Archive for the ‘Reports’ Category

Winter is Finally Here

Posted on: February 8th, 2016 by Capt. Wayne Conn No Comments

Well, winter is finally here! Several cold fronts have passed and brought the long awaited cool weather with them. I for one think that 8 months of summer is enough. It’s seemed like 8 months anyway.


Associated with winter fronts is the appearance of several desired fish into South Florida waters. Spanish mackerel have been here since November. Trolling with small feathers or spoons in shallow water, 15 to 40 deep or so will get you all the Spanish mackerel you want. Stop trolling when you have a fish on and cast with light tackle or fly rods for a real treat! There aren’t many fish that are more fun than mackerel on light tackle.


The high winds and sea conditions associated with the passing of these fronts have also brought dolphin and sailfish into our coastal waters, chasing herds of ballyhoo into sometimes very shallow water, as shallow as 30 feet deep! Without a doubt this year has been the best sailfish year in several years. I attribute it to the frequent heavy northeastern winds as well as more ballyhoo around than I’ve seen in a decade. Watch for the bait showers under frigates and get there as soon as you can! Casting live pilchards or ballyhoo at the sails or dolphin you see will bring instant action. On our sportfishing “machine” the 37 Topaz, “LEGACY” we have caught dozens of sails, dolphin, bonito, Spanish mackerel, and Black fin tuna in these frenzies.


Amberjacks are next on the list, with February and March being the best months for them. The way to catch them is to drop live pinfish on wrecks and ledges with at least 50 lb tackle. Use enough lead, even up to 2 lbs to get it down there but it’s important to fish up off the bottom in the water column. Most of the Amberjacks will be 50 to 100 feet off the bottom! Vertical jigs and heavy jigging rods and reels will also provide amazing action for these beautiful fish. The local wrecks are to be found online under Dade or Broward County artificial reef sites.


On the Reward Fleet boats we are catching scattered kings, muttons and usually a sail daily. The evening trips when the weather gives us a break have had great catches of yellowtail and mutton snapper as well as Spanish mackerel and bluefish. On our 10 hour all day weekend trips we have had great action with amberjacks, dolphin, and snappers. Call for details on this special trip!

Remember we are now located at Miamarina at Bayside Marketplace in downtown Miami.

Check out the Reward Fishing Fleet on Facebook for photos, videos, and more information!

Captain Wayne Conn

Late Summer Fishing Report

Posted on: August 16th, 2014 by Capt. Wayne Conn No Comments

Our summer fishing has been relatively close to what we’ve expected, with night action being the best. Nearly every night we’ve had great catches of predominantly mangrove snappers with yellowtails as well. Not only do you have the best opportunity to catch great eating fish, but to do so in the cooler temperatures of the evenings. This action is happening up and down our coastline on the outside reef lines, usually 30 to 60 feet of water.
This outside reef line is basically the last reef to pass as you go into deep water. Off Miami, this is usually less than 3 miles offshore. In Fort Lauderdale much closer, and in the Keys, up to 5 miles away. As far as tackle is concerned, on the Reward Fleet we have Penn spinning reels and Shakespeare Ugly Stik rods for our night customers to use. Filled with 20 lb test line and using only small circle hooks allows all anglers a great opportunity to catch these tasty treats.
An unusual thing about these fish is that they rarely bite at all until the magic hour of 10 pm. You may think this is a fish tale, but from my experience going back to when I was a night mate alongside “Bouncer” Smith at Haulover Docks in the late 70’s, the 10 pm bite time was the same. I can remember customers demanding that we go directly to “where we were last night” only to sit and wait, not seeing a snapper until close to that magic hour. I also remember moving the boat by request of our anglers, taking a leisurely ride to the north, then back south, anchoring right back where we had sat earlier. Of course, the fish would bite immediately, and the fishermen admonish me saying that we should have come to this spot in the first place. I rarely passed on making the obvious reply that I only moved to quiet the complainers for a while. Expect this action should go on right into September.
Day fishing has been from fantastic to slow, with bonito barrages and king action in the cooler depths fromNice King 150 to 240 feet of water, with the fish biting close to the bottom. In my opinion, these fish aren’t necessarily that deep to feed but to escape the blistering heat of surface waters. We catch them with ballyhoo or sardines rigged whole on a 3 hook rig, and enough weight to get down close to bottom. The technique is to hit the bottom, then lock the reel and let it drift upward a bit as the boat slides away. With windy conditions it’s necessary to drop back occasionally to keep the rig in the bite zone. Incidentally, vertical jigs work great on these fish. It’s not unusual to have a few jiggers outfish the whole boat! Our clients are also catching quite a few nice mutton snapper, vermillion snapper, and an occasional gag, black or red grouper of legal size.
We have now added the “LEGACY” to the fleet, to give us the perfect big game sportfishing vessel for our area. She is professionally equipped to fish for sailfish, shark, swordfish, mahi, or tuna. With air conditioning below decks, she is perfect for half or all day trips, local and Bahama waters. Call us for prices!
Check out our Facebook page “Reward Fishing Fleet” to see photos of some of the best catches being had in the Miami area.
Captain Wayne Conn
Reward Fishing Fleet on “FaceBook”

Signs of Fall Fishing in Miami

Posted on: October 14th, 2013 by Capt. Wayne Conn No Comments

It’s a wonderful thing to wake up to low 70 degree temperatures! Although summertime is our busiest times, I’m thankful that the 90 degree days are just about done. The lower temperatures are a sign of fall, as well as other things that we fishermen can relate to. Right on schedule, the finger mullet showed up in Broward and Dade inshore as well as coastal waters. Tarpon, snook and jack crevalle have been tearing them up in the Intercostal Waterway and along the beaches. Casting topwater lures into these frenzies is a major rush! Although daybreak is the magic hour, anytime the bait are balled up is the cue that predators are near, and hungry.


A very welcome sign of a good fall fishing season is the recent appearance of small “snake” kingfish off Miami Beach. On Sunday morning we caught about 20, of which a dozen or so were under the 24inch fork length minimum. These are great fish for party boat fishermen, as they aren’t too picky on what they will eat, and everybody on board has a great chance of action. We are using whole sardines, ballyhoo, or smelt a 3 hook rig with ½ to 4 ounce egg sinkers sliding above them. Jigging for them is probably the most fun and productive way to catch kingfish. Any vertical jig, spoon, or other jig that gets down 30 to 40 feet will work. The technique is to drop it deep, then whip the rod while reeling as fast as you can. You can’t get a jig away from them when they want it.


In the last few days we also have seen some nice Spanish Mackerel being caught on the lures trolled behind the “Another Reward” on the way out and back. Almost anything trolled will catch them, but diving plugs and spoons trolled at about 7 to 8 knots will really do the trick.

Night fishing has been good as well, with mixed catches of yellowtail, mangrove, and mutton snappers with small bluefish and blue runners as well.

Give us a call at Reward Headquarters at 305-372-9470 for reservations and updates on special all day or vertical jigging trips.

This is a GREAT time to fish on our party boats. On top of gorgeous weather, it is our slow season, and many times we only go out with the 10 passenger minimum. That gives everybody plenty of room and a great opportunity to have good action!

Captain Wayne Conn
Reward Fishing Fleet

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