Fall ballyhoo run can produce among the finest fishing of yr for sailfish and dolphin



Steve Waters/Special to the Miami Herald

The fall mullet run this time of yr is an enormous deal, partially as a result of when colleges of mullet migrate by means of South Florida, anglers can catch a wide range of fish from seashores, piers and boats. Those species embody snook, tarpon, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, sharks and jacks.

But when one other baitfish — ballyhoo — migrates by means of native waters in October and November, that may produce among the most enjoyable fishing of the yr for sailfish and dolphin.

“The last few years, the best month for big dolphin has been October,” stated Capt. Abie Raymond of Miami Beach. “The best month for sight-fishing for sailfish is October and it’s all happening with live ballyhoo. Catch live ballyhoo and you’re ready to catch sailfish under frigate birds when they shower, [plus] mutton snapper, kingfish and bonito.”

A ballyhoo bathe, when dozens of the baitfish leap out of the water, happens when a predator is chasing them. Sometimes ballyhoo go airborne and are available proper again down. But if the ballyhoo preserve showering, that’s an indication of huge, extremely sought-after predators.

“When they shower and continue to push for hundreds of yards, 99 percent of the time sailfish and dolphin are pushing them for those long distances,” Raymond stated.

“Most people just run right past that stuff. It’s usually happening in 20 to 60 feet of water and most people think that’s probably bonitos in there, that’s probably Spanish mackerel in there. Not this time of year. Most of the big muttons I’ve caught are in under 70 feet of water in October and November.”

Catching ballyhoo for bait might be fairly simple in contrast with catching baitfish equivalent to goggle-eyes, herring and pilchards. Instead of utilizing sabiki rigs or throwing a forged web, ballyhoo might be caught utilizing gentle spinning outfits whereas your boat is tied to one of many many mooring buoys in 20 toes of water off the South Florida coast.

Raymond places floor menhaden chum in a fine-mesh bag so not an excessive amount of chum flows behind his boat with the present and over-feeds the ballyhoo. A sluggish launch of chum brings ballyhoo to the floor behind the boat, the place the baitfish might be caught on a tiny, No. 20 measurement gold hook baited with a tinier piece of frozen shrimp.

Florida Keys dolphin.jpg
Andy Newman holds an enormous dolphin and appears on as extra dolphin are attached aboard the Catch 22 Wednesday, June 10, 2009, off Islamorada within the Florida Keys. Photo by Steve Waters Waterfronts June 18 Steve Waters/Special to the Miami Herald.

“Float it back on straight 8-pound monofilament line and watch them pick it right off the surface,” stated Raymond, whose ballyhoo outfit consists of an 8-pound Ugly Stik spinning rod with a Penn 2500 Spinfisher reel. After a ballyhoo is reeled to the boat, he grabs the road and makes use of a de-hooker to drop it immediately into the livewell with out touching the baitfish.

Ballyhoo additionally might be caught utilizing one thing referred to as a Ballyhoop, which is a collapsible hoop web that’s positioned within the water together with a pal bag. When ballyhoo present up within the chum, the ring web, which is floating behind the baitfish, is pulled ahead and the ballyhoo spook into the web.

Sometimes Raymond throws a forged web with positive half-inch or quarter-inch mesh. He stated cast-netted ballyhoo will dwell for six hours, whereas ballyhoo caught on hook and line will final all day.

He breaks a ballyhoo’s invoice with an upward snap and places a hook by means of each of its lips and out by means of the onerous a part of its mouth. Fished on 20-pound spinning outfits, dwell ballyhoo will catch sailfish wherever you see the baitfish showering.

Dolphin — the fish, not the mammal – are sometimes discovered beneath weedlines or diving birds.

“You can always find schoolies on floating debris and weed patches,” stated Capt. Casey Hunt of Key West. “A lot of the fish here, you’re looking for the birds and the flying fish getting chased. You’re running and gunning.

“Most dolphin this time of year are 10-15 miles offshore. That’s the daily average. Some days it’s a mile from the Key West sea buoy, some days it’s 10 miles and some days it’s 20 miles.”

Hunt added that larger dolphin swim in opposition to the Gulf Stream present, which runs west to east alongside the Keys. Frigate birds comply with dolphin within the hopes that the fish will ship a faculty of flying fish airborne. When that occurs, the frigates swoop down and seize the baitfish.

“You want to find frigate birds that are flying against the current,” he stated. “The smaller fish aren’t going to be swimming against the current. It’s too hard for the smaller schoolies. The 20-, 30- and 40-pounders, they can keep up with it.”

Those huge dolphin will readily eat a dwell ballyhoo. When they do, then it’s as much as the angler and the driving force to maintain up with the fish and get it into the boat.


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