Winter is here and a completely new batch of fish are showing up. You have to be adaptive this time of year and change your tactics to meet the new challenges that the winter months bring with them. First off, let’s talk about the strong winds of December. The prevalent wind off Fort Lauderdale for the months of December through February is a medium to strong Northeast wind. This wind direction, coupled with it’s velocity, creates some of the roughest seas we experience in Fort Lauderdale all year long. It’s fairly common to have 4-6 foot seas this time of year. This is great for us larger charter boats because it keeps a lot of the small boats in from fishing and makes for less competition for fish and for spots. We use the heavy wind to our advantage and employ a technique called kite fishing. Kite fishing is where we fly kites off the back of the boat that we use to suspend live baits on the surface of the water. The baits are held in the kite line by pressure release clips and are set to dangle right on the surface of the water. The bait struggles to keep its head underwater and creates fish-in-distress vibrations. This attracts big game fish such as sailfish from a long distance away. It’s the most effective way to target big game fish in the strong winds of the winter months.
The other hot bite this month is dolphin. The strong northeasterly winds of December blow the dolphin in close to the reef. However, that’s not the whole truth. Flying fish are one of the main fish that mahi-mahi eat offshore. When flying fish jump out of the water and spread their fins, they get blown in the direction the wind is going. When the northeast winds are puffing for a few days in a row, the surviving flying fish get progressively closer and closer to shore. That means, after a few days of strong northeasterly winds, you can expect the dolphin to be in on the reefs in anywhere from 40-120 feet of water. With dolphin, it’s all about the food, so if the food comes inshore, so do the dolphin.
There’s great fishing in the winter months and the general rule is the worse the weather, the better the fishing. Good luck to everyone fishing this month. The action on dolphin and sailfish should be great.
I’ll sea you on the water.
Capt. Brett Magers
New Lattitude Sportfishing