We had another early departure today
but with different results. We did well on the Black Fin Tuna the last few days and I was hoping to do well again. My charter was originally scheduled for noon to 6 pm, but because of the early tuna bite, I convinced my customers to leave early. I’m glad I did.
The Black Fins didn’t really bite that well.
We missed a few and got one to the boat, but it was much slower than it had been. We released a couple of Bonitos but the action just was not happening. I gave it a good try and covered a pretty bit of area where the Tuna have been, but this was only a 6-hour trip. It was time to try “Plan B”. Only problem was I wasn’t sure what that was. We could go to the Reef and fish for Snapper, mackerel, and other reef fish or we could head out deep and see if the Black Fin Tuna were out there or if there were any Mahi around.
My customers have fished with me many times before and they will be back down later in the winter. We will probably fish the Reef with them in January and February because there won’t be any dolphin around so:
We decided to go deep!
November is late in the year for Mahi, but we had a South East wind for the last 3 days. An old adage says “Never go South on a North wind” but after 3 days of SE wind, something might have been pushed in closer. We fired up the other engine, (I troll on one when it’s calm), and ran South about 5 miles. I saw some birds working the water, a good sign of fish in the area, so we stopped in about 700 ft of water and put our lines back out. Unfortunately, whatever the birds were on, didn’t want to bite anything I had out. It could have been small “pocket” tunas, (so small they would fit in your pocket). It could have just been a school of bait, but we didn’t get any bites so I moved on.
we have had a strong West current offshore lately, so I had to be careful which direction I trolled. If I went West, I would cover a lot of ground, but I would have a long run home and that means less fishing time. After trolling for about 30 minutes, we started to see some patches of floating weed. Normally we are looking for Sargasso weed out deep. It is actually an algae not a wee as it’s called, that grows on the surface of the ocean. It provides structure and habitat for small fish and other critters. They hang around the weed as it offers protection from larger predators. The larger predators know this and they hang around the weed hoping to pick off smaller fish. It is its own ecosystem in a sense.
This weed was what we call “Bay Grass”. It does not grow on the surface. Basically, it is sea grass that gets uprooted by storms in the shallows. It’s just floating dead, But even though it does not have the depth and thickness of Sargasso, it still provides a little cover for small fish………and that can bring big fish!
I found some bigger patches as we trolled East. Some were as big as my boat. More importantly, we started catching Dolphin, (Mahi!). The fish we caught were not huge, but any “keeper” dolphin in November is a good one. The bite wasn’t red hot, but we got one here and one there. I only had 2 customers and it was better action than the Black Fin Tuna inshore so I was going to stick with this for our remaining time.
By the time we picked up and headed in we had 5 nice “Keeper” dolphin, released a couple of other small ones, and a nice Black Fin Tuna. It was a nice 6 hr trip