Coryphaena hippurus — World’s IGFA Record: 88 Lbs
We love catching Mahi (aka: Dorado, Dolphin, Gaffers, Slammers, Peanuts, Lunch)– it’s one of the most pleasurable Gulfstream fishing experiences you can enjoy. There is simply nothing as exciting (and nerve wracking) as watching a massive school of dolphin swirl around the boat consuming every bait you pitch into the water. Dolphin fishing in St. Augustine is a unique experience as it’s an adventure anglers of every skill level can enjoy. Typically, the summer months are the best to target this pelagic predator but they can be caught year round.
When fishing for dolphin (not flipper!), live bait is preferred (usually pilchards) but we often carry frozen bait as this is more economical and practical when the fish are really chewing. We use light tackle Penn spinning rods and reels to make for a more interesting fight. 20Lb test is typically all you need to wail on a pack of frisky mahi – but we keep slightly larger tackle ready in case a big bull or cow shows up. It’s common to see a large bull escorting a school of smaller fish and he’s usually the most aggressive in the bunch. Still, the big bulls don’t get that way by being stupid, which is why we keep live blue runners rigged on a “slammer” rod just in case we see a big boy swimming around the boat.
FUN & EXCITING
We commonly encounter these golden delicious fish swarming around floating debris offshore or roaming open water in search of unsuspecting baits. They eat readily and are not shy at all – pound for pound they are the most aggressive and actually the fastest growing fish in the ocean! When we hook up on a school it can get a little chaotic, so be sure to pay attention to the direction of your captain and mate to maximize the number of fish you catch!
Time to Catch
Dolphin are extremely acrobatic oceanic predators. When hooked they leap repeatedly until they shake free or exhaust themselves and succumb to an anglers’ skills. We use the traditional fishing tactic of hooking one fish and leaving him in the water to attract and keep the entire school at the boat. Mahi are truly the most entertaining fish to catch in St. Augustine and they’re delicious! As a sustainable fish you don’t have to feel guilty about keeping them in large quantities. They reproduce quickly and are one of the finest table fare selections in local restaurants.
Ready to go dolphin fishing? Book a full day charter as we have to head way offshore in search of birds, floatsam, or roaming schools of mahi-mahi. If you’d like to know more about our dolphin fishing excursions – please contact Billy Hunsicker.