Skip to main content
Home South General Fishing & The Outdoors
«1

Replies

  • 2times2times Posts: 174 Deckhand
    So far this year has been my worst mahi fishing season since I caught my first one in 1979.

    For past 10+ years (Since 2010) I've been keeping careful records of my offshore fishing trips with my brother out of Miami-Dade.  Every year between May 01 and September 30 my brother and I target mahi as the primary specie as we love catching them.  According to my records from past 10 years we averaged 14.7 trips during those months and we caught average of 8.9 mahi per trip with one larger than 20 pounds every 5.2 trips.  Our largest fish was 31 pounds caught in July 2017 and largest number caught on a trip was 81 in 2012.  

    This year we got out 8 times so far and I expect we will get out 1 or maybe 2 more times by September 31.   So far we caught only 27 mahi this year so averaging 3.4 fish per trip and largest was 11 pounds and largest number caught was 14 fish 3 weeks ago.  Out of 8 trips so far we did not catch any mahi on 4 of those trips.   

    Prior to 2010 I did not keep records but I remember those years as being very productive.  Interestingly in 2017 and 2018 we had great mahi season and 2019 was average.   Also 2011 and 2013 season were not very productive years but nothing like this season. 

    I hope this is just a one off season and that next year will be back to normal.


  • The ParkerThe Parker Posts: 242 Deckhand
    I have been keeping a log also while this year i did hook my personal best size wise,  it has been the lowest average since i started keeping track. Now i know people need to make a living but the longlining needs to change or another species of fishery will become more scarce and possibly ruin many charter and tourists dollars. 


  • plasteredplastered Posts: 716 Officer

    I can remember back 30 years we would put chunk

    bait on all the spinners before we left the port.

  • 2times2times Posts: 174 Deckhand
    plastered said:

    I can remember back 30 years we would put chunk

    bait on all the spinners before we left the port.

    We always had couple spinners rigged with jig and some with bare hook with a bucket under the gunnel with some cut up ballyhoo chunks or fresh whole white bait.  In spring and summer it was pretty much given that you'll run into school of mahi out there.

  • probate-rprobate-r Posts: 419 Deckhand
    2times, I love your analysis... I'm jealous I haven't done the same over the years.  My take is that not only has the average size been much smaller in the last few years.. probably down a couple inches, but its been much more hit or miss.  When we hit, especially in the afternoon bite, we could catch a large volume of fish.... twice in the last 2 years we hit schools where we could have caught 50 fish (don't worry we never kept more than 10 total although we certainly caught more than we kept), but then there were several trips where we caught 0.  Compared to 15 years ago when we rarely got skunked, its definitely much more hit or miss.  Oh and I haven't seen a 20lb fish in my spread on this side of the gulf stream in several years.....
    Intrepid 370 - "My Favorite"
  • MangroveMarkMangroveMark Posts: 587 Officer
    The bad thing is that it is not US longliners targeting them, it's other countries to the south and west.
  • GarysmoGarysmo Posts: 1,607 Captain
    2times....great analysis.  
  • 101grunts101grunts Posts: 138 Deckhand
    My friend and fishing partner convinced me to buy a vacuum seal machine for this season ,needless to say is still in the box haven't been used. 
  • rivamunstasteverivamunstasteve Posts: 696 Officer
    Mexico and a few other Central And South American countries have zero commercial fishing restrictions - aside from no take zones closer to shore for tourists. 
    I really haven’t gone for them hardly at all. I feel like I’m fishing for an endangered fish. I feel like every fish I catch can have lasting effects. My toddler girls are starting to fish. Eventually I want to take them offshore to catch dolphin- will there be any left. 
  • xeniaxenia Posts: 1,256 Officer
    This is an interesting topic.  I've often compared the state of dolphin off South Florida relative to other parts of the world.  To my knowledge, and I used to be a commercial fisherman, there is no dedicated commercial dolphin (aka mahi mahi) fishery off South Florida. Never was.  Other places have extensive commercial fishing pressure, and not just hook-and-line.  In places like Ecuador and Brazil they purse seine dolphin.  Here's the biggest difference between the mahi they catch in those places, and the mahi we catch off here.  Their mahi average 15-20 lbs, ours average 3-5 lbs.  Don't try to argue, it's a fact.  Once in a blue moon you'll find a small school averaging 6-8, and we call them gaffers.  But these places that catch mahi in metric tons continue to catch fish that average much larger than the ones we catch off here, and in much greater numbers.  I can't tell you how many times I went to sell my local catch of snapper or kingfish to a wholesaler and saw boxes and boxes of imported mahi from Brazil or Ecuador brought in fresh, and they were all cores weighing 15 lbs and more.  I don't have an explanation for it.  I wish I knew what is going on.  Here is a catch from Peru.  It's the same story wherever you go in the world, whether it's Hawaii, Australia, Costa Rica, anywhere.  Schools of mahi 15-20 lbs and bigger, but we are stuck with the peanuts. 

  • plasteredplastered Posts: 716 Officer
    Fresh caught and sun baked.
  • GarysmoGarysmo Posts: 1,607 Captain
    edited September 2020 #13
    After looking at that picture I'm speachless.....
  • 2times2times Posts: 174 Deckhand
    Mahi is fastest growing fish in the world.  A 15-20 pound fish is only a year old.  The size of mahi in A area may be due to their migration pattern relative to when they hatched.  Perhaps if mahi shows up off Florida later in season they would be larger.  
    I’m going to check my record when I get hone to see if larger fish were caught later in season
  • ProfessorOProfessorO Posts: 918 Officer
    It is always easier to blame someone else.  I read that article and the folks in the Keys  and S FL should take part of the blame.  We have been over fishing our mahi population for decades.  I believe that there are 3 migration routes for mahi. FL coast to the core (highest speed) of FL current,  FL current core to the Bahamas, and east of the Bahamas.    The fishing pressure on the group closest to the coast is intense. There are around 1,000,000 registered vessels in Florida now.  There are many more people fishing for mahi with better gear now than years ago.  You want to see bigger fish, release the small ones.  10 fish per person is too large of a limit.  Almost all of our small legal mahi are full of eggs.  Two fish in the 20-24" range and two fish > 24" per person would be a better limit.

    The goal of scientists is to maximize what we know of the real world by using the mathematical world to optimize the information from the observed world.
  • GarysmoGarysmo Posts: 1,607 Captain
    Personally I don't keep any under 22" and only keep one of those if it's our first catch;  Sorry at least want dinner.  Besides cleaning a bunch of little mahi is a pain
  • 2times2times Posts: 174 Deckhand
    Here is what I found in my records since 2010...
    Looking only at mahi of 20 pounds or larger we've caught 30 since 2010 season.  It seems large ones are most caught early in the season.  Here is how they break out  per month:

    May - 8 fish or 1 per 7 trips
    June - 11 fish or 1 per 5 trips 
    July - 5 fish or 1 per 12 trips
    August - 3 or 1 per 19 trips
    Sept. - 3 or 1 per 19 trips

    Our largest fish of 31 pounds was caught in July.

    This is not anything scientific as it's just a simple record of our trips.

    BTW. We have caught mahi on every month of the year except November.



  • xeniaxenia Posts: 1,256 Officer
    I hardly targeted dolphin ever.  When we were longlining for swords in the 70s, we would see plenty around the boat in the morning when pulling in the longline, but we mostly ignored them.  Sometimes we had 30-40 pounders grab a sword bait as we were about to pull it out of the water.  Most were schoolie size though, but on a couple of days we'd see schools that averaged 10 lbs or more.  I do remember one day in November in the 80s when I decided to troll some ballyhoo off Fowey just for kicks.  We got a dozen dolphin and they ranged from 15-25 lbs.  Mostly singles and maybe two doubles, but the size was really a surprise.
  • 2times2times Posts: 174 Deckhand
    I seem to remember mahi we caught in the 80's and 90's as being larger than what we catch now but it may be just that I was smaller back then so they seemed larger.

  • rivamunstasteverivamunstasteve Posts: 696 Officer
    There should be a change in limit. 10 pp is outrageous.

    They changed the Grouper, Hog, and Mutton Regs. I’ve seen a great comeback. Got a handful of nice fish this summer. 
  • 2times2times Posts: 174 Deckhand
    I don't think we've taken home more than 2 or 3 mahi per trip and those are usually ones that were injured or killed while bring them on board.  We are not into mahi except mahi ceviche on occasion and we only need one or two small ones for that.
    I personally think 5 per person is plenty and not for just mahi but any species.     
  • The ParkerThe Parker Posts: 242 Deckhand
    While I agree with changing regs a bit i dont think it will solve the real problem with scarcity. Speaking with other countries and attemtping to limit the presure on the fishery as a whole is first step. Longliners are tryng to increase there territory and now chinese are **** the galopogas something needs to change for the future or there will be real econimical impacts. 
  • tarponhuntertarponhunter Posts: 501 Officer
    It is always easier to blame someone else.  I read that article and the folks in the Keys  and S FL should take part of the blame.  We have been over fishing our mahi population for decades.  I believe that there are 3 migration routes for mahi. FL coast to the core (highest speed) of FL current,  FL current core to the Bahamas, and east of the Bahamas.    The fishing pressure on the group closest to the coast is intense. There are around 1,000,000 registered vessels in Florida now.  There are many more people fishing for mahi with better gear now than years ago.  You want to see bigger fish, release the small ones.  10 fish per person is too large of a limit.  Almost all of our small legal mahi are full of eggs.  Two fish in the 20-24" range and two fish > 24" per person would be a better limit.

    I think the professor hit it on the head. Yes, its very possible and likely our mahi  larvae come from populations off Cuba, Mexico, and other parts of the Caribbean where commercial pressure may be greater but if you look at the catch reports coming from the keys and Miami area (which doesn't even include a majority of people catching and not reporting) people are keeping 15-20 fish because they want that nice full boat pic at the end of the day. over the years I've seen the average size of the dolphins in these pics go from solid 5-10lb fish to just barely legals-5lbs now but people are still keeping just as many. The nearshore pressure and population Professor O talks about is very real and these are the first fish to be cleaned out in the keys and Miami where recreational fishing pressure is at an time high and growing. If we want to see an improvement regulations should be changed and people need to just keep a few fish to eat fresh (which seems like what a lot of people do on this thread which is great!)
  • 2times2times Posts: 174 Deckhand
    In just last 10 years I see a lot more boats out there seeking mahi during season.
    More anglers = more catch  
  • FS ShelbyFS Shelby Posts: 697 Moderator
    A lot of you guys are making some really strong points, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is actually looking for people to join some advisory panels right now.

    10 chairs on the Dolphin & Wahoo advisory panel will be available to apply for until November 13th and the first meeting will be December 7-10.

    http://www.floridasportsman.com/2020/10/21/apply-for-safmc-conservation-advisory-panel/
  • aboveboredabovebored Posts: 1,416 Officer
     There are around 1,000,000 registered vessels in Florida now. 
    It's crazy that 1 out of every 330 people living in America has a boat registered in Florida.
  • aboveboredabovebored Posts: 1,416 Officer
    I do realize that some individuals own multiple boats, but it's still shocking to me none the less.
  • dragon baitdragon bait Posts: 11,267 AG
    edited October 2020 #28
     Florida ranked No. 1 overall with 914,535 registered boats.Jan 18, 2019
    But if you have ever been to the Air and Sea Show I think they all show up there for it
  • plantmanrodeoplantmanrodeo Posts: 80 Deckhand
     There are around 1,000,000 registered vessels in Florida now. 
    It's crazy that 1 out of every 330 people living in America has a boat registered in Florida.

    How many of those selfish idiots break the law every day?


  • ProfessorOProfessorO Posts: 918 Officer
    2times said:
    I don't think we've taken home more than 2 or 3 mahi per trip and those are usually ones that were injured or killed while bring them on board.  We are not into mahi except mahi ceviche on occasion and we only need one or two small ones for that.
    I personally think 5 per person is plenty and not for just mahi but any species.     
    Be very careful with mahi ceviche or raw mahi, it can get you sick due to parasites.  Not that common but there is a chance.

    The goal of scientists is to maximize what we know of the real world by using the mathematical world to optimize the information from the observed world.
  • ProfessorOProfessorO Posts: 918 Officer
     Florida ranked No. 1 overall with 914,535 registered boats.Jan 18, 2019
    But if you have ever been to the Air and Sea Show I think they all show up there for it
    Thanks captain.

    The goal of scientists is to maximize what we know of the real world by using the mathematical world to optimize the information from the observed world.
Sign In or Register to comment.
Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

Preview This Month's Issue

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Florida Sportsman App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Florida Sportsman stories delivered right to your inbox.

Advertisement

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Florida Sportsman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now