I made a comeback today. This time of year, normally we are looking for a good day dolphin fishing. Dolphin fishing was pretty slow yesterday. Conditions looked good. We had beautiful blue water, relatively calm seas and lots of sargasso weed to work. It didn’t matter. We went a long way, over 20miles south of Key West. The water was over 1600 ft deep. We fished our way out and our way back in and we only caught one Dolphin and one Skip Jack Tuna. The Skip was a full sized one for a Skip Jack, probably 16-17lbs, but still not a great day of catching.
So I was a little gunshy this morning. I didn’t want to go offshore and have a long unproductive boat ride again today. Truth is nobody hates a slow day worse than the crew. We will never make a million dollars doing this. So we might as well have fun doing it. We won’t starve, but you don’t get rich charter fishing, at least not if you doing everything legally. So I’ve always figured we make up for the riches we are not making by the riches of being out offshore everyday living life.
Anyway, I decided to start off inshore, looking for more of a variety of fish. I was hoping for Bonitos, Black Fin Tuna, Sailfish, or Wahoo in the blue water. I figured if it was not happening in the blue, I could get up on the reef and maybe catch some Mackerel, Grouper or Barracudas. That’s called hedging my bets. Gotta’ have a backup plan.
Well, the blue water inshore didn’t work. There were a few Sailfish being caught, but my customers were looking for eating fish and Sailfish are catch and release. I trolled about 6 miles to the west along with another Captain and good friend of mine. Capt Art on the Wild Bill. He had the same game plan after a tough day offshore yesterday too. So we worked together Zig-zagging in and out between 100ft of water and about 350 ft of water. Neither of us had a bite.
About halfway through the trip, it was time to go to plan B. Then I got a report from a friend of mine that had been fishing a weed line to the west and catching Dolphin. He had left the line and had not seen another boat all morning. That’s important because the last thing I wanted to do is run offshore and fish a weed line that 5 other boats have gone down. You will only catch what they missed. That’s not the way I like to do it.
I gave my customers a choice, We could go offshore an try to find that weedline or we could play it safe and go up on the reef. They elected to go offshore and look for the dolphin and I’m glad they did. We ran out about 6 miles to the depth my friend had been in and started looking. It didn’t take long before we found the weed line and started to troll down it. It didn’t take long before we started catching Dolphin.
We ended up with about 10-11 “keepers” and threw a few small ones back. Our biggest fish was a 15 lbs bull. A nice “gaffer”. Because we spent the morning inshore, we didn’t have a lot of time to stay, but we did our damage and headed home with everyone happy and a nice mess of fish for my customers to enjoy. It ended being a good day fishing for dolphin. Yep, I made a comeback