If you fish, you’ve heard of South Florida. The area is an angler’s paradise with lot of beaches, piers and docks, miles of boating canals, boat ramps and more offshore fishing than a person could cover in two lifetimes. Of course, there are plenty of fishing party boats and fishing tours. Hire a guide or make your own adventure; there are so many fish in South Florida we can pretty much guarantee you won’t go home without some fish stories of your own.
There are a lot of fish species in Broward County. Fishing year-round is wonderful—although the spring is a great time to visit. The lineup includes kingfish, snook, dolphin (dorado, not porpoise!), snapper, grouper, wahoo, jacks, cobia, shark, tuna, bluefish, sea bass, mullet, porgies, drums, tarpon, barracuda, channel catfish…the list goes on and on!
There are also some freshwater beauties, with bass action as you head inland (largemouth, bluegill, peacock and snakehead). There are opportunities for every one. For tackle, think spinning, spin caster, bait caster, big game offshore outfits, kiting, and trolling. Fly fishing is not so big in South Florida as spots further north and west.
To offer you some expert tips, we went to local world-class angler, George Poveromo. South Florida is George’s backyard, and there’s no one who we trust more for tips and advice. We asked George about spring fishing and this is what he said.
“It seems the fronts have arrived early this year off South Florida, though we’re still waiting for those “Artic Air Expresses” to really stir up the fishing. However, these early fronts — warm as they may be — are still helping to transition in our winter game fish, especially sailfish.
Off Fort Lauderdale, look for strong easterly breezes to push the Gulf Stream closer to shore. When the Stream’s western edge pushes in on the reefs, creating a vivid blue/green color change, the fishing can be explosive. The Steeple is a renowned place to target sailfish, though these game fish should abound anywhere there’s a solid north-bound current, rip, color change or pocket of baits (flying fish) between 90 and 220 feet of water.
Often, great fishing can be had right outside of Port Everglades Inlet when the cobalt water pushes in close.
Live goggle-eyes, blue runners, horse pilchards and herring are prime baits. Based on an easterly wind direction, set up deep to shallow drift patterns (220 feet to 90 feet). Fish two to three baits at the surface off a fishing kite that’s downwind of the boat, and a three- to four line spread off the upwind side.
Here, free line a bait a few hundred feet out and another around 200 feet out. Then, set a deep bait 80 feet down, and another one around 40 to 50 feet down. Use a 10-ounce egg sinker on the deep baits, rigged breakaway style. That is, pinch the fishing line some 80 feet above the hook, push it through an egg sinker, and then place a piece of a number 64 rubber band between the “loop” created by the pinched mono and the egg sinker. Slowly pull the fishing line back into the egg sinker until the piece of rubber band jams.
When a fish strikes, the fishing line will pull completely through the egg sinker leaving you to fight the fish without any cumbersome weight.
Spin and conventional tackle spooled with 20lb test monofilament, 50lb test fluorocarbon leaders and in-line circle hooks between 3/0 and 5/0 (based on bait size) comprise the ideal sailfish tackle. And, remember, sailfish often migrate along specific depth “highways”. So, if you raise fish at a specific depth, narrow down your concentration to within that zone.
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