Sailfish are fascinating, unusual 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 seafishing 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.
There are many different types of snapper living in the Miami Beach, Hollywood and Ft. Lauderdale you're most likely to catch lane, vermilion, yellowtail, mangrove, cubera 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. The fillets have a very unique texture, extremely firm and dense, the meat is opalescent and turns pure white when cooked. If you have a favorite ceviche recipe, add tilefish to the list of ingredients...it's perfect for this dish. Keep in mind that bottom fish are vulnerable to overfishing, tilefish being no exception, so there are times when this fishery is closed.
There are several types of tuna that swim off the coast of South Florida and Miami Beach, including blackfin tuna, skipjack tuna, and what we call bonito, but what others may know as bonita, little tunny or false albacore. Tuna are determined fighters with solid muscular bodies and they dart through the water like torpedoes. Once on the line they make evasive moves and they leave an underwater smoke trail that you can see as they get close to the boat. Sometimes you will come across a school of tuna all in a frenzy, splashing on the surface of the ocean, feeding on bait as larger fish feed on them. This will usually draw a cloud of birds onto the scene and when you see all this pandemonium going on you're almost guaranteed a hook up.
The food value of tuna varies between species; however, they are all edible...by other fish... and by humans, too! As food fish for humans, bonito would probably be considered the least desirable of the bunch as they have a very wide and deep center bloodline that most people don't care to eat. This diminishes the status of the bonito at the fillet table...you have to cut away so much of the fish to get to the best part, the tenderloins. But as food fish for fish, this same characteristic is what makes bonito a really attractive bait. The other tunas have much less waste and make for very good eating. We do carry powdered wasabi and soy sauce on the OUTCAST, so let the crew know if you want to try some sashimi, including bonito, while on the boat or back at the dock.
We have no idea how this fish came to be called "wahoo," but there really is no better name as this is what most people want to scream when they catch one. Unless maybe you want to call this fish "Ferrari," because it is beautifully designed, has a striking finish, goes extremely fast and turns on a dime.
We usually catch wahoo trolling, using lures and weighted feathers. Once hooked, wahoo will tear line many cases, turn around and head right toward the boat...but don’t get fooled. Having slack or a belly in the line is not a good thing if you’re looking to catch a fish; without tension on the line the hook can fall out and you’ll be left thinking that the wahoo is not only beautiful, but smart. So even when you feel the line go slack and you’re figuring that maybe the fish got away it probably hasn’t, but you have to be quick and reel as fast as you can, guiding the line, getting tight, starting the battle all over again.
When you bring the wahoo to the boat you’ll see what a stunning fish this is with shades of deep blue and purple, bright silver accents and brilliant vertical stripes...when someone talks about a fish being “all lit up” this is what they mean...and quite honestly, the pictures here do not do this fish justice. We catch a lot of fish in South Florida that make for delicious and high-quality table fare and wahoo is one of them. The wahoo has tasty dense white meat and it can be prepared many different ways; however, it doesn’t really require the addition of any complicated ingredients and it should never be overcooked.