Miami Sailfish Fishing is Heating Up!

Capt. Charlie Ellis Releases a Miami Sailfish

Capt. Charlie Ellis Releases a Miami Sailfish

Our guests from Australia joined us for their first fishing expedition in the Atlantic Ocean with hopes of landing their first Miami Sailfish. It was one of those rough days where the swells would just not cooperate but the wind was prime for a sailfish bite.

Bait was scarce around bug light this morning, but we were able to pull a dozen cigar minnows and a few runners off the range.  The swells were relentless and made our sabiki efforts challenging. The strong south east wind sent short period waves crashing around in a confused chop, making it difficult to position the boat steadily into mild current.  We haven’t had much luck chasing down the threadfins the last few days and i’ve heard only scattered reports of them outside of Government Cut.

It took about 30 minutes to clear Fowey heading straight into the waves…taking a few over the bow at 18 knots!  It always amazes me how the waves stack up in the shallows…but offshore conditions weren’t any better.  We were met with a solid 3 to 5 as we made our way offshore and there were no other boats anywhere in our vicinity. The water was green and nasty all the way out to 200′ and there was hardly any current. Tough conditions despite strong wind for the kites.

We made a few attempts at jigging the wrecks after marking a few fish on the sounder but the waves made it difficult to stay in position. The fish circling the wreck were clearly not hungry for our vertical jigs, so we trotted south and set up on our first drift. Lines in and the first to play is a small sharp nosed atlantic shark on a mid-water rod.  Our junior angler Cody fought him to the boat and we grabbed the leader for a swift release.  We turned out attention back to the kite lines waiting for the sailfish to make an appearance.

A short 15 minutes passed before a gaffer mahi mahi went charging for a blue runner on the long bait.  The fish crushed the bait and began bounding back towards the boat, stopping momentarily to engulf the middle bait as well.  Trailing two lines, Mr. Mahi began circling the boat making sure to snag each and every line we had in the water.  After tangling all four mid water rods and wrapping the trailing kite line around the port side prop, we gaffed him and brought him on board. Sure enough – two hooks in the mouth!  Another greedy mahi mahi on ice.

After re-rigging all the lines, we set the bait back out for our second drift in about 225′. About 30 minutes into the drift the long line starts screaming and a big Miami sailfish comes rocketing out of the water right behind the boat! The mid line goes off as well and another sail goes leaping for the bow! I could hardly believe it but a third sailfish was emerging underneath the short bait – but another pesky sharp nose shark made a dash for the short bait and stole it before the sail could make it to the surface. With two wild sailfish flying around the boat and a shark wreaking havoc right off the stern, we certainly had our hands full.

Our junior angler and his father went to work on the sailfish while we released the shark.  Cody’s fish made a spectacular aerial display just off the port side of the boat and spit the hook – but his father’s fish stayed hooked up and made a dash for the horizon.  25 minutes later we had the bigger of the two sails at the boat for a quick and healthy release.

Releasing a Miami Sailfish Caught While Kite Fishing off Miami

Capt. Charlie Ellis Releasing a Miami Sailfish

After releasing the sailfish, we trotted back out into heavier seas and set up for our final drift of the day during our 1/2 day charter. The last drift produced nothing but a few waves over the bow.  We started bringing in the lines and pitching baits over the side as we prepared to make the run home in sloppy sea conditions…and wouldn’t you know it a few small mahi showed up at the boat!  With no more bait in the wells we pitched the jigs with no luck.  The mahi swam freely around the boat for about ten minutes – Capt. Todd even took a swipe at one with the gaff but just couldn’t connect. We learned our lesson..yet again…to keep at least two or three live baits in the well on the way back to the dock.

Miami Sailfishing is heating up and the next few weeks should bring the main migration into Miami waters.  If catching a sailfish is on your wish list this holiday season – now’s the time! The sailfishing will only get better as the threadfins come in thick and  the wind shifts to a consistent NE direction.

Tight Lines,

Capt. Charlie

Capt. Charlie Ellis

Capt. Charlie Ellis

Captain at Miami Fishing Charters LLC
Capt. Charlie Ellis of Miami, FL has 25 years experience fishing for big game species like Bluefin Tuna, Sailfish, Swordfish, and Sharks. Capt. Charlie is also an avid scuba diver, world traveler, writer, and entrepreneur.
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