April is here and the spring mahi run begins! This is the time of year when the cooler water temperatures will start receding back to the north and mahi (dolphin fish) will be starting to come through the area from the south. Mahi are always in the water off the Treasure Coast, but with the fish working their way north, there will be even more and bigger fish in the area. There will be a lot of fish caught in the 30- to 40-pound range and some upwards to the 50-pound range. There is even a chance to catch a few fish in the 60-pound range.
Mahi are a great fish to catch with their spectacular aerial display of jumps and beautiful colors, a few in the fish box will make for a great day. To end a day of catching, the mahi will make a great dinner!
When heading offshore always have live bait, if possible. Start your search for mahi in the 75-to-80-foot range and head out towards deeper depths until you can find the mahi. To begin, troll ballyhoo, naked and skirted, at 5 to 8 knots, in order to cover more ground. Look for weed lines, rips, color changes and floating debris along with live bait under this cover. While looking always have your trolling baits in the water, mahi will often stray from their cover and can be caught in the open water.
When cover is found with mahi life holding on it, I like to switch to live baits trolled at idle speed. Mahi can’t resist a nice lively bait. If by chance you find the mahi but they won’t eat your offerings, try catching whatever kind of bait are under the cover and use them since chances are the mahi are eating those baits. While fishing for the mahi, a colorful or shiny dredge behind the boat will enhance your chances of hooking up, this will look like a bait ball on the move.
After getting a mahi to the boat, always leave it in the water for a few seconds to see if there are any followers. If more mahi are around the boat, start using chunk bait or squid to entice them to bite. The bigger mahi usually will only have one or two fish that will but follow, but smaller ones can have many.
Preferred tackle would be 3-pound set-ups with 30-pound mono. The mono line is best used for trolling to absorb any stretch from a hook-up while the boat is moving. If using ballyhoo, you can use up to 80-pound leader due to faster trolling speeds since it won’t be seen as easily. If you are using live bait, 50-pound mono leader is quite sufficient and less visible. This is a great time to find the bigger mahi. So get out there and hook ’em up! Be aware of the rules, regulations, limits and current lengths prior to fishing.
FORECAST BY: Capt. Danny Markowski
LottaBull Fishing Charters
Phone: (772) 370-8329