Dolphin Fishing - Frigate Birds Mean Big Fish

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Instructor: RJ Boyle
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Fregate birds, like dolphins and billfish, follow dolphins to feed on bait near the surface. Analyze the bird's behavior, focusing on its behavior and proximity to the water. Prepare rods, tackle, and baits, and try trolling around the dolphin's circle to catch them.

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If you've spent any time offshore fishing, especially when targeting dolphins, you're likely familiar with the frigate bird or man-o-war. This sea bird can be a sign of bigger fish nearby. So, when you're offshore, always be observant of your surroundings, especially the skies. Look above and see if you can spot any frigate birds.


Marine Life Distribution

Marine life isn't evenly spread across the ocean. It tends to cluster in specific areas influenced by structures, current edges, upwellings, or other factors that foster a food chain. Baitfish gather in these zones, attracting even more marine life. Pelagic fish like dolphin, wahoo, and billfish are often found in these regions.

Sea Birds: Nature's Fish Finders

No other creature is better equipped to spot marine life aggregations than sea birds. With their ability to fly and exceptional vision, they scour the seas for food. While there are various sea birds, the frigate bird stands out. Unlike others, it doesn't dive but waits for baitfish to surface, pushed by marlin or big dolphins, and then snatches them. Remember, frigate birds often follow big dolphins or marlin.

Reading the Frigate Bird's Signals

Frigate birds can lead you to fish if you understand their behavior. They might not always lead to large schools, but they can guide you to bigger fish. When you see a frigate bird from afar, it's likely tracking dolphins. Observe its movement: is it traveling or circling? If it's circling, it's probably hunting.

As you head to your dolphin fishing spot, stay vigilant. If you spot a frigate bird, slow down and watch. The bird's altitude can indicate the dolphin's depth. The closer the bait is to the surface, the lower the bird will be.

When you see this bird, ensure your gear is set. It's prime time for trophy dolphin fishing. Approach the area cautiously, avoiding scaring away the fish. Consider the current's direction and approach from the opposite side. For example, if the current flows north, approach from the south.

Maintain a distance of about 100 feet from where the bird is circling. If dolphins are nearby, they'll detect your presence. Your bait type also matters. If trolled baits aren't working after a full moon, try live bait.

Dolphin fishing has numerous cues to watch for, and frigate birds are among the best. Stay alert and ready. The more informed you are, the more successful your catch will be.

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