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Terrible dolphin fishing this year

Old 05-20-2019, 05:09 AM
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Default Terrible dolphin fishing this year

Whats up with the terrible dolphin fishing this year? Seems the big migration is either very late, or not going to happen this year off the Florida coast. Just spent the weekend in the keys with only 3 cheap dolphin all weekend.
Last year was a much better year for dolphin fishing. Any ideas why the big difference?
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Old 05-20-2019, 05:13 AM
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Just got back myself. definitely off but just delayed in my opinion.
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Old 05-20-2019, 05:18 AM
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It has been a great year for dolphin in NE FL. Fish showed in late March / early April & are still here and being caught in good numbers. Last weekend we had 14 fish all good sized (no schoolies). I didn’t fish this weekend but several friends did & caught over a dozen each.
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Old 05-20-2019, 05:19 AM
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Ya seems to be a completely different story in south Florida and the keys. Haven’t heard a good explanation from anyone yet.
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Old 05-20-2019, 05:41 AM
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I have not yet been out myself, but the two reports I got from friends in Brunswick County, NC is that dolphin fishing is great, but you have to go further offshore, approximately 75 miles.
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Old 05-20-2019, 06:08 AM
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We were in KW a week ago on a sportfish. We were averaging 1 dolphin every 2 hours trolling, and we were fishing pretty hard. One nice fish, a few decent, and a few schoolies. We checked the docks and everyone seemed to be doing about the same. Really, really slow for mid-May and easily the worst fishing down there I have ever seen this time of year.

I saw a graphic once showing two dolphin populations, one the migrates back and forth from Mexico to the Keys and Gulf and up the East Coast, and another one that migrates from SE Bahamas to the US East Coast which probably explains how they have appeared further North. Apparently the Mexican fish never made it through the Yucatan Channel. Wiped out by factory ships in the Caribbean, taking a different route North, passed by the Keys at high speed to get North, climate change, who knows?
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Old 05-20-2019, 06:55 AM
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I'm by no means an expert, but what I do know is that the dolphin fishing seems to be way off. Very low numbers of fish of any size. The sargassum in the Keys and throughout the Caribbean is thick, some of the popular tourist beaches are all but unusable. At the very least, you'd think there is no shortage of juvenile habitat for c. hippurus.

I've heard, although have no supporting evidence, that the commercial fisheries in Mexico, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Honduras, Costa Rica, and basically any other Central American/Caribbean country that can export frozen fish is hammering the stocks. Additionally, here in the states, there was a rule change a few years ago that long line fishermen were allowed to start using smaller hooks again. The requirement used to be 12/0 circle (I think) or larger. Now, they can use much smaller hooks which means dolphin are being caught by the thousands of pounds by longline fishers.

Too many sport fishers too? We certainly take our share. But I do think it pales in comparison to the commercial take.
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:11 AM
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I’d love to see some factual evidence behind the lack of dolphin population this year.
Curious if it’s a man made problem. Or naturally occurring circumstances like the postitioning of the Gulf Stream/weather/water temps.
if memory serves me correctly last year was really hot, but years before that were pretty meager.
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:15 AM
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These threads pop up every year, lol. Last year was a good year for mahi. The mahi research center has a really good monthly news letter that comes out with tag and other info.
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:19 AM
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Seems like people are slaying them in NE Florida.
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by laythewood View Post
These threads pop up every year, lol. Last year was a good year for mahi. The mahi research center has a really good monthly news letter that comes out with tag and other info.
Do you have a link to the Mahi research center?
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by MajSchaefer View Post
Seems like people are slaying them in NE Florida.
It’s been a good year up here but location seems to be key. Way more fish inside of the stream or on the other side.
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by fishinfootballer View Post


Do you have a link to the Mahi research center?
https://dolphintagging.com/About.html
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by fishinfootballer View Post


Do you have a link to the Mahi research center?
It is called the Dolphin Research Center, DRP. The director is Wess Merten,. Hopefully he will weigh in on what is going on with the fish this year. In addition to the terrible seaweed we have had in So. Fla.
https://beyondourshores.org/

I have tagged some fish here in So. Fla.the last couple of years. I encourage everyone to consider participating in the tagging. Besides being a worthwhile cause, it turns catch and release into alot of fun and helps justify catching fish above what we will keep to eat.

I have no affiliation with the organization other than I know Wess and have a lot of respect for what he is doing for our sport.
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:51 AM
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I agree it is slow to zero. Yesterday off Key West we had a perfect color change at 300' with a weed line for miles, plus birds- all for naught. We caught one dolphin, I would call him a preschoolie, and he brought no friends to the boat. Chatter on the radio was all about fishing, no catching. There was a full moon last night, though. I checked the cleaning station cans at Hurricane Hole to see just how bad I was- saw zero dolphin carcasses. Similar situation 2 weeks ago- we got halfway to Cuba following birds that were apparently heading to Havana.
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Old 05-20-2019, 08:00 AM
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Give it a month- prime sailfish season was pretty late as well.
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Old 05-20-2019, 08:02 AM
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Thanks for sharing the link to beyond our shores. There’s some great info on there. Hopefully they’ll able to chime in.
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Old 05-20-2019, 08:05 AM
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Right Hook got a 59 lber last week. I think I'm just going to run
​​

the kite from now on as the weeds are challenging here.
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Old 05-20-2019, 08:07 AM
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[QUOTE=gofastsandman;12543696]
Right Hook got a 59 lber last week. I think I'm just going to run
​​

the kite from now on as the weeds are challenging here.
[/QUOTE
ya, the sargasm was broken up all over the place. Really tough to troll this weekend.
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Old 05-20-2019, 08:10 AM
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Headed down to Islamorada 10 days. It seems very slow. Some have started catching some I follow on social media. Hoping its just late, last year was pretty good.

I second Wes and the DRP as I was just reading the newsletter he sends out monthly. We tagged 15 fish last year, and caught one that was tagged a few days before. I highly recommend dropping them a donation, and participating in the tagging program.

https://beyondourshores.org/
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