Fishing Report: Calm seas and lots of sunshine make July a great month to go drift fishing off Fort Lauderdale beach. Reefs are laden with bonitos, kingfish and barracuda during the summer months, making it our best season of the year to catch action. A typical drift fishing trip in July can catch 20-40 bonitos, upwards of 15-20 pounds apiece. While bonitos are not a very good eating fish, they are one of the strongest fighting fish you may ever come across and put up a hellacious fight. In the same waters and swimming alongside the bonitos, are schools of king mackerels, blackfin tuna, barracuda and even wahoo.
You can catch all kinds of fish drifting the reefs this month. Schoolie dolphin sometimes wander in onto the reefs this month too. Mostly small 3-5 pound dolphin, these schoolies travel in large schools of as many as 50 fish. These schools usually stay further offshore, but when they come in close to the reef, we catch them on the drift boat and load the fishbox. Bonito, dolphin, tuna, wahoo or kingfish, you should have plenty of action this month drift fishing the reefs of Ft Lauderdale.
July is one of the best months of the year for snapper fishing in south Florida. The mangrove snappers get really active and start feeding aggressively coming up to their spawn. Our best bite on mangroves is usually 80-90ft of water, by dropping sardines or ballyhoo chunks on the bottom. Shrimp, live or dead, can sometimes really get the mangroves snapping if the bite is tough. Regular anchoring and chumming for yellowtails is good action at night also. Yellowtails come right up to the top of the water, following up the chumline. Little to no weight and light tackle, 12-15 pound test gets the best yellowtail bite.
Just drift your bait back slowly with the current until you get a hit. The yellowtails continually move closer and closer to the boat in the chumline as they gain confidence. Start off drifting your bait way back in the current, and progressively fish closer and closer to the boat as your chum starts working. Snapper fishing is great action this month and they come out of the woodwork to feed at night. Good luck to all you drift fishermen this month. Sea ya on the water!
Capt. Andy Roydhouse