Page 8

Summer Slammers Tips and Tricks For Targeting BIG Dolphin By Gene Dyer

C

all them dolphin, dorado or mahi mahi, they are one of the most popular pelagic species to target because of their hard fighting nature and acrobatic displays, not to mention they are darn good eating. Inspired by the recent catch of a 72-pound monster bull by the charter boat Lady Pamela out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., here are some tips and tricks to help you put some slammers in the box. Without question, the best way to target big dolphin is on the troll. When trolling for dolphin, it’s important to maximize the presentation of your spread. It’s all about the quality of baits over quantity. We could certainly fish seven lines from our Mako 236, but I prefer to fish five. Keeping baits swimming properly and free of weeds is critical, but even more important is fresh bait. If you can’t get fresh ballyhoo, frozen will work, but be careful which package you select. Look for clear eyes, red tips on the beak and some yellow on the top of the tail. My five-bait spread consists of two flat lines, two outrigger baits and one in the shotgun position. Though I’ll adjust my spread during the day, I always start with a chin-weighted naked ballyhoo in one of the corners, just behind the prop wash. I use a flat line release clip to give the bait a better swimming action. In the other corner, we fish a daisy chain consisting of four small jet heads or squid skirts with a 6/0 J hook in the last lure behind a bird. I like to position the bird just behind the naked ballyhoo. On one outrigger, we fish a chugger-type lure in front of a rigged ballyhoo. On the other we fish an Islander-style lure with a rigged ballyhoo. In the shotgun, I like a quarter-ounce black-and-red feather with an orange head. Send it way back behind the rest of the spread. When trolling, many fish are lost because the boat gets taken out of gear with the excitement of the strike. Chances are that any slammers with an interest in your spread have been hooked before. They’ve gotten away at least once, and any slack in the line is asking for the same result. By staying at trolling speed, your other baits remain enticing to other fish in the school and increase the odds of a multiple hook up. Once the cockpit chaos has subsided, it’s OK to back the throttle off to idle speed, but never stop the boat from moving forward. Always be on the lookout for birds, and pay attention to what they are doing. Don’t bother chasing birds that are just flying. Look for birds that are diving or circling. Many times, they will lead you to a promising piece of debris, a well-defined edge or a nice weedline. When the birds do lead you to that magical floating debris or weedline, troll by it several times from different angles. If you don’t get bit, stop the boat on the last pass and let your baits sink for 30 seconds. Put the boat back and gear and you may be surprised by fish that were lurking deeper in the water column. One thing I can’t leave out is the importance of having the clickers on your reels in the on position. The obvious reason is to alert you of a strike while your eyes are scanning the horizon for birds, but there is a hidden, more important reason. Most slammers have been hooked before, and I believe they learn from those experiences. Whether they short strike your bait or intentionally try to kill it by ramming it with their broad heads, when you get knocked down and the fish isn’t there, immediately put the reel in free spool for 10 seconds. Nine times out of 10, that hungry slammer will come back to finish the meal.

By Gene Dyer

Gene Dyer is co-publisher of the Fort Lauderdale edition of Coastal Angler Magazine. Contact him at gene@coastalanglermagazine.com. 8

NATIONAL

I

MAY 2019

CANGL_NAT3-NAT32.indd 8

I

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

4/17/19 10:55 AM

Profile for Coastal Angler Magazine

Coastal Angler Magazine | May 2019 | Greater Orlando  

Coastal Angler Magazine and our interior (freshwater) publication, The Angler Magazine, are monthly editions dedicated to fishing, boating,...

Coastal Angler Magazine | May 2019 | Greater Orlando  

Coastal Angler Magazine and our interior (freshwater) publication, The Angler Magazine, are monthly editions dedicated to fishing, boating,...