How to fish for Mahi

Im taking my son out on boat for his birthday to go fishing. He wants to catch Mahi. Does anyone have recommendations to go out just to target mahi? Troll with skirted ballyhoo on weedlines? I guess my question is if you were only going out for mahi what would you do?

Replies

  • D E E PD E E P Posts: 1,625 Moderator
    I like to run to the change of color and set out a spread of five lines. We offer a variety naked, skirted and lures. Looking for weed patches and birds.

    Trend seems to be running and gunning. Run till you find something fishy; stop to fish.
  • Plastered2850Plastered2850 Posts: 1,515 Captain
    Been real bad fishing for Mahi, past 2 weeks all
    the weed and debri you could hope for and no
    fish.Stay on the reef and live bait will be your
    best chance to get a Mahi.
  • conquistadorconquistador Posts: 211 Deckhand
    Drive 1-2 hours NORTH or SOUTH from West Palm-Miami and troll the baits mentioned above. That's your BEST chance for Mahi.
    1996 24' CC w/300 Yamaha - Sold
  • T - L U VT - L U V Posts: 187 Officer
    All the replies are the correct way to catch your dolphin but I believe "Plastered" said it best. Get yourself some pilchards and do some drifting over the reef. Maybe start out in 200' and just drift into about 90'. I would even throw out a chum bag and maybe get some frozen sardines and cut them up in little chunks and chum with those as well. that is a good way to get them to come to the back of the boat. Also you have the chance to catch a bunch of other species such as sailfish, kingfish, tuna, etc. not sure when you're planning on going but keep in mind that ocean is going to be a little sporty this week into next so keep an eye on the wind. Good luck and I hope it works out for you and your son!


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  • gjalemangjaleman Posts: 15 Greenhorn
    Planning on going out the 20th. Right now its 50/50 on wind/waves. Thank you very much for the recommendations. I am starting out and learning.
  • T - L U VT - L U V Posts: 187 Officer
    gjaleman wrote: »
    Planning on going out the 20th. Right now its 50/50 on wind/waves. Thank you very much for the recommendations. I am starting out and learning.


    Feel free to PM me your number if you'd like and I'll be more than happy to help you out!


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  • The Cat's EyeThe Cat's Eye Posts: 1,217 Officer
    Or you could just do it like most fisherman (desperate types) offshore do it these days:

    1.) Look for several boats stopped in one small area and race over to them.

    2.) Follow a larger boat running with radar and let them take you to some birds/fish feeding.

    3.) Keep your eyes peeled and if you see a boat turn around or stop, race over to them.

    etc etc. and etc.
    Giimoozaabi
  • alacrityalacrity Posts: 2,662 Captain
    Or you could just do it like most fisherman (desperate types) offshore do it these days:

    1.) Look for several boats stopped in one small area and race over to them.

    2.) Follow a larger boat running with radar and let them take you to some birds/fish feeding.

    3.) Keep your eyes peeled and if you see a boat turn around or stop, race over to them.

    etc etc. and etc.

    this is really funny, and really true which is in turn really sad.


  • Rebait2003Rebait2003 Posts: 116 Deckhand
    When I get the opportunity to go with my fishing buddies offshore looking for Dolphin is early in the day we like to run and gun looking for;
    1) Birds - Dolphin and other predators chase the bait to the surface and the birds dive on them as they try to get away. Good set of binoculars is a must! Frigate birds diving usually means something and flocks of seagulls.
    2) Look for anything floating on the surface IE log, rope, pallet, buckets, etc. Anything that can hold baitfish!
    3) Look for Weedlines. My experience has been that on many trips, the smaller fish(schoolies) are on the weedline and the bigger fish are usually away a short distance.
    4) Current rips or slicks.
    5) Life - Weeds with small fish on them. Flying fish scattering. Birds. Frigates.
    If we see something then we put out a spread of Ballyhoo with skirts, Dolphin Delights or Jr's, and other dolphin lures.

    Later in the day we tend to find a fishy area and troll the spread and hope!! Such as a weedy area with birds and sporadic weeds and patches of weeds.

    If all else fails on the weekend when the weekend googans are out, then resort to mooching as stated above!!!
  • rivamunstasteverivamunstasteve Posts: 611 Officer
    Or you could just do it like most fisherman (desperate types) offshore do it these days:

    1.) Look for several boats stopped in one small area and race over to them.

    2.) Follow a larger boat running with radar and let them take you to some birds/fish feeding.

    3.) Keep your eyes peeled and if you see a boat turn around or stop, race over to them.

    etc etc. and etc.

    This is what most do. So sad. Please don't do it especially with a kid on board.
  • conchydongconchydong Pompano BeachPosts: 3,962 Captain
    alacrity wrote: »
    this is really funny, and really true which is in turn really sad.

    So true. I predominately deep drop and every time we stop on a spot we get swarmed. Sometimes it is just googins thinking you are on Dolphin but often it is people trying to mark your spots. Often we have to put it in gear and leave quickly but with the modern electronics it is futile. Fishing has become a game now where you try to out wit the other arseholes. I am getting sick of it.

    “Everyone behaves badly--given the chance.”
    ― Ernest Hemingway

  • SalteyDogSalteyDog Posts: 38 Greenhorn
    The Dolphin are usually around Flotsom, weeds and birds. The trick is to not get to close to the weeds, birds: turns, frigets, or floatsom. Then work around the area, mow the lawn. The hard part is that whatever sign you are fishing is keeping track of location, but if you get to close you will drive the food fish they are eating down. The birds will give you an idea of the size of fish. If the birds fly into the current they are usually bigger, the smaller fish can't fight the current. You will usually get your bite going with the current the bait fish can't fight the current and most of the time get the bites going with the current it is more natural. They don't have the stamina to fight the current. Stay off the signs of fish and get a little closer each pass if they are their they will come to you and bite. You will also find wahoo around the signs put a bait down deeper a ways back too. You might even get a marlin. The biggest dolphin I caught was under a small piece of foam about a foot square, about 35#. They also love pallets the bait hides in the slats and the dolphin wriggal into the slats to eat. Don't get to close is the key and always keep an eye on your sign. The piece of foam I only got one shoot at it and the wind pushed it away when I fought the fish, I also caught a wehoo and also saw a Marlin by the same location.
  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 9,217 Admiral
    you guys are making a strong argument for me to get a bigger boat to go offshore. So you're saying all I have to do is find someone stopped or with radar and follow them around? Hmmm


    I actually have a solution for that if you want it. I was at the mouth of Pass A Grille 3-4 weeks ago at the tripod, and my motor wouldn't start. So I pulled the cowling and....you want to see roaches scatter when the lights come on? Be in a crowd of boats and pull your cowling, there won't be a boat in sight :rotflmao

    Next time I;m out on a spot and I see boats approaching, i'm gonna pull the cowling and pretend I'm working on it.
    People use statistics the way a drunk uses a street light, for support rather than illumination.
  • jtnole02jtnole02 Posts: 21 Greenhorn
    Last weekend I looked out to 800 feet. Met a guy at the boat ramp that had 6 peanuts that he said were on a weed line at 900ft deep. Personally, I would look for a color change/rip with some weed on it between 500-100 feet and drift. If there is not any color line or rip then drift the reef at 300-100ft with live pilchards and a chum bag. Also have a pitch rod ready because they will show up out of nowhere and be gone quickly. Also, the blackfin tuna bite in the afternoons between 4-7PM has been consistent. For this, drift 250-120 with live pilchards on spinning rods.
  • jtnole02jtnole02 Posts: 21 Greenhorn
    Last weekend I looked out to 800 feet and found nothing. Met a guy at the boat ramp that had 6 peanuts that he said were on a weed line at 900ft deep. Personally, I would look for a color change/rip with some weed on it between 500-100 feet and drift. If there is not any color line or rip then drift the reef at 300-100ft with live pilchards and a chum bag. Also have a pitch rod ready because they will show up out of nowhere and be gone quickly. Also, the blackfin tuna bite in the afternoons between 4-7PM has been consistent. For this, drift 250-120 with live pilchards on spinning rods.
  • JIMinPBJIMinPB Posts: 1,875 Captain
    gjaleman wrote: »
    Troll with skirted ballyhoo on weedlines? I guess my question is if you were only going out for mahi what would you do?

    That's a darn good start right there. Pretty much everyone else has given good advice on top of that. With mahi, you just have to find them. They are constantly moving around. The signs to look for have been pretty well listed already. When fishing for mahi, watching the waters around you is as important as anything else. You really want to pay attention to your surroundings & keep looking for the signs.

    Those greedy little fish actually bite on almost anything when they are lit up & hungry. Yesterday, I had them taking tuna plugs & Mylar flashers, which are normally not the best choice of bait for going after mahi. Live baits are usually the best. Trolled dead ballyhoo are great too & are probably the most popular choice. They can be skirted or naked. Some days the fish want them one way & other days they prefer them the other way. Skirted strips often work well. "noisy" lures like chuggers & jet heads work pretty well bare, if you don't want the mess of dealing with natural baits. Flashy stuff like spoons can sometimes get them too, but are more likely to attract things in the mackerel family.

    If you troll natural baits like ballyhoo, your trolling speed will be limited to like 6 or 7 knots max. They last longer at speeds closer to 5. With the artificial baits, you can move a bit faster & cover more ground. Covering more ground makes it more likely that you will find the school. The natural baits are more likely to get bit if you do find the school. That's the basic trade off in bait selection.

    Up off of PB, we have a bunch of schoolies that are borderline-legal in length swimming around right now. I found them about 5 miles out the other day. Another guy that I spoke to found them within a mile of shore. Like I said, they move around a lot. You need to look for them.
  • Jack HexterJack Hexter New Port RicheyPosts: 4,298 Moderator
    If you are looking for only mahi, I'd get on a plane and head to Hawaii. In Florida, we call them dolphin or dorado :wink
  • The Greater FoolThe Greater Fool Posts: 134 Officer
    All good advice..I'd say as a newbie instead of fumbling with all kinds of different skirts, lures, etc... go to the bait shop and buy some chin weighted ballyhoo rigged with mono.. find some fishy water and get a good spread out (don't know how old your son is or how much help he can give). If dolphin are there and hungry, imo you'll likely get a bite on a simple natural bait like this..

    De-scale them and break the backbone on back end of bait..drag them around.. grab some pilchard and have two live bait Rods ready.. maybe a popper if you're really on them and want to see some awesome bites. Good luck


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  • kci-miakci-mia Posts: 200 Deckhand
    One bait/lure I have the most faith on for Mahi is the *** feather. I know it's old school and not very popular now but my family has been using them for 40+ years to catch Mahi and it is about the most effective bait/lure. To maximize our chances we run and gun looking for weed, birds, any debris on the water and then troll around it with couple *** feathers off the stern at good speed. Our single favorite color combo is the pearl head with all yellow feathers or white/red feathers. It's never caught huge fish for us (those are usually taken with live bait) but it always gets the most number of fish for us every year.

    ETA. It's Japanese Feather Jig
  • HurricaneBKHurricaneBK Posts: 200 Deckhand
    I don't particularly like trolling, even when it's productive I find it rather boring, so I've always tended to run and gun for mahi looking for floating debris or weeds. One of the things I started doing a few years ago is picking up the baits on the weedlines with a sabiki. This accomplishes two things, you have bait right from the source which is exactly what they're feeding on and additionally the act of stopping and catching the little jacks that live near a weed line often causes a bit of commotion which perks the interest of any predators living nearby. I can't count the number of times I've stopped on a patch, tossed out a live bait or jig and seen no signs of mahi but once I caught a couple of those smaller fish living there it was like ringing the dinner bell for mahi.
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