Big fish mid February in Florida

  • MNdrifter
    Participant
    Posts: 1641
    #2240792

    My family and I are going to be in Florida mid February. I’m looking into fishing possibilities for me and my two boys (12 and 15) while we are there. We will be at Fort Pierce, which is midway between West Palm Beach and Daytona Beach on the Atlantic side. I am wondering what are some species I should consider targeting or guides/captains to research. Some bucket list fish I haven’t caught that comes to mind are Tarpon, sailfish/marlin, mahi mahi. Even bigger sharks or tuna. Something on the bigger side, that fights! Not sure if any of those species are available in that area that time of year. I am looking for more of a trophy type fish rather than eating. I have been on meat fishing trips before, and not really interested in that. It will be the boys first time saltwater fishing. Do any of you have any recommendations of captains or what fish are common that time of year. Better yet any IDO members down there willing take me and the boys out?!?! I’ll buy the beer and bait!!!
    Thanks, Drifter

    Biggill
    Participant
    East Bethel, MN
    Posts: 11173
    #2240799

    We’re planning to go to Fort Myers in February. Would like to know the same. Plan on doing some surf fishing some mornings.

    gimruis
    Participant
    Plymouth, MN
    Posts: 13893
    #2240800

    Tarpon are migratory, they are not usually that far north in February. The peak of the tarpon migration is in April/May when the water is warmer.

    You can definitely catch other species of saltwater fish there in February though. Marlin, tuna, and dolphin fish are offshore targets. You’ll need to travel a significant distance to target them in the open ocean.

    I’ll bet you can catch species of sharks inshore all year though.

    Brittman
    Participant
    Posts: 1481
    #2240804

    The Atlantic side is governed by two inputs: water temperature and the Gulf Stream. The further north you go up the east coast of Florida from Miami the further out the Gulf Stream is. Most game fish follow the Gulf Stream and then fan out when temperatures are right.

    Talk to guides and see what they mostly pursue in February. May need to fish out Miami or the Keys for the types of fish you want.

    Brackish water species Trout and Redfish are another option.

    Brittman
    Participant
    Posts: 1481
    #2240805

    This per FL tourism website.

    February
    Sailfish are hands-down the most exciting fish to catch offshore in the winter. The populations are tremendous, thanks to sound conservation strategies. Whether you’re trolling or dangling live baits from a kite, you’ll see the purple sail light up and knife through the waves as the fish pursues the baits. Once hooked, these fish take immediately to the air, make long runs, and fight all the way to the stern. Sailfishing has literally never been better off the East Florida coast. You can find an excellent captain out of any marina between Fort Pierce and Key West. In the Stuart area, we are officially the Sailfish Capital of the World for good reason: Sailfishing rocks here. But it’s also hard to beat Miami Beach and the Keys for epic sailfish action.

    Brittman
    Participant
    Posts: 1481
    #2240806

    Regarding finding an IDO member … offer to pay the gas bill and you might get a better bite jester

    MNdrifter
    Participant
    Posts: 1641
    #2240811

    Regarding finding an IDO member … offer to pay the gas bill and you might get a better bite jester

    toast gas bill, bait, and beer. All very doable, and willing to pay a little to boot! Got a budget of about 5-$700 for all 3 or 4 of us if room for mom to come along and take pictures!

    Randy Wieland
    Participant
    Lebanon. WI
    Posts: 13276
    #2240886

    I’ve been out with these guys a few times. Very pleased

    Why Taco?

    TillrLife
    Participant
    Cold Spring, MN
    Posts: 401
    #2240913

    I would go after Shark. They’re fun and easy to catch and bend the rod.

    We caught these Spinners in Melbourne.

    Feb is not a great time for many other fish. Although this could be a warm winter, so you MIGHT find Snook in skinny water.

    If you wanna fish skinny water, Reds and Trout should be available.

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    ThunderLund78
    Participant
    Posts: 1962
    #2241404

    If going offshore, be prepared for rougher seas. It’s not always the case but probably more times than not. Dramamine can be the differnce between “a little woozy” and a ruined day.

    FinnyDinDin
    Participant
    Posts: 571
    #2241410

    I am not familiar with Florida but have fished the Baja a fair amount. Some of those fish might be too much for a 12 or 15 year old to handle. Just something to consider. The guide would be able to give more info.

    I have been worked by big marlin, grouper and tuna and I definitely could not have handled those fish at 12 or 15.

    Offshore is a blast. Have fun.

    Brittman
    Participant
    Posts: 1481
    #2241415

    We were 17 miles out and the ocean was relatively flat once we passed the surf breakers. Half day trip was $500 including a pretty big tip. That was for still fishing (not trolling). The fish we caught were big. We lost a few to sharks that took the fish as we reeled it in. Also had a few sharks on direct, but the line cut because we were not set up to fish for sharks.

    MNdrifter
    Participant
    Posts: 1641
    #2241505

    Thanks guys! All good information to start with! I’ve been out deep sea fishing quite a few times, so I know my tolerance for rough waters. So far so good, no sea sickness. Just gathering intel on this specific area from the all knowing IDO! IF we got an opportunity at a marlin, I’d be the one in the hot seat. lol. But I believe the 12 and 15 y.o. can handle their own with big fish. 12 y.o. is 125# athletic build, 15 y.o. 220#’s and is 2” taller than me. They are big farm boys, and although I have never caught a sailfish I have battled some big ocean predators, I have confidence they will do alright.

    MNdrifter
    Participant
    Posts: 1641
    #2254243

    Made it out. Sitting by the pool on our last day here waiting to head to NASCAR duels this afternoon. Thought I’d post a fishing report. Went out of Port St. Lucie’s Sailfish Marina on the Daymaker charter. We trolled 3/4 of the day for Sailfish, had one Sail bite without a hookup. Oldest went first hookup and caught a Mahi Mahi. Broke up a couple hours in the middle of the day with some bottom fishing. We caught a few red snapper, an amber jack, had another big amber jack on. Also the youngest boy and me tag teamed a large shark on basically a heavy bass rod. The boy set into him battled for 1/2 hour or so before he tuckered out and cut his finger up pretty good on the line before handing me the rod to finish the battle, another 1/2 hour or so. Captain said 3-400 pounder, 6’ long give or take. Was a good trip. Budget had to get extended quite a bit, but that’s the cost of doing business! lol, we all know this outdoors addiction isn’t cheap! It was ROUGH out there!!! Boys did great with the sea sickness, mrs Drifter did not but was a trooper, and made it through! Captain worked hard to get us a sail and is well connected with the other sport fishermen that were out that day. No one on the radio landed a sail. Very few hookups even from radio chatter reports. So I guess we paid our dues for next time!!

    MNdrifter
    Participant
    Posts: 1641
    #2254244

    Pictures

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    MNdrifter
    Participant
    Posts: 1641
    #2254247

    Pictures.

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    suzuki
    Participant
    Woodbury, Mn
    Posts: 17854
    #2254265

    Ill bet that tasted awesome!?

    big_g
    Participant
    Isle, MN
    Posts: 21609
    #2254312

    watch out for that pelican !!! doah

    Wade Boardman
    Participant
    Grand Rapids, MN
    Posts: 4395
    #2254363

    Excellent trip. Not surprised on the lack of hook ups. While it has been warm here in MN, FL has been cool this winter. Those fish just don’t do cold at all. They move offshore and/or south in the winter.

    FinnyDinDin
    Participant
    Posts: 571
    #2254366

    Awesome! A trip your boys will not likely forget!

    weedis
    Participant
    Sauk Rapids, MN
    Posts: 896
    #2254371

    Looks like a blast drifter! Awesome trip with the boys!

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