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The Night Bite Is On!

Posted on: June 29th, 2013 by Capt. Wayne Conn No Comments

Summer night fishing is in FULL SWING aboard the Reward Fleet’s “Another Reward” docked at Miami Beach Marina in South Beach. Every night of the week setting sail at 8pm, returning at 12:30am in search of the yellowtail and mangrove snappers that are biting great right now.
We provide 20 lb test spinning tackle to rent if you don’t have something similar of your own to bring. We also provide all the terminal tackle needed, included Eagle Claw circle hooks. We’ve recently discovered that using light line and leaders with small circle hooks can increase our catch, and better yet, allow us to release the unwanted fish in the best condition so as to survive.
The best bait has been pieces of smelt and sardines. There are two options on how to fish. One is to fish with a super light weight and let it drop slowly with the current away from the boat, the other is to fish a heavier lead, hit the bottom, bring it up a bit and wait for that first tap. Setting the hook is not necessary with circle hooks. A short delay while dropping your rod slightly will give the biting fish enough time to take the bait and hook into it’s mouth. “Just turn the handle!” is all you need to do after that.
Since we anchor fish at night, at times the lines will go straight off the back or stern of the boat. This can create a situation that allows only the stern anglers to have the best opportunity to catch fish if chumming is done on the surface only. In striving to get our whole boat into the fish, we chum with weighted bags in the bow to bring the fish within reach to all anglers!
If you’ve never tried this type of fishing, now is the time. Fishing at night gets you out of the heat of the day, and gives you a great chance to bring home some of the best eating fish possible.
Call the Reward office at 305 3729470 to make a reservation. Friend us out on Facebook at “Reward Fishing Fleet” and get a special discount on select trips!

FALL WINTER FISHING REPORT

Posted on: January 10th, 2013 by Capt. Wayne Conn No Comments

The fall/winter season has been a productive one on the Reward Fleet!

Unlike last year, sailfish showed up early in good numbers and still are being caught on a daily basis. King mackerel, on the other hand, have been inconsistent. It seems that every time they show up, the porpoise are right with them! I can’t imagine a kingfish wanting to eat something while something is trying to eat it! Day fishing has been good for bonita, small Blackfin Tuna, Mutton snappers, and dolphin as well, depending on water and sea conditions. Amberjacks are more spring time fish, and Almaco jacks are being caught on a year round basis, especially on deeper wrecks. Thanks to the FWC’s grouper closure the last 2 years, we are seeing more small black and gag groupers than EVER before. This rule is working. We are catching them trolling plugs and large lures on the way out and back consistently, as well as on our standard bottom rigs. Night fishing has been great this whole year, and in particular,Yellowtail fishing has been excellent. It seems to be a secret that there are plenty of yellowtail to be caught off greater Miami. We rarely see other boats fishing for them. Many night trips we have limits caught of yellowtails, and routinely catch them in the daytime on the reef line, usually from 80 to 110 feet of water. We hope to see some of you folks out on the Reward Fleet soon. There is no better way to go deep sea fishing than on a party boat. Let’s face it, $40 or $50 to get out on the open sea for a 4 hour trip is not so expensive, and, you never know what you may see or catch! Also keep in mind that we offer custom group charter for MORE THAN 6 PASSENGERS, which can make a private family outing very economical. For more information, call our office at 305 3729470.

I’d like to thank all the wonderful people that have used the Reward Fishing Fleet’s services for 2012. The fact that more people are fishing and taking their kids fishing than in the last 5 years shows that in the face of ever restrictive regulations ( a good thing!) people still love to go fishing. Our Facebook page (Reward Fishing Fleet) has grown from only 30 “friends” a year ago to nearly 500! Keep a watch on our page for cool photos as well as upcoming events!

Captain Wayne Conn

Reward Fishing Fleet

www.fishingmiami.com

Vertical Jig Trip Records

Posted on: November 27th, 2012 by GregS No Comments

We are now keeping records of the biggest fish of each species caught aboard the Reward Won during our Jigging Trips.  The list will be updated and available online.  The initial list contains all documented catches we have on record to date.  In the case of the Amberjack, for instance, we know multiple large fish have been caught, but unfortunately, never officially weighed.  This list is a starting point, with many ‘open’ species.

 

Rules to be considered for a Jig Trip Record:

1)  Must be caught aboard the Reward Won on a Vertical Jigging Trip

2)  Must be caught on an artificial lure that has been cast/dropped.  Not trolled.  No live, cut, dead bait, or tipped jigs.

3)  Must be weighed on an accurate scale, and witnessed.

4)  New records must exceed existing record by a half pound.

 

We encourage you to release your catch.  Large fish may be weighed in a ‘cradle’, instead of by the jaw, to prevent injury.  The weight of the cradle will be deducted afterwards.

 

The records are meant to document our collective jigging accomplishments, and to promote friendly competition.  They are a work in progress.

 

Click this link to see the current Reward Won Jig Trip Records

Winter Fishing Report

Posted on: November 24th, 2012 by Capt. Wayne Conn No Comments

Fall is creeping up on us, that’s for sure! The last two mornings have had temperatures nearly 10 degrees less than previous days. Those cooling winds will cool the water, and that will signal many good things for fishermen of South Florida.
About two weeks ago we had an early mullet run which brought excitement to our inshore and coastwise fishermen. Word has it that a main run will be arriving soon, with the usual tarpon, jacks, snook and bluefish hot on their tails. The tell-tale sign to look for is pelicans in big numbers diving in the mullet. These fish will hit plugs and soft baits with abandon when they are worked right in the feeding frenzy. Spanish Mackerel, although they really don’t feed on the mullet, seem to appear about the same time. These are wonderful light tackle fish, and excellent table fare as well. They can easily be found by trolling small plugs or spoons in 20 to 40 feet of water within a mile or so of shore. If you hook a few in one area anchor or drift with a chum bag out, and cast artificial lures to them. I like a 6 to 8lb spinning outfit for them, casting jigs, spoons, and plugs.
On the outside reef line we are having good catches of yellowtails both day and night, as well as vermillion snappers. 60 to 100 feet of water is where they have been. Drifting with small strip baits close to the bottom as well as anchoring and chumming will get you into these fish. Fish with a light weight in the chum line, and put bigger baits on the bottom that will attract a nice mutton or grouper. Incidentally, a steak of a Spanish mackerel is one of my favorite bottom baits for big fish!
Offshore of the reef we are still catching kingfish in 160 to220 feet of water, fishing with the standard 3 hook king rig and 2 to 4 ounces of lead in front of it. Hit the bottom while drifting, then put it in the rod holder, allowing it to drift upward somewhat. Expect these fish to be 8 to 20 pounds, and great fighters on 20 lb tackle! The same rig has produced nice muttons and red groupers as well in the last week or so. A pleasant surprise recently has been some decent dolphin showing up in reasonably shallow water. They seemed to be following schools of small flying fish. Many were caught in the “gaffer” size by trolling or live baiting in 300 foot of water or less. Sailfish have had a strong showing, with one or two hooked by our fishermen every day. The fact that so much fresh water has been dumping into our coastwise waters may have something to do with it, with few days having that beautiful blue water in close that the sailfish love!
We hope you have great action in your fishing adventures, and also hope you come down to the Reward Fleet to give us the opportunity to show you what we do. Keep in mind we also have vertical jigging trips and all day trips that leave the dock as early as 6AM! We will launch a special 6am to 12 pm trip on Sundays, designed to get our NFL fans out fishing early enough to get home to enjoy the action. Phone number is 305 3729470, www.fishingmiami.com, or friend us at Reward Fishing Fleet on facebook!
Hope to see you soon!
Captain Wayne Conn

Fall Report

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

I’m happy to say that this past summer season we have taken more people fishing than any other summer period in the last 10 years! It’s refreshing to know that what we do is still enjoyed by many.
There has been consistent daytime fishing, with a recent showing of plenty of red groupers on the local reefs and ledges. Undoubtedly, this was a result of the hurricane that made a pass by our area. This has happened in the past, and was a welcome surprise! On a single trip last saturday we caught over 35 groupers in a few hours, keeping 16 for our customers to enjoy at the dinner table. Every day since then we have been catching them on every trip! They are eating the standard king fish rig, as well as hitting vertical jigs and deep jigs.
The day action has changed from loads of bonitas to good bottom fishing, scattered nice kings, and an occasional sailfish.
Captain Chris Temmel had his first season of working nights with “Ace mate” Jerry. His catches were very consistent, catching loads of mangrove snappers as well as an abundance of yellowtail snappers. Incidentally, yellowtails should be plentiful throughout the fall months.
The next few weeks we will be using the “Reward Won” at times to do some routine maintanence as well as upgrading the “Another Reward”. Look for a nice paint job, and new A/C installed!

Jig Trip Newbies: Bonito Bonanza

Posted on: June 27th, 2012 by GregS No Comments

The Reward Won set out of Bayside’s MiaMarina with 10 anglers into rainy and windy conditions early Saturday morning with no bait, just vertical jigs.  The current made jigging deeper spots for bottom fish difficult, but the mid-water column bite was hot.  Bonitos in the 10-15lb class ate jigs readily, and at times 5 and 6 anglers were fighting fish simultaneously.  A few Blackfin Tuna and Almaco Jacks cooperated, including a 29lb Almaco coming over the rail.  At the end of the day over 30 bonito were released.

Everyone on board caught fish on vertical jigs, and it was 5 of the 10 anglers first Jig Trip!  The jigging outfits Capt. Wayne provided  got a work out,  and few folks got hooked on jigging.  I’m sure they’ll be back for more.

If you are new to vertical jigging, or curious about the jigging trips, NOW is the time to jump aboard.  The Bonitos are thick, and are very forgiving when it comes to jigging technique.  Although not good to eat, they are strong fighters and fun to catch.  It is not uncommon for Blackfin Tuna and Wahoo to mix in and shadow the schools of Bonito.

The next Jig Trips are scheduled for Sunday July 8th and Sunday July 22nd.   The trip is capped at 12 anglers for comfort.  To find out more information, and to make your reservation, call 305-372-9470.  Trips are scheduled every other weekend, throughout the summer.

For those interested in bait fishing, there is an Iron Man all day trip scheduled for this Sunday July 1st.  Call the office for details.

May Fishing Report

Posted on: May 14th, 2012 by Capt. Wayne Conn No Comments

The past few weeks has given us some great fishing! Sailfishing, which in my opinion was the worst season we’ve had in many years, has been AWESOME, with many trips seeing several caught. Live Herring and Pilchards have worked the best, but we’ve caught quite a few on dead baits as well.
May 1st was opening day for grouper. We had horrible weather that day, but we did run several “Super Grouper” trips on the Reward Won out of Bayside Marketplace within the next few days. On these trips we only used vertical jigs, no bait allowed. Even so, we did catch grouper each trip. Most notable was an 18 lb Snow Grouper caught by young Paul Weber out of nearly 400 feet of water! A 10 lb Golden Tilefish that was caught near another wreck in 510 feet of water by Adam Summers was an outstanding catch as well. Amazing to see how effective these vertical jigs are from top to bottom. We also got beat up daily by plenty of big Amberjacks! Since opening day we have caught about a dozen gag and black groupers. Not too shabby!
Big kings are also around, with some reaching over 30 lbs. Check out Reward Fishing Fleet on Facebook for some great photos. These fish are hitting ballyhoo on a three hook rig, fished with a wide variety of weights, depending on current.
This past week the big BF Tunas have shown up as well, with some to over 30 lbs being caught daily.
That same current that has helped day fishing has hurt us at night. The strong currents keep us from anchoring as deep as we’d like to. No worries though, we’ve still had nice catches of yellowtail, mutton, and mangrove snappers, with the big mangrove run right around the corner. It’s time to get on the night boat and enjoy this annual event!
Check out our web site www.fishingmiami.com and Facebook page Reward Fishing Fleet for upcoming special trips and events. We also are hosting a daily Summer Camp out of Miami Beach Marina, and a 5 day educational summer fishing camp out of Bayside Marketplace as well. Sign up your kids now!

“Super Grouper” Jigging Trips Recap

Posted on: May 11th, 2012 by GregS No Comments

The ‘Super Grouper’ vertical jigging trips were a success.  Hard working Captains Wayne and Chris and dedicated jig fisherman turned what was a slow weekend for many Miami anglers into productive days on the water.  Four 10-hour days aboard the Reward Won produced a mixed bag with several species of grouper (snowy, scamp, gag, red), mutton snapper, golden tilefish, almaco and amberjacks (to 42lbs), blackfin tuna, bonitos included, all on jigs.  Experienced jig fisherman from New York and Oklahoma City joined the local “Miami Wrecking Crew” hitting spots from 100’ to 490’ .  Fun was had by all, aided by Capt. Wayne’s contribution of a keg of Presidente.

Some higlights include:

  • Day 1:  4 snowy groupers of 8, 10, 13 and 18lbs!
  • Day 2:  5 scamp groupers, 1 snowy, 3 ‘keepers’ and Jomal’s 42lb AJ
  • Day 3:  10lb Golden tile, Gag grouper, multiple 35-42lb Amberjacks
  • Day 4:  13lb Red Grouper, multiple Jacks

 

Please call the office to learn more about future jigging trips.

Here are some pictures.  (Photo credits to Raymond Yong and Evan Gluck.)

 

April Report

Posted on: April 9th, 2012 by Capt. Wayne Conn No Comments

This past month or so we’ve had unusually warm weather, which I’m sure has contributed to the inconsistent fishing. There are however, some good things happening as we speak.

The full moon period of April can produce great fishing for South Florida. This past week has shown signs of big kingfish around, with several over 20 lbs caught. Hopefully this will precede a full blown run of big fish soon. Historically this is a late spring event.

Sailfishing this week has finally peaked as well. This has been the slowest sailfish winter we’ve had in many years, so their daily appearance has been a welcome one.

Amberjacks have shown up on many of our offshore wrecks in better numbers than I’ve seen in recent years. In my opinion, over 10 years ago the commercial fishing pressure on these fish contributed to their near disappearance. I hope that it doesn’t happen again! Amberjacks are one of the best fish for our customers to experience. And, it’s not necessary to kill them all, as it doesn’t take many of them to provide fresh fish for your anglers. Some of the jacks we’ve caught and released were in the 50 to 60 lb range! Many of these were caught on live pinfish and heavy tackle, others with vertical jigs and braided line on some really cool rods and reels. These new generation outfits can catch a big jack just as fast as the old school heavy bottom rods, and give an incredible fight in the process! Check out the You Tube videos on our Face Book page” Reward Fishing Fleet”.

May 1st was the opening day of vermillion snapper season. We have been able to catch some, but prevailing strong north currents are making it hard to fish for them in the deeper water that they are in. We hope they move back into shallow water soon!

April 1st is opening day of grouper season, a much awaited day! We have caught and released many nice black and gag groupers, with two warsaws as well. Undoubtedly the closure is working. Success stories in fishery management need to be recognized, and the efforts applauded! The Reward Won has scheduled 3 “Super Grouper” trips in the first week. These trips may be full by the time you read this. Call the Reward office for possible cancellations.

The night fishing is also improving, with many nights producing near limits of yellow tail snappers, and some big muttons to boot! Bring a 20 lb spinning rod, and a30 lb conventional rod to cover the options.

We at the Reward Fishing Fleet are proud to announce that we are partnering with the Fishing And Conservation Trust and Sea Grant to offer a 5 day educational fishing camp out of Bayside Marina on the 56 foot “Reward Won”. Our goal is to teach the kids proper techniques and and ethical angling concepts, enough so that they will want to fish, and enjoy fishing with friends and family in the future. See our ad on this page, and get your kids signed up early for a discount!

Captain Wayne Conn

www.fishingmiami.com

Facebook: Reward Fishing Fleet

 

Vertical Jigging Update, Future Trips

Posted on: March 30th, 2012 by GregS No Comments

1)  Vertical Jigging Trip Recap 3/24/2012

We had a great day. No bait on board, only jigging. Highlights:
-~25# Warsaw Grouper
-5 gag groupers between 8-20#
-5.5# mutton snapper
-blackfin
-bonitos
-AJs and Amberjacks were thick! We had 5 guys hook up at once and all 5 got wrecked. These were 40-60#+ class fish. landed 15-35# class jacks.
-5 of 8 guys hooked up at same time. 7 of 8 another.
-All 6 grouper were released in good condition using the Seaqualizer. We kept one aj, one almaco, one blackfin, one mutton, and a bonito for bait, all other fish were released.
-We lost upwards of 20 fish to pop offs and wrecks. Most larger jacks we couldn’t even stop on 80lb/pe6/350gr outfits.

Check out the video here:

2)  “Super Grouper” Vertical Jigging Trips – May 1st, May 5th, May 6th

Grouper season opens May 1st. We have put together Super Grouper jig trip May 1st, and opening weekend jig trips Sat/Sun May 5th & 6th. Back-to-back 10 hour jigging trips targeting grouper. $130 per angler, per day, includes tip.  6:30am – 4:30pm trip off Miami, south toward Key Largo. We will be hitting wrecks and rock piles in 150′-400’+, just jigging aboard the Reward Won. The trip is limited to 12 fisherman.

We already have reservations from experienced jig fisherman coming down from New York/New Jersey and Mass. to join us for this intense jigging experience.  This is a great opportunity to learn from the best.

A deposit of $50 is required to reserve your spot(s). Please call 305-372-9470 and let them know you’d ‘like to make a reservation for the ‘super grouper weekend jig trip’. The remaining $80 is due in cash the day of the trip.

3)  Jig Trip Saturday April 7th, 2012

6:30am – 1:30pm (or later depending on afternoon booking) $100 (includes tip) per angler

Trip is limited to 12 jig fisherman, so please make your reservation now to ensure a spot.  The bite has really picked up and the big jacks are hungry!  Like to jig?  We’d love to have you!  Call the office for more details.