Dolphin Fishing - Have a Plan

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Instructor: RJ Boyle

Proper preparation is crucial for successful dolphin fishing. Gather information about weather, sea conditions, winds, currents, and trends. Use satellite charting services to monitor fishing reports and inspect tackle, boat, and equipment. Avoid unnecessary expenses and accidents by being smart and prepared. Sea Tow and other businesses depend on proper planning.

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Key Points of Discussion:

  • Proper planning is crucial for a successful dolphin fishing trip
  • Monitor weather conditions and sea trends days in advance
  • Ensure your boat is in top shape with fresh batteries, working bilge pumps, and full fuel tank
  • Study fishing reports to know what's biting and where
  • Inspect your fishing tackle, including fresh line, knots, and well-maintained rods and reels

When it comes to dolphin fishing, also known as mahi mahi fishing, proper planning is essential for a successful and enjoyable trip. Dolphin fish, or mahi mahi, are typically found well offshore, so it's crucial to consider several factors before setting foot on the boat. Neglecting to plan ahead can lead to wasted time, money, and potentially even put

Chart Your Path

When planning your dolphin fishing trip, charting your path is crucial to maximize your chances of success. This process involves analyzing several key factors that can greatly influence where you'll find mahi mahi and how you'll reach those spots. This involves considering factors such as:

  • Current and wind conditions: Current and wind conditions play a significant role in determining where dolphin fish are likely to congregate. Mahi mahi tend to follow currents and can often be found near temperature breaks, weed lines, or floating debris. By studying the current and wind patterns in your targeted area, you can identify potential hotspots and plan your route accordingly.
  • GPS coordinates and satellite charts: GPS coordinates and satellite charts are essential tools for pinpointing specific locations and navigating to them safely. Marking waypoints for promising fishing grounds, as well as any underwater structures or wrecks that may attract dolphin fish, can help you create a more efficient and effective game plan.
  • Fishing reports: Fishing reports from reputable sources, such as local bait shops, online forums, or charter captains, can provide valuable insights into recent mahi mahi fishing trends and success rates in specific areas. These reports often include information on water temperatures, depths, and the most productive lures or baits, which can further refine your strategy.
By thoroughly analyzing these factors and using them to create a well-informed plan, you can reduce travel time, minimize fuel consumption, and increase your chances of catching dolphin fish. Remember, the more prepared you are before setting out on your dolphin fishing adventure, the more likely you are to have a successful and enjoyable trip.

Monitor the Weather

Weather conditions are one of the most critical factors to consider when planning a mahi mahi fishing trip. Adverse weather can not only make your trip uncomfortable but also pose significant safety risks, especially when you're far offshore.

To ensure a successful and safe dolphin fishing experience, start monitoring the weather several days before your planned trip. This will allow you to identify any potential trends or developing weather systems that could impact your outing. Check the forecast multiple times each day leading up to your trip, as conditions can change rapidly.

Pay close attention to factors such as:

  • Wind speed and direction
  • Wave height and period
  • Precipitation
  • Barometric pressure
  • Any developing storms or fronts

If you notice any concerning trends or potential issues, consider adjusting your plans accordingly. It's always better to err on the side of caution and reschedule your trip than to risk your safety by venturing out in dangerous conditions.

Remember, when you're fishing for dolphin 20 miles or more offshore, you're far from immediate help in case of an emergency. Always be prepared for any situation by ensuring your boat is well-maintained, properly equipped with safety gear, and stocked with sufficient food, water, and fuel.

It's crucial to prioritize safety above all else when planning a dolphin fishing trip. No catch, no matter how impressive, is worth putting yourself or your crew at risk.

By closely monitoring the weather and being prepared for any situation, you'll be better positioned to make informed decisions and enjoy a safe, comfortable, and productive mahi mahi fishing experience.

Always be prepared for any situation, especially when you're 20 miles or more offshore.

Prepare Your Boat

A well-maintained boat is crucial for a safe and successful dolphin fishing trip. Before heading out, ensure that:

  • Batteries are fresh and in good condition
  • Bilge pumps are functioning properly
  • Engines are performing optimally
  • Fuel levels are sufficient for the planned trip
  • All required safety equipment is on board
  • Handheld radio and GPS devices are available

Study Fishing Reports

Fishing reports are an invaluable resource for anglers looking to maximize their chances of success when dolphin fishing. These reports offer a wealth of information about current fishing conditions, popular techniques, and the most productive areas for targeting mahi mahi.

Before embarking on your mahi mahi fishing trip, take the time to research and study recent fishing reports from reputable sources such as:

  • Local bait and tackle shops
  • Fishing charters and guides
  • Online fishing forums and social media groups
  • Fishing magazines and websites

These reports often contain detailed information about water temperatures, clarity, and depth, as well as the most effective lures, baits, and techniques for catching dolphin fish in specific areas. By analyzing this information, you can gain valuable insights into current fishing trends and patterns, allowing you to make more informed decisions about where to focus your efforts.

In addition to location-specific information, fishing reports may also provide details on the size and quantity of mahi mahi being caught, as well as any other notable species that are biting in the area. This can help you fine-tune your approach and select the most appropriate mahi mahi fishing rigs and tactics for the conditions.

Insider Tip: Don't be afraid to reach out to local experts, such as charter captains or experienced anglers, for their insights and advice. They may be willing to share valuable information that can help you locate and catch more dolphin fish.

By staying informed about current fishing conditions and trends through comprehensive research and analysis of fishing reports, you'll be better equipped to plan a successful mahi mahi fishing excursion. Remember, knowledge is power when it comes to fishing for mahi, so take advantage of every available resource to increase your chances of a bountiful catch.

Inspect Your Tackle

When preparing for a dolphin fishing trip, it's crucial not to overlook the importance of thoroughly inspecting your fishing tackle. The last thing you want is to lose a big mahi mahi due to faulty or outdated equipment.

Start by checking your fishing line for any signs of wear, abrasion, or weakness. Over time, fishing line can deteriorate due to exposure to sunlight, saltwater, and the stress of repeated casting and retrieving. If your line appears frayed, discolored, or feels rough to the touch, it's best to replace it with fresh, high-quality line that's appropriate for the type of dolphin fishing you'll be doing.

When spooling new line onto your reels, make sure it's wound on smoothly and evenly to prevent tangles and ensure optimal casting performance. A properly spooled reel will also help you maintain consistent tension and control when fighting a powerful dolphin fish.

In addition to your line, pay close attention to your knots. Weak or improperly tied knots can easily fail under the strain of a fighting fish, resulting in a heartbreaking loss. Before each dolphin fishing trip, practice tying fresh knots and double-check each connection to ensure it's strong and secure.

Pro Tip: Consider using a leader material, such as fluorocarbon, to create a stealthy connection between your main line and your lure or bait.

Finally, regularly audit your rods and reels for any signs of damage, corrosion, or wear. Check the guides for cracks or chips that could fray your line, and make sure the reel seats and handles are secure and functioning properly. By identifying and addressing any issues before your trip, you can prevent costly equipment failures and lost opportunities when fishing for mahi.

Remember, investing time in maintaining and preparing your fishing tackle is just as important as planning your route or studying fishing reports. By ensuring your equipment is in top condition, you'll be better prepared to capitalize on every opportunity and enjoy a successful mahi mahi fishing adventure.

Some effective dolphin bait presentations to consider include:

  • Ballyhoo rigs
  • Skirted trolling lures
  • Rigged strip baits


In conclusion, having a well-thought-out plan is essential for a successful and enjoyable dolphin fishing trip. By properly preparing your boat, studying weather conditions and fishing reports, and inspecting your tackle, you'll be well on your way to a bountiful catch of mahi mahi.

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Ricky Lorimor 04.28.2020


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