Offshore Fishing Features


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Blackfin Tuna Basics

Right here in Florida, the fisheries lab at Nova Southeastern University (NSU), in Fort Lauderdale, has emerged as a fountain of useful research into blackfin tuna. Under the direction of Assistant Professor Dr. David Kerstetter, three research papers have contributed much to the scientific and common understanding of the species’ habitat, growth and reproduction.

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Florida Daytime Swordfish

We tell you exactly how to catch a huge Florida swordfish during the day. “There was talk the only way to catch them was to do it at night when thefish were closer to the surface feeding,” said Taute, smiling. “That’s not true any longer.”

Slick calm days are fewer than in summer, but the average fish is bigger. This one's 130 pounds, taken by the Three Buoys crew off Palm Beach County.

Warming Up to Winter Swordfish

Many of the largest swordfish of the year are caught as they migrate through our waters in winter. Each year as the weather turns cold, Florida east coast anglers begin targeting sailfish as they migrate south with each passing cold front. When chasing sailfish, the best fishing usually occurs on the leading edge of the cold front when the wind is blowing the hardest and the seas are rough.

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Fishing in Islamorada

That slim stretch of land halfway down the Keys is a stroke of geological genius for anglers. Only three miles to Islamorada’s south stands the reef, home of snapper and grouper. From there, the sea floor quickly drops off to the continental shelf.

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Bunker Busters

No fish in the sea is immune to the lure of fresh menhaden. If menhaden ranged throughout Florida, I’m convinced they would top every angler’s list of best baits. These fish are oily, reflective and loaded with energy. From the backwaters to the beaches, they’re a top menu item for a huge variety of gamefish, from seatrout to sailfish.

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Mexico Beach Mixed Bag

Their idea of a “high-rise?” Fish condos in 60 feet of water. Gotta love this Gulf Coast town.

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Mangrove Snapper Topside

An often fast-paced and highly visual pursuit, snaring mangroves within a rod length of the transom defines “cool,” but it’s also practically advantageous. Normally, when a guy tells me my fishing day will involve glass minnows and pompano jigs, I assume we’re talking flats and beaches.

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Sailfish Alley North

High-leaping Atlantic sails gather at the northern end of Sailfish Alley in early winter. Ft. Pierce, at the north end of Sailfish Alley, heats up when temperatures drop. A walk down Fort Pierce docks reads like a Who’s Who list of sailfish chasers.

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The Florida Reef Fishing Menu

What kinds of fish might you find on the artificial reefs and wrecks around the Florida coast? That depends on season and latitude, to some extent. In midwinter, for instance, there’s a pretty big difference between the cold, nutrient-rich green water you’d encounter off Fernandina Beach, in far northeast Florida, and the warm, crystal clear Gulf Stream along the Florida Keys.

Going for bluefin, Bahamas style, is a sight fishing game.

Field Report from Cat Cay Bluefin Tournament

Following the release of the Bahamas tuna documentary, Bluefin on the Line, six teams competed in the 2014 Cat Cay Tuna Tournament, held June 5-7. No fish were landed, but Amanda Perryman, Marketing Director for Costa, which produced the film, said that about 60 fish were spotted and two good bunches were baited, with no bites.

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Sailfish North

Leaving the narrow corridor of South Florida reef, anglers find surprising concentrations of sailfish to the state line and beyond. Fifty miles off St. Augustine, we were trolling in dark, green water, praying for a stray bite. I’d spent the day in a heavy jacket, trying to salvage my trip by trolling up and down the 28 fathom ledge.

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Live Baiting for Kingfish

Catching smoker kingfish in the Florida Keys is a blast with these simple techniques. I used to cringe whenever someone bragged about catching smoker kingfish in the 30- to 40-pound class.

Mike Harris, far left, hoists a 46-pound kingfish caught this week by anglers aboard the Miami charterboat Free Spool Too.

Big Kings Showing off Miami

Quick update on the light tackle kingfish bite off Miami, from Capt. Dennis Forgione of the Free Spool Too. Forgione is interviewed in the January 2014 issue of Florida Sportsman, in the how-to article “Returning to the Light.”

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Florida Sailfish Fishing Basics

Get ready…Get set…Go for Florida’s state saltwater fish! It’s finally here: November, start of sailfish season in South Florida. You wake up one morning and there’s a cool wind out of the north. Out on the reef, packs of spindlebeaks are heading south, black etchings in vivid sapphire seas.

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Forget the Turkey, Serve Wahoo in the Bahamas this Thanksgiving

What’s better than turkey, football and relatives you haven’t seen all year? Easy answer: wahoo, high-speed trolling and a boat only big enough for six of your best friends or family.

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Florida Shark Fishing

A battle worthy for any angler, sharks are worthy of protection. Though some anglers talk contemptuously about sharks, they sure can be tough to catch. A mix of muscle and sharp-edged teeth, coupled with a demeanor similar to a pitbull.