If you are heading offshore this summer, keep an eye out for even the smallest patch of weeds. Every angler worth their salt knows that even the tiniest piece of structure, be it a piece of wood, an old palm tree or even the hatch from a sunken boat can hold a school of dolphin, or mahi mahi.
This species, Coryphaena hippurus, can be found in tropical and temperate waters worldwide. It's the fish of choice during the summer months for many charter boat captains in the Florida Keys, but mahi mahi can also be found off both coasts, sometimes just a few miles offshore under the right conditions.
Anglers love to target the schools of smaller dolphin that can be found congregating beneath any object floating in the water. Their favorite haunts include large patches of Sargassum weed. But if you want to catch the big boys, you will have to hunt. The larger males tend to travel alone, but if you are lucky enough to catch one of these bull dolphin, hang on. And if you are lucky enough to land one, get out the camera. These fish have brilliant color – blues, greens and yellow – especially when they are just out of the water.
If you are in The Keys, check out the annual Dolphin Flashover in Marathon scheduled for July 22-24. Proceeds are to benefit the Professional Firefighters of Monroe County and the International Association of Fire Fighters Burn Foundation. To learn more about fishing the Florida Keys, click here.