Sunday, August 02, 2015

The Weird Dolphin Season

I am not an expert on Dolphin (Mahi Mahi) behavior by any means, but if they are like most other fish spawning time depends on the moon and water temperature.  This year we had some weird water temperatures and we have had a weird Dolphin bite.  The undersized "peanuts" arrived a good bit earlier than normal.  Since Dolphin are a very fast growing species, those peanuts are now keepers.  So the back side of the Dolphin season should be better than normal.

Anyway, that is my theory and I am sticking to it.  This should make some of the late summer offshore trips much more interesting.  I suspect that we can start doing more quick trolling, 8 to 10 knots, which increases the actual fishing time and produces more Wahoo and Billfish strikes out of the blue.  This can be pretty boring for a lot of folks but it only takes a few encounters with Mr. Marlin to get you hooked on the "sportfishing" side of things.

Fishing just for Marlin bores me to hell, but a nice mixed bag with a fairly steady bite doesn't.  Bigger "schoolies" also increases the chances of finding the bigger Tuna.  While Yellowfin aren't all that common out of Marathon I have hooked into a few big tuna that tend to follow the bigger baits, Dolphin, Blue runners, Bar Jacks etc. that are pretty thick offshore and near shore.

These Bar Jacks by the way are also called Blue Stripe Jacks and eat about as well as the Yellow Jack and Rainbow Runners if you are into "sushi" quality jacks.   Should you hook one and want to eat it I recommend getting it to the boat quick.  If you are looking for a bucket list fish, take your time or put them back out as live bait.

On the bucket list side of things the flats are holding quite a few Tarpon.  I had a half day trip the other afternoon and we saw quite a few.  We didn't catch the tide just right so catching was slow, but there are plenty of fish if you do get things to come together.  We didn't have any live crabs which should be right bait for sight fishing and didn't have enough chunk bait for old school fishing.  I also need to re-stock lures, 'Cuda Tubes and Bomber long A's for the other critters that can make the flats fun.  Most of the time 'Cuda will hit most anything but the spoons the guys had were not easy to use around the flats.  When we did get a live Ballyhoo or small Yellowtail, they didn't last long but with the wind and current we had catching bait was a PITA.  As it was, the trip was pretty uneventful but I believe the guys will do better with an earlier start and a better bait variety.   Crack of dawn would be the best time for jumping Tarpon.

I was able to avoid the buggers both on the water and on the road this year.  The local Dion's didn't though and one drove through the front door.  Traffic has been ridiculous and should remain that way until after opening week.  As usual the locals are complaining about the mini-season, but as long as there is a closed season, whenever it opens, there is going to be a cluster.

August is one of my slowest months so I have the doctor scheduled and not much else.  Once the first week of bug season is over though, anyone wanting to fill their freezer with Dolphin should think about sneaking down for a long weekend weather permitting.

Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.

 Tight lines,

 Capt. Dallas

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