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Using Frigate Birds for Dolphin Fishing

If you have spent anytime offshore fishing, specifically dolphin fishing, then you are familiar with the frigate bird or man-o-war. This is the sea bird that can be the harbinger of bigger fish. So, as you venture into the offshore realm, pay attention to your surroundings and especially the skies. Scan overhead to see if you can spot any frigate birds.

Marine life is not equally distributed throughout the ocean. It will usually be concentrated in relatively small areas where you find structure, current edges, upwellings or other forces that create a food chain. Baitfish will aggregate in these areas and thus attract more and more life. Pelagic fish like dolphin, wahoo and billfish are commonly found in the same areas.

No other creature is better equipped to spot this aggregation of marine life than sea birds. Blessed with the ability to fly above the water and having incredible vision, birds fly out to sea in search of food. There are many different types of sea birds and they all exhibit different behaviors. The frigate bird is unique, in that it does not dive into the water, but rather waits for baitfish to be pushed to the surface by marlin or big dolphin, where it then picks them off. Keep in mind, frigate birds are associated with following big dolphin or marlin.

Frigate birds will produce fish for you, if you can read their signals. You may not find larger schools of fish, but you will find bigger fish. Big dolphin, blue marlin and sailfish can be found under these birds. These pelagic species will drive bait to the surface trapping it for easy feeding. When you see a frigatebird hovering in the distance, the bird is likely to be following dolphin. Is the bird traveling or circling. If it is circling, they are circling for a reason. It is probably looking for some food.

So, as you are traveling out to your desired dolphin fishing grounds, keep your eyes peeled. If you spot a frigate bird, pull the throttles back and observe. Is the bird high up in the sky or low to the water. As the dolphin gets closer to the surface, the lower the bird will be. This is related to how close the bait is being pushed to the surface. If the dolphin is down deeper, the frigate will soar higher waiting for the moment when the bait starts breaching the water.

Once you spot this seabird, make sure your rods, tackle and bait is ready. This is go time for trophy dolphin fishing. A key point to consider is how you should approach the area the bird is working. Don't get too close. Try trolling around the bird making circles around the birds circle rather than running under the bird and scaring away fish. Consider which way the current us pushing and start your approach from the down current side. For instance, if the current is moving to the north, start your approach from the south. Big dolphin typically move against the current. So, the frigate will probably moving in a southerly direction also.

Stay about 100 feet off from the area the frigate is circling. If a dolphin is in the vicinity, the fish will know you are there. They will hear your boat and see your baits in the water. Another thing to consider is the type of bait you are presenting. If there was a full moon and your trolled baits didn't get bitten, put out a live bait. The live bait may be the only thing that will work.

There are so many signs to pay attention to when dolphin fishing and frigate birds can be one of the best. Stay focused and be prepared. The more you know, the more you catch.

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