Captain's Log

Log

  • May 24

    Blackfin Tuna Fishing Basics

    Published May 24th, 2020

    This article discusses the basics of blackfin tuna fishing.  Understanding factors such as location, bait selection and fishing tactics will determine the success of an angler.  Learn what to fish, where and how in this how-to article.

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  • Mar 19

    Running a Charter Business

    Published March 19th, 2020

    It was 2011 when I started Double Threat Charters while attending the University of Miami. These were economically uncertain times with fuel reaching exceeding $4 a gallon and the economy still recovering from a recession. Our goal was to offer both deep sea and inshore fishing charters with a motto that “No Fish is Safe.” By targeting anything from the flats to the Gulf Stream, we wanted to be a one stop shop for customers to knock species off their bucket list.  Where to Start? When I looked at other charter businesses It was dreadfully apparent that I was under-gunned financially and in terms of experience. I grew up fishing in Miami but never worked on a charter boat prior to starting this business. Fortunately, I had blind determination and a strategy that is important to small businesses. I wanted to keep our overhead low and focus on marketing so we could get customers through the door. My partner at the time, John Prahl owned his own flats boat ...

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  • Sep 1

    Marine Weather Forecasting Miami

    Published September 1st, 2019

    Marine Weather Miami I've spent 20 years fishing off of Miami. When I started fishing, NOAA radio was the real deal. They also had a phone number where you could call in and get a marine forecast. "Deerfield Beach to Key Largo out to 20 NM." Eventually you could dial up your internet and check the observation. Fowey Rocks was always the most important observation station. The other anemometers were either too far inland or had some type of obstruction.  Photo by Steve Dougherty Forecast vs. Observation There are two important elements when it comes to anticipating the weather for your day on the water. The first obviously is the weather forecast. NOAA was always very helpful but never very precise. Back when I was a "weekend warrior," I would check the forecast and always wake up early and check the winds at Fowey. There would often be a major discrepancy. You could have 10-15 knot winds in the forecast but Fowey might read 25 knots at ...

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  • Aug 26

    Hooker Electric Reviews

    Published August 26th, 2019

    Electric Reels  Hooker Electric came into the market as a small local business trying to engineer a solution to the growing demand for electric reels. Daytime swordfishing specifically created a demand for fast reels with high line capacity. Lindgren-Pitman initially dominated this space because their larger models (especially the S-1200) were already designed for commercial deep dropping. Although reliable, these reels were expensive and a bit sluggish. I would never doubt the efficiency and versatility of the S-1200 but a growing demand for deep drop reels left room on the market for some competition.  Electronics Driven Deep Dropping Era I would argue that braided line and the recreational availability of high-quality depth sounders played a more significant role in the development of deep drop fisheries than electric reels alone. I was born in 1993 and in my short lifetime I have seen the advancement in depth sounders. The average recreational sounder 15 years ago 500khz and could barely read bottom in 1,000 feet.  With the advancement in sounders came they ...

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  • May 1

    Tips for Dealing with Summer Crowds

    Published May 1st, 2019

     1. When headed east on a summer day, it helps to leave a trail of bread crumbs or tortilla chips on the surface. Seagulls can’t resist a fresh Tostito and the flock of birds you leave in your wake are sure to keep the fleet of morons busy. 2. Have a friend drive their car into the water at the nearest boat ramp. It may seem a bit rash but stunts like this slow down the revolving door of idiots entering the water on a calm summer day. Don’t worry, your insurance company should cover most of the damage. Be sure to wear a life vest and never fasten your seatbelt if you plan on dunking your car at the ramp.   3. If you have a lot of followers on Instagram or even consider yourself a “micro-influencer,” it helps to post incorrect fishing reports during the week. To adequately confuse weekend warriors, make sure you lie about depth, target species, and any other relevant details.  4. If you ...

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  • Feb 17

    Live Chumming for Sailfish and Tuna

    Published February 17th, 2019

    Live Chumming Techniques Live chumming is a technique so effective it has been outlawed in almost every major tournament around the world. The technique is simple in theory: catch a ton of bait and throw it overboard while fishing. Proper technique however is an art. Just like any technique live chumming takes practice and preparation to master. Livewell Space and Boat Rigging The first and most important aspect of live chumming is livewell space and rigging. If you intend on live chumming for the day, you better have at least 50 gallons of livewell space. On our boat we actually have 2 75 gallon live wells. We often leave one well stocked with handpicked kite baits such as threadfin herring and goggle eye. The second livewell is where we'll put the chummers if we can catch them. Some boats have 3 or more livewells. For this technique the more livewell space, the better. For equipment we like to use 14 foot cast nets that range from 21-28 lbs. These big nets take a lot of ...

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  • Dec 20

    Ultimate Wind-on Planer Rig

    Published December 20th, 2018

    The Ultimate Wind-on Planer Rig  What to Buy and How to Make it Planer fishing is a tried and true method for trolling baits deep in the water column.  Many anglers utilize planers to troll for mackerel and wahoo, but few are rigging the planers so that they can be quickly detached from the leader.  Here’s a better way to planer fish, and this method can also be used for trolling leads. Why use a detachable planer?   A detachable planer allows you to reel the leader and fish all the way up to the rod tip.  It eliminates the necessity to hand line the fish up to the boat.  This is a major benefit, especially when dealing with larger fish like big mackerel or wahoo.  The drag pressure applied to a fish with the reel is far more consistent than the pressure you apply pulling a fish in by hand.  You can easily pull too hard by hand and pull ...

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  • Dec 20

    History of Tuna Towers

    Published December 20th, 2018

    Tuna Towers: A Modern History In the highly competitive world of offshore sport fishing, the tuna tower is just as much a status symbol as it is a necessity for those who strive to be a cut above their fellow anglers.  It wasn’t until the mid 20th century that the tuna tower made it way onto the fishing scene.  The tuna tower started as a crudely constructed viewing platform, fashioned with both rudimentary construction skills and supplies.  They resembled more of a sailboat crow’s nest often, made with two by four lumber and just big enough to support one person.   The evolution of the modern tuna tower occurred as a result of tuna fishing off Cat Cay in the Bahamas.  Each year, the migratory bluefin tuna pass through the shallow reefs off Cat Cay, attracting big game anglers looking to sight fish these giants.  The first bluefin tournament in Cat was held in 1939.  The strip of sand adjacent Cat ...

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  • Dec 20

    Patience while Saltwater Fishing

    Published December 20th, 2018

    Is Patience a Virtue? Patience and Attitude Patience and temperament are two different qualities. I think all captains benefit from remaining calm and controlling their tempers. Yelling, stomping, complaining, and making excuses do not equate to more fish in the boat. All it does is add stress without a result-oriented approach. Some of the best captains I know are well tempered but many of them are relatively impatient. Off of South Florida we have a wide variety of species we target. If your goal is to put your customers on fish, you can’t rely on one technique year round. Remaining positive and putting forth effort is important but it will only get you so far.  Manage Expectations The first and most important aspect of entertaining guests while fishing is understanding and managing expectations. When I get a phone call for a trip, I like to be honest and clear about what’s biting, what is in season, how the fishing has been, etc. If someone calls me and ...

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  • Dec 20

    Top Trolling Rigs for Mahi

    Published December 20th, 2018

    Trolling rigs for Mahi There are a wide variety of trolling lures on the market. Which ones actually catch fish, and which ones are designed just to catch fisherman? Here are a few of our favorite rigs to pull when we’re targeting mahi. 1. Skirted artificial lures: These types of lures are widely available and catch a variety of fish beyond just mahi. Often times they are rigged and ready to go out of the package. We prefer the smaller sized lures, in the 4-6” range. Colors like a combination blue and white mimic flying fish, a favorite forage of dorado. Pink is also a color that seems to get a lot of bites in the spread. Some of our favorites include the R&R Mahi Magnet which can be found here https://randrtackle.com/collections/mahi-magnets. Feathers fished out of the outriggers and close to the boat will run or skip across the surface and remain relatively free of weeds. Try to position a new lure ...

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  • Dec 20

    Fishing Line Maintenance

    Published December 20th, 2018

    Fishing Line Maintenance We run nearly 300 fishing charters per year. This puts an insane demand on our tackle, our boat, and obviously our fishing line. We have tricks to maintain and maximize the life of all of our equipment and our fishing line is no different. Here are a few tips to make sure you get long life out of your fishing line and avoid losing quality fish due to negligence.  1. Check your guides! Always monitor the condition of the guides on your rods. This is important for both spinning rods and conventional rods. Even the smallest groove or chip in a fishing guide can instantly chafe or break your mainline. Check your guides before and after every trip and be sure to avoid bad habits such as putting rods on the deck, reeling hooks into the rod tip, or placing hooks or lures onto the part of the guides where the line touches. 2. Check your clips! Kite clips and outrigger clips can be major culprits when it comes ...

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  • Dec 20

    Boat Maneuvering While Sight Fishing

    Published December 20th, 2018

    Pick a Spread or Have no Spread At all Boat maneuvering is a crucial component of successful sight fishing. The first step in sight fishing is determining what type of spread (if any) you should have behind the boat. When dolphin fishing for example, we usually troll 4 baits out of the riggers while looking for schools of fish. If we are seeing a lot of fish or there is an excessive amount of seaweed for example, I might make the decision to have no baits behind the boat whatsoever (this is ill advised unless your boat has a tuna tower). The benefits of committing to sight fishing exclusively is that you are always ready when you see fish rather than adjusting a trolling spread that may be less effective. I usually reserve sight fishing exclusively for good conditions. Lighting, fish behavior, sea-state, and more all contribute to that decision. If you are looking for cobia on stingrays in the sand, it is usually best to have your rods ready and ...

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  • Dec 20

    Sight Fishing for Sailfish, Mahi, and More

    Published December 20th, 2018

    Preparation and Presentation for Sight Fishing Sight fishing is a common technique used for many species worldwide. This is a technique we incorporate into almost any Deep Sea Fishing Trip The best way for me to breakdown sight fishing is into different categories. The first step is having the correct rig and bait, which falls under the category of preparation. The second step is boat maneuvering. The third step is presentation, which is basically casting and bait selection. The fourth step and sometimes the most important one is fish behavior/ mood. This can make or break your day.  Always Be Prepared The first step when sight fishing is preparation. This is an area that you have the most control over even if you lack experience. Always have multiple rods rigged and ready. If you are fishing from a flats boat, this may only be 1 or 2 rods. One may have 20lb fluorocarbon leader, 10lb braid, and a live shrimp on the end. Bonefish might be the main target but never ...

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  • Dec 20

    How to set up a Kite Line- Clip Spacing

    Published December 20th, 2018

    How to set up a Kite Line- Making Kite Marks Any serious fisherman in south Florida is going to be flying kites this winter for sailfish. This technique can also be deadly on tuna as well.  If you have any intention of kite fishing, you’ll have to make a kite line.  The basic kite line uses three different “marks” used to stagger three kite clips.  This is established by having different size holes in each of the kite clips, each corresponding to a mark on the kite line.What do you mean by a “mark”???  The mark can be a swivel or a floss mark made with wax floss tied in a series of half hitches.  The marks are designed so they are slightly larger than the hole in the kite clip. As the kite is sent away from the boat, the mark on the line leaves the reel and catches the kite clip.  Most fishermen use a 3...

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  • Dec 20

    Rigging Bonito Strip Baits

    Published December 20th, 2018

    Making Bonita Strips for Trolling: Bonito strips are deadly tools that can bring life to a troll spread. Tough and versatile by nature, these wiggly morsels work just as well up top as they do behind a planer. Whether you are trolling or live baiting, the goal while fishing is to shoot for the most natural presentation possible. Bonito strips behind a seawitch or feather can be irresistible to a variety of species as they rip through the water column.  The first step in prepping for bonito strips is the obvious: catch bonito. Bonito are ravenous little fish that can be caught on the edge from 80-200 feet of water almost year round. We catch bonito while live baiting and trolling. Bait preparation and management is crucial while charter fishing so we make sure that every bonito we catch makes it into the box and eventually our freezer. The Little Tunny or “bonita” are widely regarded as a trash fish because they are poor table fare.  ...

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  • Dec 18

    Understanding the Gulf Stream

    Published December 18th, 2018

    Understanding the Gulf Stream and How it Affects Fishing in South Florida The Gulf Stream is the main driving force behind our fishery in South Florida. If you drive east out of Miami, eventually you will hit the Gulf Stream and move to the north. An often over looked aspect of the Gulf Stream is that subtle changes can make or break your day of fishing. Bearing of the Gulf Stream About 18 miles offshore of Miami are a series of seamounts and valleys in 1,000-2,000 feet of water that are often referred to as the sword grounds. The Gulf Stream is almost always moving to the north offshore but the angle of the current does vary. On some days, the current is pushing hard inshore. I have seen the current move at about 350 degrees, a touch to the west of north. On other days, I have seen it move at about 20 degrees. When fishing a mile long drift, this 30-degree variation can have major consequences when trying to line up ...

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  • Dec 5

    Sailfishing in Ballyhoo Showers

    Published December 5th, 2018

    Sunny With A Chance Of Showers Fall and early winter in Miami gives way to a unique fishery. With sailfish beginning to make their way south toward Miami, we are presented with a variety of opportunities to target these fish. The first and more traditional method is kite fishing. No need to go into detail here; there are enough articles on kite fishing to keep you reading for days. Another fishery that not many as many anglers get to experience are known as "ballyhoo showers." Ballyhoo usually begin to infest our waters during fall and the predators are close behind. Ballyhoo are excellent bait fish and serve as a huge part of the diets for everything from Mahi-Mahi to sailfish. When ballyhoo really get thick off Miami and Ocean Reef, game fish will sometimes follows them into the shallows during their gluttonous pursuit. I have seen sailfish and even dolphin fish as shallow as 15 feet chasing schools of bait. Ballyhoo showers make a compelling case for the old ...

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  • Nov 21

    Basic Kite Fishing Rig

    Published November 21st, 2018

    Here are some tips and tricks to help you advance the basic kite fishing rig.  First, let’s start with the basic rig.It consists of a kite leader, snap swivel, lead, cork and o-ring.  If you’re new to kite fishing, the objective of kite fishing is rather simple: to fish live bait on the surface in the stealthiest way possible.   Kite Fishing allows you to keep the mainline out of the water, and fish your bait right on the water’s surface.  The stainless o-ring at the top of the kite rig attaches to a tension release clip on the kite line.  The cork or float is used as a visual indicator, not like a fresh water bobber.  Lead is used to prevent the bait from coming out of the water.Wind pressure on the main line will blow small baits out the water on high wind days.  Lastly, the snap swivel allows for rapid changing of leaders. ...

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  • Nov 7

    Wreck Fishing Rig for Grouper and Amberjack

    Published November 7th, 2018

    Wreck Fishing Rig for Grouper and Amberjack Where to fish: Looking for a grouper or amberjack to bring to the dinner table?  Plenty of anglers try tackling big bottom dwelling fish with poor results. Modern marine electronics make secret spots a thing of the past. Shipwrecks, ledges and rock piles are marked on modern GPS chart plotters.  There are also plenty of resources online if you’re willing to do the homework.  These are the places you’ll want to fish to catch big Amberjacks, Grouper, Cobia, African Pompano, Snapper and other structure seeking fish. Shipwrecks are see more fishing pressure, and fish are getting smarter as a result.  Don’t make the figurative mistake of bringing a knife to a gun fight when looking to catch big amberjack or grouper off a ship wreck.  These fish will try and get back into the structure, whether it's a coral head, rock ledge, or shipwreck.  Here's a great site, FloridaGoFishing ...

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  • Oct 22

    Fishfinder Rig for Mutton Snapper

    Published October 22nd, 2018

    One of the most widely used bottom fishing rigs is the versatile fish finder rig.  It can be adapted for both inshore and offshore fishing and for a variety of different species.  It’s an easy rig to tie, making it a favorite for anglers.  The rig consists of a weight attached to the main line followed by a swivel.  An egg sinker placed on the mainline allows fish to pull line without pulling the weight of the lead.  This allows game fish a swim off with the bait and swallow it before the angler sets the hook.  There are sinker sliders available on the market, and they allow you to attach different sinker types through the use of a snap.Sinker sliders are ideal for surf fishing, when a pyramid type sinker is preferred over an egg sinker.  They also provide a convenient attachment point for quick lead changes.   Leader selection: When fishing from a boat for snapper or grouper, ...

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