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Old 08-16-2015, 10:55 AM   #1
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Default Targeting Mahi ?????

So I know the best thing is to travel 20-30 miles and look for a weedline or something floating, but I also see people catching Mahi several hundred yards from shore. Since I have a bay boat and cant get far enough to look for weedlines, what are some ways to target them near shore, tackle, rigs, bait, tips ????????
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Old 08-16-2015, 11:09 AM   #2
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Like any other pelagic, you will need to find something which is going to attract them.... structure or bait. Otherwise you are going to spend a long time looking for one.
I think first, the water conditions will have a lot to do with it... some cleaner water from a nearby push of "blue' water, like I've been watching approach the panhandle area. It probably helps if there are reports of people having already caught some in the area to let you know they have been there.
Next, you need to entice a bite- I'm not real sure if I'm the best reference for this subject.... but I would consider keeping some live baits to pitch at them, and some chum to keep any other schoolies in the area (once you have one hooked).
We generally find some promising grounds and troll for them! I have used everything from our "trolling" bubble rigs, a bird and jet head, to the BallyHood Snagger Daisy Chain we are so fond of.
These are just a few suggestions based on my observations...
I do think that many of the mahi caught closer to shore (within 10 miles) here, in Orange Beach, are a lucky bycatch while targeting other species (just guessing). It is not real often we hear of anyone catching them here off of the pier, and seldom they catch them just off the beach. We had a wonderful opportunity during the federal snapper season to target mahi as close in as 8 miles out of Perdido Pass (if you saw our video). That was a real treat! Had I realized the water would have changed so quickly, I would have fished everyday prior to the rain and muddy water.
The further east, towards Destin, PanamaCity, etc, the better conditions are for targeting mahi closer to shore.
We have a 22' Blue Wave Pure Bay- and frequent the "Baldwin Trolling Corridor" (8mn out) and the 12 Mile Buoy. And during the right conditions, we have caught our share of mahi!
I hope this has been helpful.
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Old 08-16-2015, 12:23 PM   #3
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Thursday, I went 44 miles out of Orange Beach toward the Spur and didn't see a 'blade' of grass or the first Mahi. That said, we have had a lot of SE wind since Thursday and in my experience, that tends to bring the grass and the Mahi population if it persists.
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Old 08-16-2015, 11:41 PM   #4
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We got a decent one about 3 miles off the beach Saturday. As we get into September, we usually have quite a few Mahi, black fin, and sailfish come through right on the beach. Watch the kayak reports, when you see them start catching them that's the time to go. Live bait trolling in 30-50' behind the sandbar will give you a good shot. Otherwise, buy a Hilton's subscription and be prepared to run 40+ miles.


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Old 08-17-2015, 05:30 AM   #5
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I've seem schoolies in 3' or less of water attacking bait pods on the beach. They're in and out in seconds.
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Old 08-17-2015, 08:52 AM   #6
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Nearshore you really just have to get a lucky day. If there's weed patches nearshore, then the chances are greater you'll find some schoolies along with it. I haven't had any luck nearshore unless there were some good grass beds floating around. Doesn't have to be a big weedline, but even a 5x5 patch of weeds.
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Old 08-18-2015, 12:03 AM   #7
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I have had good luck with Williamson lures dorado rigs, ribbonfish rigs and their live ballyhoo rigs when trolling. I have even had black-fin and yellow-fin hit them. Rapala Magnum polangeants once I find some in a group. Dorado is by far my favorite fish to catch and eat. I am always looking for something they would hang out under. I have even found them under floating beach toys. Down in the Caribbean, they gather a bunch of large palm frawns, tie them together and anchor them out, dolphin go to them like crazy. I have thought about doing that here.
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Old 08-18-2015, 12:07 AM   #8
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caught my first one this year with in a mile of the pass mixed up in a school of spanish and bonita. hit a little jethead.
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Old 08-18-2015, 12:27 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marlin6555 View Post
Nearshore you really just have to get a lucky day. If there's weed patches nearshore, then the chances are greater you'll find some schoolies along with it. I haven't had any luck nearshore unless there were some good grass beds floating around. Doesn't have to be a big weedline, but even a 5x5 patch of weeds.
I will have to disagree. When conditions are right they will be in, grass or not. I think they follow the huge ballyhoo schools. Last year was my best year for getting them off the beach with several fish over 10lbs and a couple of clients getting on bigger fish. No we dont catch 30 or 40 pound fish on the beach but decent fish non the less.

Ive never caught beach dolphin on a lump of grass. Lines yes, but in the fall we dont usually get lines on the beach because of the north winds but yet the dolphin, and sails, will be around.

They arent around long but there is a good 3-4 weeks during the fall where you can go off the beach and have a very legit chance of getting on some dolphin. Looking at my photos and what not, things seem to kick off around mid September and are good until mid October. For the last four years my last dolphin has been around the third week of October.





The bull that was with this girl was a very nice fish...that I lost.



All of these fish are from the September-October time frame. During this time I will target them and honestly catch almost as many as I catch kings.
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Old 08-18-2015, 03:07 PM   #10
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We got several again today, 2 miles off the beach
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