trolling rig for dolphin

Old 03-05-2004, 10:26 PM
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Default trolling rig for dolphin

What would you folks suggest for trollling for gaffer size dolphin? Need to get some new tackle to go with the new boat......but I don't want to spend $500 on each rod/reel either.

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Old 03-06-2004, 09:08 AM
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Default RE: trolling rig for dolphin

Mahi go after just about anything - kind of like a bluefish - they'll try to eat anything that won't eat them.

If you're targeting them exclusively, you only need 20 - 30 lb. rigs, but if you're also going for tuna, you may want to go heavier. Penn Senator 3/0 (30lb.) or 4/0 (50lb.) or equivalent for trolling will do just fine for mahi and school tuna. Spinning or casting outfits from 15 - 20 lbs. work fine too if you decide to cast to a school.

They readily hit the same tuna offerings that we drag, and they also hit chunks and live bait obviously. Tuna clones, feathers, jet heads, soft squits, plugs, bucktails - you name it, they'll hit it, and they're very competitive when feeding. Hook one, leave it out there, and cast to it with the above lures and you're likely to get another one that's hanging around the one that you originally hooked.

They congregate under any flotsam (floating debris) and around the hi-flyers (pot markers). Troll past them as close as you can get and if they are there, you'll get hits. If you happen upon a bunch of them, they are a blast on light tackle. Huge air shows and never quit!

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Old 03-06-2004, 09:30 AM
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Default RE: trolling rig for dolphin

They WILL hit just about anything. A couple of years ago we were jigging up some bait at an artificial reef about 10 miles out of Topsail inlet. We were using a Sabiki rig and a light tackle spinner to catch cigar minnows. My buddy was in the bow and i was helping him spot the bait. He had just cast into a bait school and had a few on when i looked in the water right next to me and saw an irredescent purple flash headed toward the bow at a high rate of speed. No sooner did i start to warn my buddy when that little spinner started to scream! Then the mahi went airborne about 100 feet in front of the bow. The fish was about #15 or so and pissed! I laughed my ass off as i tried to maneuver the boat to help my buddy out. To his credit, my friend had the mahi on the line for about 10 minutes before the inevitable happened. Man, if there was ever a fish i wanted to bring in the boat it was that one. Still love to tell the story...

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Old 03-06-2004, 07:46 PM
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Default RE: trolling rig for dolphin

Boy if he had landed a dolphin on a Sabiki
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Old 03-07-2004, 09:22 AM
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Default RE: trolling rig for dolphin

I think the best rods for the money right now are Sea Striker's Billfisher Stand-up rods , the 20-50 rod sell for around $125 with Aftco rollers all the way. As far as reels are concerned Shimano TLD 20, Penn 3/0 or Okuma T20 if you want outfits in the $225 - $300 range.
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Old 03-07-2004, 09:37 AM
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Default RE: trolling rig for dolphin

What kind of rigs are you using now? If you're set up for inshore trolling for spanish and such, you'll probably need to go ahead and re-tool. If you're set up for king fishing, you may not need to do anything. If i knew i was only going to be catching gaffer mahi, i would probably want something like a TLD 20, and a #30-50 class rod for dead baits and a nice live bait rod like a Cape Fear something something, whatever they call their live bait series. But don't forget to bring along a good quality spinning combo to use once you've got some near the boat and to cast to weed lines, etc. And don't forget your Sabiki rig!
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Old 03-08-2004, 05:02 AM
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Default RE: trolling rig for dolphin

Take a look @ the Shimano Speedmaster.

The 6.0/1 gears are a must for Dolphin. I'd spool it with 30#.

We bought a set of these and put them on a custom rod from "Cut Rate." The cost was around $90 for the rod.

A Calstar or Seeker 30# rod would be ideal; but you would then need a Trinidad or a Accurate reel to match....

The first is a great set-up for the price range you described. No complaints and simple to use.

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Old 03-08-2004, 06:29 AM
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Default RE: trolling rig for dolphin

I myself will be using my new "King" rig (Shimano Speedmaster IV) mounted on a 7 ft Penn boat Rod also the new Penn 113H mounted on a Penn Stand-up if big-uns are around and the back-up will be a Penn 320 GT2 on a Penn Boat Rod...All are loaded with 30 lb line two with Ande and one with Cajun Red. My spinning outfit is a Penn 7500 (SS) loaded with 20 lb Ande on a Penn Powergraph 7 ft M/H Rod. Be prepared...cause them Fins don't knock at the door before the attack. We once had 6 Fins on at one time and talk about a thrill........
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Old 03-08-2004, 10:39 AM
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Default RE: trolling rig for dolphin

I agree with the Shimano Speedmaster IV on a 7' rod. (King Mackeral Tackle) I prefer 20 Lb line for Kings and Mahi. The Speedmaster will hold about 500 yds of 20 Lb line.
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Old 03-08-2004, 02:19 PM
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Default RE: trolling rig for dolphin

You might want to check out the Shimano TLD 25 combos at boaters world. Spool them up with 30 lb line and if a Tuna hits, they can handle it. It will just take a little longer than say a Penn 50.
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Old 03-08-2004, 04:17 PM
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Default RE: trolling rig for dolphin

Woody, here are a few options for you.

Boater's world has some good combo's.

Lower price:
Penn GS series: (really more of a live bait combo) This is what I use for live baiting. I went with the Penn 555 GS reel (600' of 20# and 450' of 30# I think) because it has more line capacity although its retrieve ratio is a little slower than say the 545 gs (5.3 to 1 vs 6 to 1). I spooled mine with 30#. These are fine for dolphin, but a big gaffer would take a while...but a lot of fun. This is a versitile combo. Boaters World price is $159. I have caught an 80-90 lb tarpon on one of these and had a blast with it. It did take about an hour and half though. The combo is a 7' rod, your choice of weight, with ring guides.

Medium price:
Shimano TLD 25 combos: If you go with a TLD 25 it holds 450 yrds of 40#. Good versitile very reliable and well thought of reels (I don't personally own these, but many friends do). Retrieval ratio is 3.6 to 1. You can get a 30-80# all roller guide rod for $339.

A little higher (but less than your $500 ceiling):
Penn 15KG's. I Have a couple of these combo's and I really like them. They are much lighter weight than my 50# tackle and can still handle a heavy fish because of the 2 speed capabilities of the reel. I've caught a nice sailfish on one of these and I'll say that the drag is awesome..... Really smooth. All roller guide rod for $399 although I think I payed less by $50 or so, maybe more...can't remember.

These prices came out of my 2003 catalog. I don't think I've gotten a 2004 yet.

Hope this helps,
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