Archive for January, 2012

Winter Jigging

Posted on: January 25th, 2012 by GregS No Comments

Grouper season has closed, and we have shifted focus from working the bottom to jigging the entire water column.  This requires lightening up on the gear to be able jig longer, with less effort.

Trolling small feathers and finding birds working in 400-500’ of water is a good way to locate black fin tuna, especially on overcast days.  The black fin can be targeted with much lighter jigging outfits working 100 gram jigs rapidly through the top 100-200’ feet of the water column.  Black fin routinely hit the jig on the drop.  Wahoo are always a possibility when fishing these depths.  We are working to establish a pattern to be able to successfully target wahoo, as opposed to just being a phenomenal incidental catch.  We have been sharing wire and cable rigging techniques for use with the jigs.

Capt. Wayne and Sehoon’s jigging,wahoo,vertical jiggingWahoo

Jacks are another target; both almaco and amber.  A common scenario is to find these fish hanging 200-250’ down over structure in 320’ or more of water.  This is where color coded metered braid comes in handy.  200-250 gram jigs are commonly used in this scenario, but if conditions allow to go lighter, do it.  Almacos and AJs seem to respond well to the long slim style of jigs worked quickly and rhythmically through the ‘zone’.

Kingfish, found shallower, can provide hot action but are notorious jig stealers.  King cut offs frequently occur on drop, with the kingfish striking the leader just above the jig as it descends.  Wire can help alleviate the problem, don’t forget wire assist hooks as well.  A hot king bite is a great time to break out the old beat up jigs from your bag, or those collecting dust.  Fish hooked on the upstroke have a much better chance of being landed.

A variety of other species are also commonly encountered this time of year.

Modifying strategies to fish around the grouper closure  provides a great opportunity to keep jigging fresh, and target different species.

Interested in our Vertical Jigging Specialty Trip?  Call the office to learn more, and make your reservation on the next scheduled trip.


Written by GregS aka SeaGreen


Headboat Habits

Posted on: January 17th, 2012 by Capt. Wayne Conn No Comments

Cool weather has finally come to town, at least for a while anyway. Fishing in general has been erratic at best. We had a few nice trips catching kingfish, only to have them disappear. Normally kings are a staple for us as well as other coastal fishermen in South Florida. It’s fairly easy to predict that they will show up in force any day now.

December usually brings herds of sailfish our way as well, but haven’t been easy to find up until the last few days. Sunday, January 16, the North wind and north current running under the wind created the “rip” and sailfish tailing conditions. Many sails were hooked and released. Standard sailfishing techniques such as kite fishing or flat line fishing with live bait were used. More effective was to see the tailers and pitch a live bait to them. Small fast boats with towers make this fishing exciting! Tailers don’t always “tail” but appear usually on the southern face of a wave, riding it southward. Frequently they are in small groups.

The past few weeks we have also caught quite a few large amberjacks and Almaco  jacks.  I’m cautiously optomistic that this is a sign that we may have a strong jack season this spring. It really has been several years since they’ve been present in good numbers. Live pinfish on a heavy bottom fishing rig is standard and vertical jigs work amazing at times. Nothing is quite like a 30 pound Almaco hitting on a flat run with braided line! We try to release nearly all of these wonderful fish, but will keep a nice one to divide up for our fishermen.

The best consistent fishing this past month has been at night. A great night catching plenty of yellowtails, mangrove and mutton snappers for customers on the night trips. We use 12 to 20 pound tackle, and small barbless circle hooks.

I’m happy to announce that the Reward Fishing Fleet has had its web and Facebook sites renovated by the expertise of Rudy Gomez at Cyberangler with consultation from Greg of These guys are awesome at what they do. The website is,  Facebook page is Reward Fishing Fleet at Facebook. We also have videos that are amazing. Check them out, as well as posted fishing reports, info and tips on an upcoming blog. We also will be posting a schedule of specialty trips such as vertical jigging, 10 to 12 hour “Ironman” trips, and overnight trips starting in the Spring.

Tight lines!

Captain Wayne


New Year’s Report

Posted on: January 13th, 2012 by Capt. Wayne Conn No Comments

Headboat Habits

Hey fishermen! I hope everybody has had a good fall, and ready for the winter blast, not only of cold weather, but of great fishing to come.

Hopefully, our weather patterns may have finally changed somewhat. I don’t know about you, but we on the Reward Fleet are tired of several things that come with those Nor’ Easters that seem to appear on weekends.

Some recently heard comments by our anglers:

  • Is this 70 foot boat considered a “Small Craft”?
  • Why is it so bouncy out here but calm at the dock?
  • It isn’t safe out here…..take me home NOW ( I’ll pay extra)
  • (barf)……!
  • MAN…this is fun! Do you always catch 10 to 30 pound Dolphin off Miami Beach?
  • Why are all those people complaining about the rough weather? Fishing has been AWESOME!

Actually folks, our biggest challenge are to convince our anglers that no one has died of being sea sick, and that in some cases just calming down will make the trip manageable. Of course, catching a big fish is an instant cure!

How has the fishing been? Glad you want to know. Spanish Mackerel are biting about as good as they can get, especially on the outgoing tide. Trolling small feathers and spoons will get you on the fish, and casting jigs, plugs or flies will keep them coming.

Mutton snappers as well as nice Gag and Black groupers are being caught. Dropping live baits such as pinfish on heavy tackle on any of our wrecks may result in a crushing strike! Muttons prefer the areas around the wrecks, and can be caught on fresh chunks of bait(Spanish Mackerel are one of the best) left lying quietly on the bottom. Use a lighter leader for the Muttons, no more than 30-40 lb test. We’ve caught them up to 18 lbs this week, and they don’t get that big being stupid and eating heavy leaders!

Sailfish are crankin’ as well. We have caught them on nearly every trip using kite baits as well as float baits or flat lines. Threadfin herring are primo, large pilchards adequate, Goggle-Eyes…royalty!

Our night trips are solid with small bluefish, that eat ANYTHING. Yellowtails are still our staple catch-of-the-night.

Our vertical jigging trip on the Reward Won out of Bayside Marina this past Saturday was SUPER. Ten anglers jigging their butts off had a banner trip.

  • 15 Almaco jacks, 3 to 18 pounds. (6 released)
  • One 10 to 12 pound Mutton snapper
  • One 18 to 20 pound Gag grouper
  • 5 nice amberjacks, 15 to 30 pounds(3 released, two didn’t revive)
  • 8 Black fin tunas, 3 to 8 pounds
  • 3 bonitas, 6 to 12 pounds

Check out Reward Fishing Fleet on Facebook for photos and videos! We do vertical jigging trips routinely, just call the office and leave us your contact info, we’ll let you know when we are doing the next one.

Hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday, and the best New Year to boot!

Captain Wayne Conn

Reward Fishing Fleet