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Fishing Advice

Rules and Regulations for Spearfishing in Florida

Written by Capt. Noah on Wednesday, 28 August 2013. Posted in Fishing Advice

Using a spear gun, or throwing any form of sharp object to spear fish, is a disaster waiting to happen; unless you are responsible and follow the Rules and Regulations for Spearing (as stipulated by the Florida Fishing and Wildlife Conservation Commission). The sport of spearfishing is growing in popularity because of the primitive method it offers anglers. You need to swim underwater to get close to a fish without spooking it - if you are going to have any chance of catching it with a spear. So what are the rules and regulations regarding spearfishing in Florida?

  • You may not catch any freshwater fish with a spear. In fact, you are not allowed to possess any spear equipment near a body of fresh water.
  • It is prohibited to spear fish in any waters that are protected by Environmental Protection, Recreation and Parks. All spearing equipment must be safely stored away and remain unloaded at all times when in these areas.
  • Spearing fish is strictly illegal within 100yrds of any public place. This includes public beaches, commercial and recreational fishing piers or anywhere where public fishing and swimming is allowed; such as certain areas of bridges.
  • If any part of a jetty lies above sea level, you are banned from spearfishing within 100yrds of it. The only exception to this rule is if the jetty stretches over 1 500yrds from the shoreline. If this is the case, then you may spear fish near the last 500yrds of it.
  • You may not spear fish in Monroe County; from the north of Long Key all the way to the Dade County line.

When it comes to harvesting or selling fish that have been caught by spearing; anglers need to comply with the same rules that other anglers follow regarding bag limits, size limits, closed seasons and all Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations. In addition to this, there are specific species of fish that may not be hunted with a spear. Ever. If you are caught catching these fish with spears, be prepared for the consequences:

  • Blue Marlin
  • White Marlin
  • Sailfish
  • Swordfish
  • Spearfish
  • Spotted Eagle Ray
  • Sturgeon
  • Manta Ray
  • Sharks
  • Bonefish
  • Nassau Grouper
  • Goliath Grouper
  • Tarpon
  • Snook
  • Spotted Seatrout
  • Blue Crab
  • Stone Crab
  • Red Drum
  • Weakfish
  • African Pompano
  • Pompano
  • Lobster
  • Tripletail
  • Permit
  • Ornamental Reef Fish and their Families
    • Trumpetfish
    • Surgeonfish
    • Butterflyfish
    • Angelfish
    • Cornetfish
    • Porcupinefish
    • Trunkfish
    • Squirrelfish
    • Parrotfish
    • Damselfish
    • Seahorse
    • Pipefish
    • Puffers
    • Triggerfish (you may only catch Ocean Triggerfish and Gray Triggerfish)

Anglers who adhere to the rules and regulations set out by the Florida Fishing and Wildlife Conservation Commission are not likely to ever spear anyone accidentally. They are the future of the sport and ensure it will be allowed in the future. Those that do not comply will ruin the sport for everybody else; do not be among them.

Saltwater Fishing Rules and Regulations in Florida

Written by Capt. Noah on Wednesday, 28 August 2013. Posted in Fishing Advice

There are set rules and regulations in place to govern fish stocks in Florida’s saltwater. The goal is to ensure healthy populations continue to thrive into the future and sustain our need for fish consumption. There are closed seasons for certain fish, bag and size limits, catch and release encouragement, equipment requirements, license free fishing days, angler recognition programs and even plans in place to remove debris from Florida’s state waters. In the Atlantic Ocean, state waters extend to three nautical miles; while in the Gulf of Mexico they encompass nine miles. Further than that, the ocean falls under Federal waters.

  • Some species do not have set bag limits; but you will require a saltwater products license and a registered commercial vessel if catching over 100lbs daily per person. You may not harvest more than the bag limit and recreationally harvested fish may not be sold without a commercial license. The Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations involve complying with bag limits, size limits and available seasons. It is advisable to carry a copy of these regulations to ensure you adhere to them.
  • There are rules regarding the equipment used to catch reef fish. It is essential to use circle hooks that are not stainless steel in conjunction with dehooking devices (which must be blunt and smooth-edged). This is to increase the probability of survival after being caught and released. In addition to this, venting tools are required in the Atlantic Ocean. These are used to deflate swimbladders that are full of gas. The tool must be small, sharp and hollow (such as a 16-gauge hypodermic needle). Signs of an inflated swimbladder include bulging eyes, swollen bellies, stomach protruding from the mouth and intestines coming out of the anus.
  • Most of the fish species inhabiting Florida’s coastal waters are regulated, although some are not. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have implemented standard rules for specific fish. It is advisable that you know exactly what is permitted before you head out to sea.
  • It is compulsory to obtain a Recreational Saltwater Fishing License, unless you are fishing from a charter boat. These are available online, at tax collector’s offices or at registered license facilities throughout Florida. There are non-resident licenses for your holiday, resident licenses if you dwell in Florida, lifetime permits, yearly licenses and permits for vessels and shoreline fishing.

While it is impossible for us to individually list all the regulations pertaining to every species swimming off the coast, it is advisable that you ensure you remain informed about all the rules involved with saltwater fishing. You can download the eRegulations from the Florida Fishing and Wildlife Conservation Commission or visit their website directly.

 

Freshwater Fishing Rules and Regulations in Florida

Written by Capt. Noah on Wednesday, 28 August 2013. Posted in Fishing Advice

In order to keep our freshwater fish populations healthy and thriving, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are authorized to implement rules and regulations as the need arises. You will need to be continually aware of them to ensure that our freshwater fish species survive into the future; and there are Angler Recognition Programs to reward you for your efforts. Any breach of these stipulations will result in a hefty fine, or worse. Before you head off on a fishing trip to any of Florida’s freshwater dams, rivers and lakes; make sure that you are knowledgeable about the latest fishing regulations for the water area you are going to be fishing in. In fact, it is advisable that you carry a printed version with you, along with the required fishing licenses. While some regulations may change yearly, there are set rules that may not be broken.

Some fishing methods are illegal to use for catching game fish, yet they may be legal for non-game fish. We describe them below for you; but under no circumstances may any angler use any of the following methods to catch fish in Florida’s freshwaters. There will be severe consequences if you even attempt to use unauthorized methods such as these to take fish:

  • Unattached devices that float freely
  • Firearms
  • Explosives
  • Electricity
  • Spear guns
  • Poison
  • Chemicals
  • While diving or swimming underwater

Game Fish

There are specific bag and length limits on all freshwater game fish. These fish may only be caught on rods and reels, or poles and line; but an angler may use an unlimited number of fishing rods. Bowfishing, cast nets, trotlines, setlines or any other methods are strictly prohibited. Game fish include the following fish:

  • Largemouth Bass
  • Spotted Bass
  • Shoal Bass
  • Suwanee Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Redear Sunfish
  • Flier
  • Redbreast Sunfish
  • Warmouth
  • Spotted Sunfish
  • Striped Bass
  • White Bass
  • Sunshine Bass
  • Butterfly Peacock Bass

Native Non-Game Fish

While permits are required to catch non-game fish, there are more methods that anglers are allowed to use. These fish can also be caught with bows and arrows, cast nets, trotlines, bush hooks and setlines. However, any method you may wish to use must be legal in the area that you are fishing and comply with their rules. In addition to this, game fish may never be used as bait. These are the non-game fish that are native to Florida:

  • Channel Catfish
  • White Catfish
  • Brown Bullhead
  • Yellow Bullhead
  • American Shad
  • Longnose Gar
  • Bowfin
  • Chain Pickerel
  • Florida or Spotted Gar
  • Alligator Gar (may only be taken by those with a Scientific Collector’s Permit)

All Sturgeons are protected by Federal Laws and in the State of Florida. If you catch one inadvertently, immediately release it back into the water alive and unharmed.

Non-Native Non-Game Fish

Besides Peacock Bass (game fish) and Triploid Grass Carp (stocked for vegetation control); all other non-native fish must be either consumed or disposed of. There are no bag or size limits and they can be caught using any legal method. However, game fish may not be used as bait. These fish wreak havoc on Florida’s freshwater systems and must never be released back into the water. This is a list of them:

  • Flathead Catfish
  • Blue Catfish
  • Jaguar Guapote
  • Mayan Cichlid
  • Oscar
  • Common Carp
  • Yellow Perch
  • Blue Tilapia

These are the Rules and Regulations for Freshwater Fishing in Florida that will never change. Please visit the website of the Florida Fishing and Wildlife Conservation Commission for the latest information.

Types of Fishing in the Florida Everglades

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

There are over three hundred species of freshwater and saltwater fish in the Florida Everglades. Anglers come from all over the world to experience the thrill of catching them in such abundance. Excellent fishing opportunities exist because over a third of the Everglades are covered by water; and there are many unique ecosystems that thrive in thousands of acres of shallow flats, marshes, channels and mangroves in the rivers, dams and coastal inlets. There are myriads of world-renowned game fish swimming in these waters and sports anglers take full of advantage of this.

Snapper, sea trout, grouper, bass, bluegill, redfish, tarpon, snook, redear, great barracuda, catfish, sharks and many other prized fish inhabit the waterways of the Everglades. There are so many fish to catch and a variety of ways that you can catch them. You can fish from a skiff propelled quietly by poles so as not to scare fish away. You can use a light-motor boat for the same reason. You can use live bait, lures, flies, bows and arrows, spears or any other methods to catch fish. You can fish from the shore but access is limited in many places and we strongly recommend hiring a boat and guide.

The Everglades include Florida Bay and Ten Thousand Islands; and these places are all sought-after locations for big game fish. Flamingo Bay, Biscayne Bay, Florida Keys, Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades National Park are the most famous of the many phenomenal fishing spots. The most popular fish to catch are the following:

  • Tarpon
  • Snapper
  • Jacks
  • Grouper
  • Permit
  • Bonefish
  • Sharks
  • Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Peacock Bass
  • Alligator Gar
  • Spotted Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Snook
  • Redfish
  • Redear Sunfish
  • Lady Fish
  • Triple Tail
  • Trout
  • Crappie
  • Striped Mullet
  • Great Barracuda
  • Florida Gar

There are many other types of fish to catch in the Florida Everglades besides the most popular. Here are some of the most populous fish species inhabiting in these waters:

  • Brown Bullhead
  • Bowfin
  • Tadpole Madtom
  • Diamond Killifish
  • Rainwater Killifish
  • Gulf Killifish
  • Bluefin Killifish
  • Least Killifish
  • Coastal Shiner
  • Taillight Shiner
  • Golden Shiner
  • Lake Chubsucker
  • Golden Topminnow
  • Sheepshead Minnow
  • Mosquito Fish
  • Flagfish
  • Brook Silverside
  • Sailfin Molly
  • Spotted Sunfish
  • Bluespotted Sunfish
  • Everglades Pygmy Sunfish
  • Swamp Darter
  • Gray Snapper
  • Crevalle Jack
  • Sheepshead

The Everglades consists of almost every geological formation for fish to thrive in. Gator holes, hidden coves, rocks, deep waters, swamps, shallow flats and mud holes are common. Fish seek protection in such places and congregate there in large numbers. There are miles of slow-flowing waters where fish prefer to hide; only darting into fast-flowing water to catch prey as it passes by. For any level of angler, fishing is a spectacular adventure in the Florida Everglades.

Call today to book your Everglades Fishing Charter and experience the best fishing in the world.

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.

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.

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.

Miami Night Fishing Charters and Trips

Written by Capt. Steve on Monday, 24 September 2012. Posted in Fishing Advice

Night Fishing Charters and Trips in Miami

VIP Fishing Charters offers night fishing trips out of Miami.  We recommend our Miami night fishing charters for adults and more experienced anglers.  Miami night time fishing charters aren't for everybody but they do have their benefits.  Fishing at night in Miami is a good option if you are looking to avoid the heat of the day.  It also gives anglers the opportunity to fish after a busy work day.  There is something very peaceful and calming about being out on the water at night with moon and stars above your head.  The lack of boats out at night is also a nice benefit.  

The majority of our night time fishing charters in Miami depart at dusk and can go as long as you like in to the night.  Popular Miami nighttime fishing trips include wreck and reef fishing, shark fishing, swordfishing, and inshore fishing for snook and tarpon.  We do not recommend nightime fishing trips in Miami for young kids.  Give us a call and we can recommend some good night time fishing charters in the Miami area or check out some of our Miami Fishing Boats.

Miami Fishing Charter Reviews

Written by Capt. Steve on Monday, 24 September 2012. Posted in Fishing Advice

Fishing Charter Reviews for Miami FL

If you are unfamiliar with the fishing charters in Miami it would definitely help with there were some Miami fishing charter reviews.  Unfortunately in todays society unbiased reviews for any service related industry are hard to come by.  The same holds true for fishing charters in Miami.  There are plenty of great fishing charter operations located in Miami, but some are definitely better than others.  We could write unbiased reviews for each fishing charter in Miami but I'd have to install extra locks and my doors at home because I'd probably piss of a few Miami captains.  

If you truly want some Miami fishing charter reviews give us a call and we'll kindly tell you what are thoughts are regarding each deep sea fishing charter offered in the Miami area.  More importantly we can recommend some of the best deep sea fishing captains and boats.  We get feedback from our clients on daily basis so we know how successful each boat is, how the crew treated the clients, and what the passengers thought of the overall fishing charters operation they booked out of Miami.  Click "here Miami Fishing Charters" to see some of our best and most successful charters in Miami and as I mentioned before if you want a review of a specific fishing charter in Miami doesn't hesitate to call us.

Kid Friendly Fishing Charters In Miami

Written by Capt. Steve on Wednesday, 08 August 2012. Posted in Fishing Advice

Family Fishing Charters

Booking a fishing a charter in Miami should be the highlight of a vacation or special occasion especially for the kids.  Any parrent knows that for the family to have a good time, the little kids need to have a great time.  The captains of our kid friendly charters in miami go the extra distance to make sure all of the kids on our fishing trips have a good time. 

The little things make all the difference.  I know a lot of our guides involve the kids in the selection of the color lures and bait they are using.  They instruct and explain to them why they are doing each step of the fishing process and how it's going to help successfully catch fish.  Some of our captain give the children fun nicknames and have expanded their jokes to include kid friendly ones.  Special invitations up to the bridge to help steer the boat is another small but meaningful jester kids love.

Families should not be stressed on a fishing charter, but should be totally relaxed and excited instead.  Parents tend to relax when they have confidence in the crew and the boat.  All over our family friendly fishing trips are on safe reliable boats with captains and crews we would trust with our own families.  Give us a call and we can arrange a fishing charter that fits your families needs.  Check out our pictures and it will be hard to find a photo without some kids with great big smiles on their faces.

Mahia Mahia Fishing in Fort Lauderdale

Written by Capt. Steve on Monday, 09 July 2012. Posted in Fishing Advice

Mahia Mahia Fishing in Fort Lauderdale

Mahia Mahia fishing in Fort Lauderdale (aka Mahi Mahi, Dolphinfish) is a tropical and subtropical fish species that's a South Florida favorite. It's name comes from the Hawaiian words meaning very strong. We catch Mahia Mahia in a variety of different ways, but primarily by trolling. When fishing for Mahia Mahia in Fort Lauderdale we typically use frozen ballyhoo or live baits, but mahia mahia can also be caught using bright colored lures.

Mahia Mahia is a delicious, mild fish that's often served grilled. Our favorite is blackened mahia mahia, which has a salty, spicy kick.

Typically, Mahia Mahia in Fort Lauderdale range from 15 to 30 pounds, but can grow to more than 40 pounds. They are one of the most beautifully colored fish in Fort Lauderdale, and truly in the entire ocean. They feature brilliant shades of yellow, blue, and green, with dazzling specks throughout.

Mahia Mahia fishing charters in Fort Lauderdale are one of our most popular requests, so please contact us if you are interested.

Is deep sea fishing dangerous?

Written by Capt. Noah on Monday, 09 July 2012. Posted in Fishing Advice

Fishing Charter Tips and Gratuity Guide

Deep Sea Fishing is not particularly dangerous, particularly as compared to other action and watersports. The boats and captains are forced to comply with strict United States Coast Guard regulations, that dictate required safety equipment, for boats and training programs, physical testing, and drug testing for captains.

The most common risks of deep sea fishing are actually sunburn and dehydration, both are easily preventable with a bottle of sunscreen and a bottle of water.

Less common risks include, scrapes, scratches, and bruises, allergic reactions, and unlikely but possible: falling overboard.

Children are required to wear life jackets and it is recommended that adults who are not strong swimmers wear life jackets as well. If you are bringing children aboard, contact the captain ahead of time to make sure he has appropriate life jackets for the size of your child.

How much to tip deep sea fishing

Written by Capt. Noah on Saturday, 07 July 2012. Posted in Fishing Advice

Fishing Charter Tips and Gratuity Guide

aventura-filleting-fish

Tips and gratuities on fishing boats have gone from being optional to expected. Many crew members work mostly or entirely for tips and most will work as hard as they can to impress you. Like any gratuity, however, if you receive bad service it is well within your right to withhold some or all of the crews tips.

The customary gratuity is 15-20% of the price of a charter. In other words, $100 for every $500 you spend. If the crew has gone considerably far out of their way for you, you may tip more, just like in a restaurant.

Some people like to associate a gratuity with how much fish they catch. Certainly, if you’re catching a lot of fish that Captain and mate are working extra hard to get the fish in, bait new lines, and filet it back on the dock. Having said that, if you do not catch a lot of fish, it doesn’t mean that the crew wasn’t good or didn’t work hard to make your trip enjoyable. Sadly, there are days where the fish just aren’t biting and that’s why they call this sport fishing and not catching, it's not always the crews fault.

If you don’t catch a lot of fish and are considering an appropriate gratuity, consider how far out of their way did the crew go to try and find the fish or entertain you in other ways. Did the captain move the boat around in search of fish? Did the mate try different techniques, perhaps with different equipment or bait? If the answer is yes, than the crew likely did everything they could, and may have even worked harder than on an ordinary day. In this case it would be appropriate to give them a generous tip.

If, on the other hand, you didn’t catch fish, the crew was sour, or didn’t do anything to try and find the fish, than you probably have a good case for withholding a gratuity.

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