Today?s report has to do with a family from South Carolina that came to Fort Lauderdale and included in their plans, a family fishing trip. George, his daughter Christen and son Corey, were all present and excited about their day on the waters. George?s dream was to catch a Dolphin (Mahi-mahi), partially for the fight and beauty, and I?m sure partially for the eating too.
As we set out on our full day charter, we found a tremendous amount of seaweed. Reports coming from other boats out further were saying out in deeper water, the weed was so bad, it was unfishable. But we had all day and it was a beauty at that so we got to the task at hand.
Staying close to the reef, we fought the weed and began catching some Bonitos as we worked our way south. The kids were first and then came dad. And as George fought his first fish, it reminded me why I?ve done this for so many years. While his dream fish might have been a Dolphin, his excitement in catching his first deep sea fish, what we usually consider ?just a Bonito?, became an exciting fight with George narrating each move the fish made at the other end of the line.
As we moved south, the weed cleared and the fishing became easier. A few Kingfish were caught along with so many Bonitos, we had to start throwing them back, saving room in our fishbox in case that Mahi came along.
We tried a few deep drops on a couple of wrecks but it was to no avail and as the day wore on, with the weed not so bad, we ventured out into deeper water. Just another mile from shore we found a few small birds diving into the water and had 2 hits, both Mahi-mahi about 7-8 lbs.. George was ecstatic, his Dolphin had been caught! But we weren?t done just yet. A short time later, we found a few more birds and this time a nice sized Mahi had the bait.
Big Dolphin can be a bear to catch. They fight hard, often jumping trying to escape. They have power and speed, two things anglers must compensate for as they reel them in. It often takes 15 to 20 minutes to land a nice sized fish but here?s the great part about fishing for Dolphin. They often travel in small groups when they get big, and even after a lengthy battle, a ?follower? might still be alongside.
That was the case today as this fish was near the boat. A quick pitch of a live bait from Chris now had Corey involved on the spinner with another big Mahi. While it was George that wanted to catch his ?dream fish?, Christen landed the biggest at 46? and Corey got the second one at 45?.
While not all trips have this kind of perfect ending, many do. And it sure feels good when that family fishing trip in Fort Lauderdale comes together. It keeps me and Chris coming back each day.
Capt. Steve Souther
Fort Lauderdale Off Shore Fishing