October has arrived and with it will be the start of slightly cooling water temperatures. The waters to our north will cool down faster than the Treasure Coast and this will start our fall mahi run. This is when the mahi start heading south through our area. The fall mahi run is not as large and does not last as long as the spring time run, but there will be more mahi in our area looking for a meal than through the summer time.
Trolling is the best-known method for targeting mahi during the fall run. Multitudes of live bait will be in the area to catch, including the mullet run. You can net the mullet and use them as live bait to catch mahi. Normal tackle set-up used for trolling for mahi is 20-to-30 pounds, but when live bait trolling, use a 50-pound leader as it will be less noticeable at a slower speed. When trolling with live bait, keep your baits spread out at different distances behind your boat and always keep one in your prop-wash. A faster trolling method to cover more ground when targeting mahi is to use rigged ballyhoo and colorful trolling lures. When trolling these baits, 30-pound tackle will still be sufficient, but I would suggest using 60-to-80 pound leader to compensate for the higher speeds (since it is moving faster, it won’t be seen as easily as slower live bait trolling speed). Whichever trolling bait preference you choose, always use mono main line instead of braid, as you will want the stretch for the trolling strike.
A fun fish for a big fight in the fall is tarpon. Gather up some big mullet along the beaches and then look for the tarpon rolling along the surface. These fish will be off the beach to a mile or two off the beach. Big tarpon are very strong fighters, so you will need to use some heavier gear. I prefer an 8,000 size spinning reel on a 7-foot rod. You will want to use at least 50-pound braid with about 5-feet of 60-to-70-pound leader to withstand the fight of these fish and their rough boney mouth. Cast a lively mullet, or a mullet like lure, in front of the tarpon. When they find your offering, hold on! The fight of a tarpon can last quite a long time but after getting the fish boat side for a picture of two, please revive the fish for a safe release.
The water conditions will start getting rougher when the cool fronts start moving in so get out on the water and enjoy some time catching!