The dolphin I refer to are FISH, not mammals. They are known as Dorado on the west coast of the U.S. and Mahi Mahi in the Pacific. You have probably seen Mahi Mahi on seafood menus in popular restaurants everywhere. These are NOT the mammals known as dolphin. I am also a dolphin (mammal) lover and would do nothing to harm them.
To show you the difference, take a look at the pictures above. The first one is the dolphin fish I catch (Mahi Mahi).
The next picture is the Dolphin everyone associates with the name, the most famous of which is a Bottle Nose Dolphin with the name of "Flipper". These mammals are protected around the world.
I guess this proves the adage that one should never assume anything. From this point on I will refer to these fish as Mahi Mahi and let the mammals keep the name dolphin! My sincere apologies for the confusion I caused some of you out there. On to fishing!
We had a great trip off of South Florida despite the weather. After several weeks without rain, it decided to pour as soon as we arrived. We fished out of Homestead Bayfront Park, running through Caesar's Creek and heading for blue water just beyond the reef.
The wind was out of the northeast at about 15 knots, so the seas were running up to about 6 feet with a heavy ground swell. Some poor souls get queasy in a good ground swell, but it makes for some great fishing. Seems that, up to a point, the rougher the seas, the better the fishing. Some of my worst days have been on glassy slick seas.
We only put two flat lines out, and stayed within sight of the Pacific Reef light because of the storms in the area. The Gulfstream was running close to the reef this day, so we were in blue water in short order. About the time the rods had gone into the rod holders, we had two fish on, and a school of mahi mahi surrounded the boat. These were small fish, ones we call "grasshoppers" that were less than 18 inches long. We played with the school for a while using light tackle and had a ball catching and releasing these little guys.
While we were catching these small fish, something caught my eye in the water out away from the boat. Two nice size mahi's were circling the boat, staying just out of range for us to cast to them in the crystal clear water. We watched them until they could not stand it any longer. Both of them simultaneously charged the small bucktail jigs we were throwing and we had two nice fish on. After a short battle, they weighed in at about 10 pounds each, and we had dinner in the box.
As the weather worsened we decided to head back in with the two fish we kept. We stopped on the edge of the reef, as we always do, to drop a 10 ounce jig down on the 180 foot ledge for a grouper. We had deep jigged the edge for only about 10 minutes when both of us hooked up with good fish. I lost my fish after a short battle on the bottom, but Charlie, my partner, brought his to the surface - a nice mutton snapper that weighed 18 pounds.
As the rain started to come down harder, we ran for the dock with our three fish. The mahi mahi was great grilled that night and the mutton snapper made a wonderful baked dinner the next night. We had a great trip despite the weather, caught a large number of fish, and only kept what we could immediately eat. And a school of dolphin (yes, the mammal) ran with us most of the way back across Biscayne Bay! What better way to experience fishing off of South Florida!