Captain's Log

Log

  • 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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  • Oct 8

    Tips for Catching Golden Tilefish

    Published October 8th, 2018

    Tips for Catching Golden Tilefish Off the coast of Miami, golden tilefish commonly dwell in waters ranging from 500-900 feet. They range the length of the US eastern seaboard and have been found as deep as 1,500 feet. Golden tiles look for areas with soft bottom such as clay. They make conical shaped burrows and guard them against invaders. Catching tilefish involves dropping a heavily weighted rig to the bottom with squid or fresh cut bait. The preferred rig for goldens is a “lay down rig”. This type of rig opposed to a chicken rig consists of 2 weights, with a heavier lead close to the main line and another at the end.  This allows the rig to drag across the bottom, kicking up sediment along its path.  Be sure to attach a high quality deep drop light to help attract fish.   Catching Golden Tilefish We chose to fish or rigs on electric combos with 80 pound braid, although it’s possible to go to lighter braided ...

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  • Oct 1

    Chicken Rigs for Snapper and Grouper

    Published October 1st, 2018

    Deep Drop Rig for Snapper - Chicken Rig A quick and easy bottom rig to tie is the chicken rig.  The rig itself consists of multiple hooks with your lead on the bottom.  It presents your bait vertically in the water column, great for schooling fish suspended near the bottom.  We often use them to target vermillion snapper and yellow eye snapper off Miami.  My first introduction to chicken rigs was fishing for flounder off NJ.   Off NJ we would tie primarily double hook rigs, spaced closer together and with longer loops.  Chicken rigs work great for catching bait too, the Japanese sabiki rig is essential to anglers here in south Florida. Sabikis are essentially a miniature chicken rig. The rig itself can be used in numerous different applications and fisheries.  For snapper fishing off Miami try making your rigs from 30-50 lb mono or flouro.  I prefer 4 or 5 hook rigs with the hooks spaced around 3 feet apart.  Dropper loop knots ...

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  • Sep 24

    Mullet Run Snook Rigs

    Published September 24th, 2018

    Mullet Run Snook RigsLate summer and early fall brings about the annual mullet migration.  From the Carolinas to south Florida, millions of black and silver mullet migrate down the coastline and then offshore to spawn.  This massive migration is quite the spectacle to see and provides excellent opportunities for fisherman on land and at sea.  Mullet are a favorite forage for snook and they are both found in brackish backwaters and tributaries.  When the two species collide in massive numbers, you’ll want to be in on the action.  Acre size bait schools come under attack at all hours of the day, usually peaking around the sunrise and sunset.  There are a couple different ways to target snook during the mullet run, so let’s examine some different tactics and the rigs you’ll need to maximize your success.   Surf Fishing: One of my personal favorite ways to target snook is on the beach during the mullet run.  The ...

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  • Sep 18

    Wreck Fishing Charters Miami

    Published September 18th, 2018

    Shipwrecks off Miami With a big population and easy access to the water, there can be quite the crowd of fisherman offshore of Miami on any given day. Highly migratory species such as dolphin, tuna, and sailfish aren’t usually victims to local overfishing. Stocks of pelagic species can be adversely affected by commercial fishing, but the local recreational fishing pressure does little to suppress these fisheries as a whole. Bottom fish are a different story.     Benthic species (bottom fish) are less migratory and don’t grow as quickly as large pelagic fish. As a result, they can be seriously affected by over fishing. Miami has a multitude of different reefs and wrecks (both natural and artificial). These wrecks create great ecosystems for baitfish and their predators to search for both food and protection. Ranging from as shallow as 25 feet to as deep as 450 feet, and running from North Miami to Key Largo, the shipwrecks off Miami are as diverse as they are abundant.  The plus ...

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  • Sep 10

    Planer Fishing For Wahoo

    Published September 10th, 2018

    Wahoo, A Crowd Favorite Read the Article and Buy what you need below Before reading into wahoo fishing with planers, I recommend checking out the article written about Planer Fishing Fundamentals. The rigs and techniques have some definite similarities so it helps to cover the basics. In addition, feel free to check out our species write-up on Wahoo.Unlike kingfish, wahoo have very distinct color patterns. These fish have neon blue backs and white stripes. I truly believe they have better camouflage than almost any fish. When you are bringing them to the boat they blend seamlessly into dark blue water. Until they end up on their sides and you see stripes, wahoo are tough to make out in the water. The color pattern on wahoo is important to consider because like all fish, they have a distinct niche for which they are adapted. Wahoo blend in best with dark blue water. As a result we often look for blue water and current when we are targeting wahoo. The Gulf ...

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  • Sep 4

    Live Baiting Mahi

    Published September 4th, 2018

    If you’re out fishing this weekend and looking to find a school of mahi-mahi, don’t make one of these top 5 mistakes. Here are a few tips which can help you catch your limit! Avoid these 5 mistakes: 1. No live bait: Although it’s not a requirement to catch dorado, sometimes the largest fish can be shy, weary of both the boat and artificial lures. A couple scoops of live bait will often mean the difference in going home a hero or a zero. Other boats have flagged us down or called us in on a school of mahi because they had no bait and the fish wouldn’t eat lures. In my experience one of the best mahi baits you can get is a small blue runner. They can be caught on sabiki rigs under large sargassum patches, and these hardy fish are irresistible to mahi. Pilchards, ballyhoo, cigar minnows and others can also make great baits. If you prefer to use artificial lures, bucktail ...

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  • Aug 28

    Planer Fishing for Kingfish

    Published August 28th, 2018

    Kingfish at a Glance Kingfish are always a welcomed gamefish while fishing in tropical waters. They fight hard and are great to eat. Kings are present in South Florida year round with bigger fish around during the cooler months. We catch kings every month of the year using a variety of techniques. You can find more information on kingfish here: Kingfish Species Information When you look at the anatomy of a kingfish you will notice distinct characteristics that are evident for all fish in the mackerel family. With long slender bodies, these fish are designed for bursts of speed. King mackerel lack the stamina of tuna and billfish but they are excellent hunters. They have razor sharp teeth and "slash" baits while they are hunting. This approach usually cuts their prey in half, killing it instantly. If baits are near the surface kings will sometimes "air out" on the bite. I have seen kings jump as high as 15 feet out of the water on kite baits. ...

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  • Aug 16

    Planer Fishing Basics

    Published August 16th, 2018

    Traditional Trolling Spreads Trolling is a very old, effective technique for targeting a variety of gamefish. Employed in every corner of the world, this technique has proven effective for everything from small mouth bass to grander marlin. The theme is simple, move forward at any speed and put some lures or baits behind the boat. Lures and baits vary; everything from 1” jigs to 20lb skipping tuna may end up in the spread depending on the species of fish you are targeting. Regardless of what ends up behind the boat, the concept remains the same; cover ground with baits on the surface hoping for a bite. Trolling is one of the many techniques we incorporate during our miami fishing charters. Unfortunately, conventional trolling spreads may have multiple lines behind the boat but surface baits still only cover a small percentage of the water column. Some people argue that the boat is a great teaser. Fish “raise” from the depths to investigate commotion on the surface. I think the ...

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  • Aug 1

    Hatteras Renovation- New Boat!

    Published August 1st, 2017

    About a year ago I began the search for a new boat. With careful consideration I decided the right boat would be a 43 Hatteras but I needed one that was already repowered. Finding a Hatteras from the 1970s that is still in good shape isn't an easy task. After looking all over Florida and even flying to Texas and New Jersey, I finally found the right boat. Located in WIldwood, New Jersey was my diamond in the rough. The boat was already repowered with Cummins 450c engines which is a modern 6 cylinder engine. In addition, most of the boat was rewired and the interior was in good shape. She seemed like a great boat to refurbish so I pulled the trigger. I bought a boat over 1,000 miles away that needed some work. I knew it would be a long year.

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