The Dolphin Fish, Dorado,and Mahi-Mahi are all regional names for the same popular and prevalent game fish. Great sport, good looks and excellent eating make this offshore predator a prized catch in most anglers’ books.
The dolphin fish is an extremely fast growing fish and can reach sizes of 50 to 80-pounds in as little as five years.
It is a true case of “eat or be eaten”.
This normally gives the dolphin fish a healthy appetite, thus making them willing targets for anglers. But like all fish, sometimes it still takes a few tricks to get them in the mood.
Dolphin fish are normally attracted to floating debris, which over time, will collect baitfish, crabs and other small marine life. This can be as simple as a log, pallet, bucket, kelp patty or sargassum weed line. A new looking 2X4 is not likely to have baitfish yet, but a barnacle-covered board that has been in the water a while will have collected its own micro-ecosystem. When you find one of these offshore structures, ease the boat near, throw some chum and get ready.
1. Always keep a rod ready to pitch to a dolphin fish that may swim to the boat or follow a hooked fish in. Have a leader and hook tied on, so that you can grab and go quickly.
2. Keep pre-cut chum ready to toss as soon as a fish is spotted. This handful of free food will catch their interest and hold them near the boat while you deploy your hooked offering. Save your old or de-rigged baits for chum.
3. Plan to always carry some type of small live bait option for a stubborn fish. Despite their voracious appetite, you will still encounter reluctant eaters and a live bait is the final test.
4. Often a school of dolphin will “wise up” and stop biting after a while. Try changing up your offering or drop down in leader and hook size.
5. Cast a bait past the float or fish and skip it back across the surface quickly. A chin hooked ballyhoo works great and the faster the retrieve the better. Keep your rod held high while you reel for two reasons. First, it keeps the bait skipping across the surface, often triggering a bite. Then when the fish strikes, it gives you enough distance to lower the rod tip and open the bail so the fish can swallow the bait.
Try these simple steps to improve your dolphin catch, and capitalize on offshore fishing opportunities.
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