Barracuda are vicious predators that can be found lurking almost anywhere in the ocean. Barracuda stalk Haulover Inlet, cruise along Miami Beach, hover over wrecks and dive spots, and turn up in deeper water way offshore. They have an impressive set of extremely wicked teeth and must be handled very carefully at the boat. Barracuda will give you a powerful fight and are capable of taking a chunk out of you once they're landed. Besides looking to attack you, barracuda are a nasty menace to everything else that swims and are known to slash and cut off other fish that you have hooked on your line.
|DOLPHIN - MAHI-MAHI - DORADO|
DOLPHIN – MAHI-MAHI – DORADO
During your fishing trip you may see dolphin, the mammal, and you may catch dolphin, the fish. The mammal is also known as porpoise and the fish is also known as mahi-mahi or dorado. You do not have to worry about hooking the mammal; they are very smart and seem to know that playing in the wake of the boat is fun but that eating our bait is a bad idea. The same can't be said for dolphin, the fish. We troll for dolphin and you may catch a solo fish or a pair, a cow and a bull. At other times we may come across a whole school of dolphin, usually taking cover under some floating debris or patches of seaweed, and every rod will go down. If we get into a school of dolphin expect it to get a little messy. We make every effort to keep everyone and everything clean while we're fishing (we have both a fresh and saltwater washdown in the cockpit), but sometimes fish can do some wild and unpredictable things. The cockpit can become quite hectic as multiple fish are caught and boated while at the same time we're also putting out more bait to keep the school around. Dolphin can be very acrobatic and they are also one of the most colorful game fish swimming in the ocean, with beautiful shades of iridescent yellow, green and blue. Dolphin are delicious to eat and you will find dolphin on the menu in many restaurants. Dolphin can be prepared almost every way you can think of with excellent results. Enjoy dolphin broiled, grilled, fried, baked, sautéed, steamed, escoveitched Jamaican-style, in curry and vindaloo, in a chowder, stew or soup, you name it...it's all good!
There are several species of grouper that make the reef and wrecks of South Florida their home. Groupers are rather solitary bottom-dwellers and they are usually found around coral, rocks and sunken wrecks. For this reason they can be a challenge to catch. Here is the scenario. First we must navigate to one of our secret grouper spots. Next we assess the direction and speed of the current and adjust the rig accordingly. Grouper are attracted to structure so the idea is to get the bait in the vicinity of the structure...this also means that even when just setting up you run the risk of getting your bait and rig hung up in the sharp edges and irregular contours of the structure. Don’t be alarmed if you or the mate end up having to break off your rig...this happens to the best of us and does not mean that you did anything wrong. So now you’re waiting for a bite and here is the next problem. Grouper have big gaping mouths and you want to be sure that they take the bait, but at the same time the grouper wants to snatch the bait and hide in the structure and enjoy his meal. So you don’t want to yank the bait out of the grouper’s mouth, but you also don’t want to give him enough time to drag you into the structure and chafe your line and tangle your rig. So wind, wind, wind! If not anchored, the captain may even bump the boat a little bit forward to keep the grouper away from the structure. Research shows that grouper are a very slow-growing species; they are also one the finest eating fish that you may ever have the pleasure to eat, with moist and delicious flaky white flesh. Consequently, there is tremendous pressure on this fishery resulting in very strict regulations including seasonal closures, bag limits and depth restrictions. These regulations are constantly changing as researchers study the stock and do their best to manage the fishery. Be prepared to carefully return some grouper to the ocean but also know that the grouper that you get to keep is a very special catch.
Pound for pound, fish in the jack family are some of the hardest fighting fish in the ocean. We fish for jacks on or near the bottom using live bait or deep jigs. Jacks are especially fun and challenging to catch on a light tackle outfit. Greater amberjack are like the donkeys of the sea on account of their stubborn demeanor. When you're fighting an AJ you'll have to figure out how to win the standoff as the fish is exerting all its energy to dig back down and you’re working just as hard to reel him back up. Win or lose, your arms will ache after fighting an amberjack. We also catch other jacks including almaco jack, crevalle jack, and yellow jack...all fun to fight, but the greater amberjack is the real beast.
We catch kingfish, also known as king mackerel, trolling the reef between Miami Beach and Hollywood or drifting live baits while at anchor. Kingfish have very sharp teeth that will cut right through fishing line (and you, too, if you're not careful) so a wire leader is a requirement when putting together a kingfish rig. Kingfish are fun to catch, sometimes they skyrocket when they're trying to take the bait, and every so often you'll catch a “smoker,” a really huge kingfish. Kingfish are excellent table fare, either steaked or filleted. Kingfish are also commonly used to make delicious smoked fish and home chefs enjoy experimenting with their own special brines, seasonings and rubs.
Mackerel are a lot of fun to catch on light tackle and we generally troll for them nearshore with spoons, feathers and little artificial lures or we drift or anchor up with live bait. Spanish mackerel have gold spots and we also catch cero mackerel which have gold lines and dashes. Juvenile kingfish, or king mackerel, look like Spanish mackerel at first glance, but you can tell the difference by checking the front of the dorsal fin which is charcoal gray on the Spanish mackerel but light gray throughout on the kingfish, and also looking at the lateral line which is gently sloping on the Spanish mackerel but has a much more pronounced dip on the kingfish. Mackerel, like salmon and sardines, have a high level of omega-3 fatty acids, a class of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids that benefit heart health; if you handle the fillets you can actually feel the richness of the fat in the flesh of the fish and there will be a residue left on your skin. Mackerel are great table fare; when cooked the meat is pure white with a fine flake and delicate flavor. If you want to totally negate the health benefits, you’ll find mackerel to be especially delicious when fried...but that can be said of almost anything!
Sailfish are fascinating and amazing fish and if you're lucky enough to catch one it's an experience that you're not likely to forget. They have a lethal bill that feels like it's covered in coarse sandpaper and a huge dorsal fin with spots; they are also one of the most thrilling fish that you can catch deep sea fishing off the coast of South Florida and Miami Beach. Sailfish leap and jump and put on a breathtaking show...at every moment you will think that your fish is going to get away...and sometimes they do on account of their wild gyrations. When you're fighting a sailfish you'll be busy guiding the line and focusing on staying tight with the fish, but remember to look up and watch this magnificent creature as it levitates and crashes back into the water...AND DON'T FORGET TO KEEP WINDING! Sailfish are powerful fish and fierce fighters and represent big-game fishing at its best. We kite fish with live bait for sailfish, but sailfish will also come up on a trolled bait or a drifting live bait. And then there are times when they will ignore every bait you put out there and frustrate you to no end. Sailfish are sport fish and we encourage their release.
Sharks. Yes, they’re out there and if you're someone who frequents the beach they're not always as far from shore as you might prefer; however, we have yet to hear of them troubling any swimmers in our area. We catch many different kinds of sharks off the coast of Miami Beach and South Florida including hammerheads, thresher sharks, mako sharks, blacktips, spinners, bull sharks, sandbar sharks, nurse sharks, dusky sharks, tiger sharks and silky sharks. Sharks can be found at any depth. You can sometimes see them on the surface, tailing their way across the water; some will attack your bait as you're dropping it down or as you're reeling it back up; they may also go after another nice fish that you have on your line; and then others are out of sight, prowling the deep ocean. You will definitely hear the ominous theme from “Jaws” running through your head when you see the dorsal fin of a shark as it circles the bait on the surface of the water. And then the next thing you’ll hear is the line screaming off the reel, the fish will sound, and the game is on. Other times you’ll put the bait down deep and patiently wait for a bite, wondering all the time if there's a shark on the hunt somewhere down there, sneaking around in stealth-mode. All of a sudden you’ll feel the pull of a giant freight train of a fish. You’ll gain a little line, just to give it all back again. Fighting a shark will take all your strength and stamina and when you finally get your fish to the boat you will be face to face with an amazing predator. This is the time to be extra careful and show this animal the respect it deserves; the sharks that we catch are often bigger than the average human and they really do have jaws of vicious razor-like teeth and muscular bodies, hard as rock, that are capable of doing damage to you and the boat. The skin of a shark is firm and dense and if you get the opportunity to touch a shark it will feel smooth as silk in one direction, but like velcro when you rub it the other way. A hammerhead shark is one of the most peculiar creatures that you may ever see, with its eyeballs positioned on weird extensions that jut out from either side of its skull. Sharks are impressive animals and epitomize big-game fishing. Many sharks are fully protected and must be released, other species are restricted by size.
There are many different types of snapper living in the ocean off the coast of South Florida. In our area of Miami Beach, Hollywood and Ft. Lauderdale you're most likely to catch lane, vermilion, yellowtail, mangrove and mutton snapper. We fish for snapper while at anchor or drifting and we use spinning or conventional reels with either live or natural bait. Snapper are highly regulated (size and quantity restrictions/seasonal closures) so be prepared for some fish to be carefully released to fight another day. Snapper occur in depths that are easily accessible and all species of snapper make for delicious table fare, so it's easy to understand the pressure that is placed on this fishery and the need for such strict regulations. The good news is that the management of the snapper fishery appears to be working and there are always several types of snapper that can be caught throughout the year.
We catch tilefish in very deep water but still within sight of Miami Beach and the South Florida coast. We typically use an electric reel to get our bait down that far...and more importantly, to get the fish back up! We use a natural bait rig and a weight appropriate for the current. If you're looking for even more of a challenge just tell the crew and we'll be happy to use a conventional reel so that you can crank these fish up by hand. However, should you decide to do this, make sure you've had your Wheaties as you could be reeling up well over 500 feet of line, a heavy lead weight and hopefully a big fish! Tilefish are delicious to eat and make excellent ceviche.
|BLACKFIN TUNA FILLETS|