Captain Scott Hamilton
When it comes to offshore fly fishing there is no one else more experienced than Captain Scott Hamilton. Capt. Scott has had his hand in the salty waters of the Palm Beach offshore scene for over 25 years. He thrives in the chaos that is bluewater fly fishing and has established himself as one of, if not the top offshore fly fishing guides in the country.
This post will go over exactly what to expect when going out chasing pelagic fish with him.
As we roll into spring and summer, the offshore conditions become perfect for knocking a bunch of first-on-fly fish species such as mahi-mahi, kingfish, wahoo, amberjack, blackfin tuna, false albacore, big sharks, and much more off the list.
When it comes to fishing action, there is no shortage of chaos. Between the amberjacks and false albacore, your arms will feel like wet noodles after getting crushed by these fish.
Most people gravitate to targeting the coveted dolphin aka Mahi Mahi and that is also Captain Scott’s favorite fish to target. He quotes “If I had one fish to fish for it would hand down be the dolphin. They are incredibly fast, acrobatic as all hell, intelligent, Have lit up colors and you can sight fish the heck out of them.”
The Albie run provides non-stop drag screaming action and peaks in late June. This happens along the reef in 60-120 ft. of water. Live chumming with pilchards is the most effective way to draw Albies within casting range (sometimes it’s unnecessary to use chum due to drawing in the sharks). Use a 10, 11, or 12 weight to help prevent feeding the bigger fish to the sharks. While looking for Albies there’s a good chance you’ll run into small blackfins. However, your best chance at a big blackfin is in low-light situations – dawn, dusk, and overcast days.
Scott’s expectations for the kingfish are really high this year He’ll look for them to crash bait inside and outside the third reef. A full sinking line should be used to get the fly to the kingfish. You can either strip quickly through the schools, or let your fly sink to the depth you need and do a “jigging” action with your rod as you strip the fly up. Follow your fly down slowly with your rod as many strikes come on the fall.
Dolphin & How It’s Done
Depending on what species you target it will change tactics. Let’s talk about targeting the Mahi.
The most productive way to fish for Mahi that Scott utilizes is running and gunnin’ looking for debris and weed patches. Scott will utilize live chum as well. Normally, he nets some white baits and fills the well to keep the hungry dolphin around once he finds them.
Shutting down and throwing a few scoops of whitebait and a teaser across the weed mats will surely get the attention of the aggressive dolphin.
Once you have one hooked that’s when all the fun starts. Everyone knows the old saying – keep one hooked and it will bring the rest. It’s the same on the fly.
On the boat, you will learn a few extremely necessary techniques that Scott has perfected over the years to keep the dolphin interested and eager to eat.
Having the proper boat is an important tool when offshore fly fishing. Scott’s boat is rigged for success.
The rear of the boat has a large open area with a pushed-forward center console to give more room for anglers to cast and see.
6-rod holders are attached to the T top and fully protect rods & reels. They are able to be stored rigged and ready! Not to mention the under gunwale rod holders for another 8 rods, you will be set for any situation.
An extremely comfortable 2 person bench seat on the bow of the boat makes for a comfortable run.
Rods & Reels
When it comes to rods and reels Scott has you covered if you don’t want to run out and get your own. But if you are someone who likes to have your own gear feel free to do so!
8 weight with an intermediate line is a must-have and will cover all of your smaller fish such as tripletail, rainbow runners, schoolie dolphin, and more.
10 weight with either intermediate or full sink (sink 7) style line. This will have you covered for the bigger albacore and blackfins when you get into them as well as kingfish and wahoo.
12 weight with a floating or sinking line. If you want to target sharks or sailfish, he recommends a floating line. If you want to chase cobia, wahoo, or amberjack, have it rigged with with a full sinking. (Sink 7)
When it comes to fly patterns there is one that stands out. The famous “Eat Me” style fly was invented by Scott Hamilton and tweaked by Darren, the shop owner. It is insanely effective for anything that swims in the ocean big or small. From smaller schoolie dolphins, amberjack, tuna and so much more. Tie this pattern in a few colors like olive, chartreuse, and white, and size from #2 all the way to #4/0.
Mushmouth Minis also work incredibly well due to their flashy baitfish nature and are a must-have.
Some larger poppers like the CB Inshore Popper are an awesome addition if you want to see Bonita and tuna airing out.
We have also put together an Offshore Pelagic box with all the right flies you want while trying to find fish in the ocean.
One of the best parts off offshore fly fishing, especially with Captain Scott, is being able to take home the catch and enjoy it with your family! Scott will clean and bag all the fresh fish that you have caught thoughout the day.