The inshore mahi fishing options are over for the season, and you want to cap off your offshore action of the year with some nice mahi-mahi to stock the freezer - before the weather gets too chilly and unpredictable this fall? If you can find some flotsam or head for the lobster pot balls, bailing is unquestionably the top tactic for filling the cooler. But if you employ these top-secret tactics, you’ll have a better shot at catching some bigger fish – as well as increasing your overall numbers.
- While most of the crew bails, assign one person to work a rod with a fast-sinking speed jig. Drop the jig down 100 feet or so, then rip it back to the surface as quickly as possible. This jig will rarely get hit but if there are any gaffers hiding deep down below the smaller fish, they will often follow the jig up to the surface. Then they can be baited with the bailing gear.
- Never shift into reverse while next to the flotsam, or when you have mahi around the boat. The metal-on-metal “clunk” of a transmission can spook the fish.
- Always carry a box or three of regular squid. A whole squid – not chunks – hooked through the tip of the mantle and allowed to sink with no additional weight, will often provide more temptation than even the most skeptical mahi can resist.
- Fill your livewell with bull minnow or peanut bunker before you leave the dock. A handful tossed into the water will initiate an instantaneous feeding frenzy even when the fish are acting sketchy.
- If you pull in a school of fish and drift more than 100 feet or so from the flotsam that was holding them, work hard to keep the fish next to your boat by tossing chunks and/or keeping a hooked fish in the water. Once they get that far from the floating item, if they leave your boat they may not relocate it.