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Mahi/Tuna offshore questions

Old 08-10-2019, 10:07 PM
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Default Mahi/Tuna offshore questions

Fished offshore out of marathon, fl for the first time this past week and caught my first mahi and blackfin tuna. We were using star drags that I use for bottom fishing, and some heavier spinners, and were able to make it work with a little advice from local tackle shops. Now that I've actually gone offshore and had a little success, I have the itch to learn more and catch even bigger fish!

We basically just ran a little over 20 miles out, found birds, passed around them and hooked up on tuna, then checked weed lines for mahi and threw pitch baits. On the second day we caught some better sized mahi on the troll, and then added some more by pitching to the accompanying schoolies. It seemed too easy... What else is there to this? I mean, I know we got lucky finding some great bird action and good weedlines holding fish, but what else is there to catching the bigger fish besides luck? When there aren't obvious things like weeds and birds, what do people do to still be successful?

The one not great thing that happened was after about a 30 minute fight with what I assumed was a pretty large tuna that hit my 80lb braid setup with a naked pink chugger, I got it to within a couple hundred feet and pulled the hook (I think). Is this common? Did I do something wrong? Being new to offshore I don't really know the different types of fish that well.
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Old 08-11-2019, 06:27 AM
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For the lost tuna, was it a J hook or a circle hook?

Send those grass lines up to Maryland!
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Old 08-11-2019, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by melnic View Post
For the lost tuna, was it a J hook or a circle hook?

Send those grass lines up to Maryland!
J hook on the pre rigged chugger
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Old 08-11-2019, 06:46 AM
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Default Catching more mahi mahi

Large or Small is truly LUCK !
The skill and technique to increase your odds are as follows :
Slow troll works well ( 5 - 8 knts)
After you catch the first one, Leave it just behind the wake or beside the boat at the same speed.
This will attract many more in the wake of the engine.
Secondly . . . . Chum the Sargasm and use "Jig" lures !
You'll be happy with what you catch and prepare for dinner.
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Old 08-11-2019, 06:49 AM
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Tuna tend to enlarge the hole i the mouth as the fight goes on. So it is a long fight I am not totally surprised. Not being there it is hard to see what was going on. The only thing I would suggest is when fighting the tuna, be very careful to keep even pressure on the fish, any slack the fish can shake the hook out if the hole is enlarged. Some fish are just not going to make it to the boat.

If you plan on going offshore often, get some lever drags, TLD 20 would be a good budget choice ( not fancy but reliable and functional), If you are looking to up the quality from there, you will get a lot of different opinions, Look at Okuma, Shimano, and Penn. among many others. we all have our favorite.
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Old 08-11-2019, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by michaeleisenman View Post
Large or Small is truly LUCK !
The skill and technique to increase your odds are as follows :
Slow troll works well ( 5 - 8 knts)
After you catch the first one, Leave it just behind the wake or beside the boat at the same speed.
This will attract many more in the wake of the engine.
Secondly . . . . Chum the Sargasm and use "Jig" lures !
You'll be happy with what you catch and prepare for dinner.
Thatís basically what we did and it went well! But in the event we go out and donít find the weeds or birds, do you guys just blind troll with any success? If so, is there anything different to do with the spread when blind trolling?
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Old 08-11-2019, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by thomasj1107 View Post


Thatís basically what we did and it went well! But in the event we go out and donít find the weeds or birds, do you guys just blind troll with any success? If so, is there anything different to do with the spread when blind trolling?
Blind trolling sucks.

Keep running until you find the weeds, the birds and hopefully both. If you find a weed line with no birds or bait on it don't spend to much time there.
No bait around usually means no fish around.

As said with the tuna any slack and it's game over as they always tear a big hole around the hook. Keep the boat moving slowly forward to maintain a tight line.

Keep in mind that river of water out there is always moving and every day will be different. I usually run south until I see something worth investigating.

I almost always pull a couple of naked hoo in the riggers. If a big dolphin comes in on the hoo we will drop it back and let him swallow it to his bung hole before coming tight. Keeps the big ones from jumping off as the intent is to catch him.

It is seldom that you will find fish without birds on them. It may only be one or two birds but if their working on a fish they will be diving or circling. Common to have big dolphin pair with just a few birds on them normally flying to the west. Larger flocks are normally on the tuna or larger schools of peanuts.

If I even see a single bird working and not just hauling ass I will try to get under him. He may be following a big fish that is deep at the moment.
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Old 08-11-2019, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by 20biminitwist View Post
Blind trolling sucks.

Keep running until you find the weeds, the birds and hopefully both. If you find a weed line with no birds or bait on it don't spend to much time there.
No bait around usually means no fish around.

As said with the tuna any slack and it's game over as they always tear a big hole around the hook. Keep the boat moving slowly forward to maintain a tight line.

Keep in mind that river of water out there is always moving and every day will be different. I usually run south until I see something worth investigating.

I almost always pull a couple of naked hoo in the riggers. If a big dolphin comes in on the hoo we will drop it back and let him swallow it to his bung hole before coming tight. Keeps the big ones from jumping off as the intent is to catch him.

It is seldom that you will find fish without birds on them. It may only be one or two birds but if their working on a fish they will be diving or circling. Common to have big dolphin pair with just a few birds on them normally flying to the west. Larger flocks are normally on the tuna or larger schools of peanuts.

If I even see a single bird working and not just hauling ass I will try to get under him. He may be following a big fish that is deep at the moment.
I appreciate the info... I havenít been offshore much yet, so are there not really ever times where you donít find the weed or birds? I mean are there days like that? It really almost seemed too easy.

Another thing, with the birds, there were a couple larger groups that we found hitting the water and would try and troll just along the edges of them but it was like we were constantly pushing them further and further and couldnít get to them.... were we doing something wrong those times? Other flocks we just ran up, trolled by, immediate hookup
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Old 08-11-2019, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by thomasj1107 View Post


I appreciate the info... I havenít been offshore much yet, so are there not really ever times where you donít find the weed or birds? I mean are there days like that? It really almost seemed too easy.

Another thing, with the birds, there were a couple larger groups that we found hitting the water and would try and troll just along the edges of them but it was like we were constantly pushing them further and further and couldnít get to them.... were we doing something wrong those times? Other flocks we just ran up, trolled by, immediate hookup
Large flocks were tuna most likely and can be very boat shy so fish your lines way back and make wide turns to stay off the fish. I am talking way further back than you think you should be.

When it's easy it's easy. Got about 25 years of running charters out of Marathon during the summer. You can tear them up one day and the next day run half way to Cay Sal and not see shit. If by 10 am of running out with nothing but the dead ocean around we put up an all lure spread and troll our way home hoping to find that one something holding fish. That is why a lot of guys are in to deep dropping more and more. You can salvage the day by going to the bottom and it beats the heck out of clean ice after running out that far.
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Old 08-11-2019, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by 20biminitwist View Post
Large flocks were tuna most likely and can be very boat shy so fish your lines way back and make wide turns to stay off the fish. I am talking way further back than you think you should be.

When it's easy it's easy. Got about 25 years of running charters out of Marathon during the summer. You can tear them up one day and the next day run half way to Cay Sal and not see shit. If by 10 am of running out with nothing but the dead ocean around we put up an all lure spread and troll our way home hoping to find that one something holding fish. That is why a lot of guys are in to deep dropping more and more. You can salvage the day by going to the bottom and it beats the heck out of clean ice after running out that far.
Makes a lot of sense. So thereís no particular secret to catching that large bull in the group, just a matter of luck and persistence?
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Old 08-11-2019, 09:52 PM
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“Blind trolling sucks”
yes it does, but I’ve caught some really huge fish doing just that!
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Old 08-12-2019, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by nuffaredy View Post
ďBlind trolling sucksĒ
yes it does, but Iíve caught some really huge fish doing just that!
do you do anything different with your spread when blind trolling?
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Old 08-12-2019, 10:30 AM
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Yes, I make sure to have a good variety of lures out, and a way back on the center rigger.
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