you catch a triggerfish in Florida:

Tackle for Triggerfish

A light to medium action spinning reel is ideal, along with a 6in or 8in rod. 1/0 or 2/0 circle hooks are absolutely essential. To get your bait down quickly, you need a heavy sinker that makes it more difficult for the fish to steal your bait while it is on the way down. A sinker will also keep extra tension on the line when you are reeling a triggerfish in.

Bait for Triggerfish

Extremely aggressive and ferocious eaters, triggerfish will eat practically any live or cut bait. In Florida, squid is the most popular bait to use and produces the best results. Your bait needs to be tough and small because these fish will nibble off pieces until you are left with just your hook. Thumbnail sized cubes of squid will work well. Remember to cut fish with tough skins and leave the skin on for added durability. Size the bait to the size of your hook and do not bury the tip and barb in the bait. Rather leave it outside. Triggerfish can also be caught on squid flavored, pink colored fish bites.

Techniques for Triggerfish

Specifically targeting triggerfish can be very tricky. These fish inhabit the same habitats where you find snappers, groupers and multiple other species – and all of them will compete for your bait. Here are some tips to use to overcome this:

  • Locate a group of triggerfish first. Start with rigging larger pieces of bait with larger hooks; as if you were targeting snappers or groupers. Combined with a chum bag, your bait will excite every fish there. After dropping your bait a few times, you will notice if you have lost your bait entirely or if it has been nibbled on and there are small bite marks in evidence. If this is the case, then you are probably being nipped at by triggerfish, which means you have found them. Then you need to replace your larger hooks with smaller ones and decrease the size of your bait, using a heavy sinker to get them down quickly. With small hooks and bait, you will start catching them and these fish are not shy of leaders or tackle.
  • Once your bait hits bottom, immediately begin reeling in slowly and steadily. This will allow enough tension to remain on your line for you to feel the exact moment when the fish starts nipping at your bait. Due to the circle hooks being present, it is imperative that you do not jerk your rod when you feel the bite and cause unnecessary slack in your line. Instead you need to start reeling in very fast. If you reel in quickly and keep the line tight, then you will hook the fish if it has the hook point in its mouth. Triggerfish have soft, thin mouths that are relatively easy to hook, which is why small sharp hooks work so well. Any attempt to hook the fish in another manner besides reeling in fast – such as yanking or jerking the rod – will result in failure. You will be slower in moving the hook and give the fish time to spit it out. You will also move the heavy sinker rapidly, which will certainly knock the hook out of the fish’s mouth on its way up or down. By setting the hook with the reel and not the rod, you will have the best chance of consistent success.
  • Similarly to snapper, triggerfish are usually larger higher up the water column. If you have been fishing the bottom for some time with no success, then you can start fishing higher and fish the line as it goes down. Instead of dropping directly to the bottom, stop it higher and go down in stages. You can stop the first time a few seconds after your bait disappears underwater. In a manner similar to slow-jigging, you can lift your rod up and down slowly about three or four times. Remember to keep constant tension on the line, which is why you have to be very slow with your movements. Start reeling at the slightest feel of a nibble. If you have not had a bite, then slowly drop your bait a little deeper. Repeat this technique until your bait hits the bottom. Once there, reel in for a few seconds and start the process over – this time on the way up. When you get about halfway up and have no fish yet, you probably have had your bait stolen. Reel in and put fresh bait on before trying again. If this happens continually, then you either need to downsize your bait and hooks or try elsewhere.

Call today to book your Triggerfish Fishing Charter in Florida and experience the challenge.

Photo Credit: MyFWC via Flickr - Creative Commons: Some Rights Reserved

Spearfish Fishing in Florida

Written by Capt. Noah on Wednesday, 29 May 2013. Posted in Fish Info

Spearfish are members of the Istiophoridae family of billfish and there are three varieties found in different parts of the world. The Shortbill Spearfish inhabits the Pacific and Indian Oceans. These fish are caught throughout the year off the coast of Kona and are consistently caught in this area. They have been reported in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the southern tip of Africa. The Longbill Spearfish prefers the western Atlantic Ocean and ranges from New Jersey to Venezuela. This includes the Gulf of Mexico and is the spearfish we catch in Florida. They have been recorded in the north-central and south Atlantic as well; including off South Africa. Then there is the Mediterranean Spearfish which is exclusively found in the Mediterranean Sea.

In comparison to other billfish species; Spearfish are slender with more lightweight bodies, shorter bills and their anterior dorsal fin is set higher. The vent is also well distanced from the anal fin, whereas in other billfish it is much closer. The bill is significantly shorter as well. In the Shortbill and Mediterranean Spearfish, the pectoral fins barely reach the curve of the lateral line but in Longbill Spearfish, the pectoral fins extend beyond it. In the first dorsal fin of the Longbill Spearfish, there are between forty-five and fifty-three spines. This is a greater number than any other Atlantic billfish although it closely resembles the white marlin. The Shortbill Spearfish has slightly less spines in their dorsal fin (between forty-seven and fifty), while the Mediterranean Spearfish has only between thirty-nine and forty-six. Arching above the pectoral fins, the lateral line is single. Bright blue pectoral fins contain no spots. There are vertical bars across the body but they are not as prominent as in other billfish species, sometimes being barely visible.

Not as well known as their billfish cousins, Spearfish are pelagic ocean dwellers that are found in very deep waters far offshore. These mysterious fish are available throughout the year but are usually too far out of range for most anglers. Preferring to feed at or near the surface, their common diet consists of squid and smaller fish; such as pilot fish, needlefish, flying fish, tuna and dorada. Spearfish are short-lived. They reach maturity at two years and seldom exceed five years in age. These fish are big. The largest recorded Shortbill Spearfish weighed in at 74lbs and 12oz, while a Longbill Spearfish weighed 94lbs and 12oz and the Mediterranean Spearfish record stands at 90lbs and 13oz.

Prepare to travel very far offshore if you wish to catch an Atlantic Spearfish in Florida. These fish are extremely rare due to low numbers and there are very infrequent catches. This is why they are not considered game fish because finding and catching them is not a reliable sport. Those specifically targeting Spearfish are usually attempting to gain the coveted title of a Royal Grand Slam, which requires an angler to catch all the billfish species on the planet. Most Spearfish are caught by anglers targeting other billfish, particularly marlin. However, these fish are phenomenally exciting when they take your line and worth every second of the awesome fight they give. Here is some information to help you catch a Longbill Spearfish in Florida:

Tackle for Spearfish

You can use lighter tackle than you would for other billfish species. Small bullet lures on a 20lb or 30lb test works fantastically. Scale down in size to make the hook-up easier and discourage nibbling. A monofilament or braid leader, with quality deep saltwater rods and spinning reels is adequate.

Bait for Spearfish

The same bait that you use to catch other billfish is highly effective for Spearfish. Scale it down in size to fit your target though. Live bait, cut bait and lures will all work; and often protecting them with a skirt helps to attract Spearfish. The best bait to use is definitely live bait, particularly small tuna and skipjacks.

Techniques for Spearfish

There are a few techniques that you can use to catch Spearfish. Generally they are the same as with other billfish, but you can use lighter tackle. Usually we troll, but they can be caught while fly fishing too. These fish are really fun to tease. Using bait-and-switch methods is a great way to interact with them and offers an excellent hook-up ratio. Here are some tips to help you catch a Spearfish in Florida:

  • Although Spearfish will attack bigger lures, it is advisable to keep them smaller if you are specifically targeting them. If the lure is too big, you may end up chasing these fish away by attracting their predators. A small 7in lure such as the AP can be used effectively in the stinger position or on a far-back long rigger. These fish are not particular as blue marlins are. If there are many squid in the area, you can use purple, silver or blue lures. Otherwise standard colors will work well; being blue, silver, pink and even bright pink.
  • Spearfish are the slowest in the billfish family. Their tails are not a prominent feature and do not propel them at alarming speeds. When trolling lures, slow down to around eight knots. You will enjoy a great deal more action if you heed this advice.
  • Their prey seeks protection in ledges, shelves and other underwater structure. You can often find Spearfish hunting there.
  • Tease them for the ultimate excitement. It is a great deal of fun to bait-and-switch a Spearfish. The hook-up ratio is very high because these fish are aggressive predators. Have a light 20lb outfit ready with live bait already rigged. Tempt them with a small lure and draw them in with a few jet heads before throwing them the live bait. They take the switch extremely well.
  • In order to get a solid hook-up on a lure, you need to play with a Spearfish. They are notorious nibblers and pacers. They will grab the lure and hold on before spitting it out - and repeat this up to seven times before getting bored and moving on. The trick is to use the lure to get them to turn and swim the other way in order to snag them properly. A good way to do this is to implement a short drop-back. When you see the fish coming, grab the line and pull back about two feet behind the reel. When the fish comes in for it, you can drop the line back. It will stop just as they grab it, forcing them to turn their heads and allowing the hook to come tight. This method relies heavily on good timing.
  • If you are fly fishing, troll enticing teasers and then cast to them. This is the most productive way to catch them on flies.
  • The “shotgun” method works supremely well for lures too. These tail biters are often lost because they usually come in, the rod bends and then they let go. The shotgun method cuts out the rod bend. When you see the fish, take the rod out of the holder and point it at the fish. This relaxes the tension in the line and prevents the bait from being jerked out of their mouths, giving them the time needed to take the bait properly.
  • Using live bait produces the best hook-up ratio and the most overall success. Rig a single circle hook through the mouth of your fish and a treble hook in the tail. The treble hook has two functions. The first being that these fish love to bite off the tail ends of your bait and having a hook there is obviously
    advantageous. The second is that the balance created by the single hook and the treble hook in the correct locations helps the fish to swim naturally in the water.

Call today to book your Spearfish Fishing Charter in Florida and catch these rare and elusive fish.

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