September and October are the beginning of another transition time. The fishing days slow down a little just because school has started and most people and families are not traveling as much. The fishing usually stays good and you never know exactly what might be biting a week in advance.
I’d like to tell you about a big mahi we were able to land recently. It ended up being my personal best so far. We headed offshore mahi fishing which we had been doing every day and we had been catching a few big ones - even up to around 40 lbs. that week.
This day we caught a nice cow (female mahi) around 20 lbs. which started our day off right. After that it was slow for a while, but then we found schools of mahi that were all under the size limit. We caught and released a few and kept looking around.
I finally saw with the binoculars a group of birds that looked really good to me. They were moving to the southwest which meant there was a chance for big ones. They were acting right in that there seemed to only be a few fish. As the mahi get bigger they end up in smaller packs, usually less than 10 fish. I didn’t want to spook them so I went way in front and waited for them to come to me.
We left our naked ballyhoo out and reeled everything else out of the way. We then cast out another spinner with a live bait. Finally saw them coming, they were all big - five fish! We cast another bait and hooked a couple of the cows and then I saw the big one. It was right where we had let the naked ballyhoo out. I wasn’t sure if he had him on yet so our angler ran over and started to reel. He was on.
I didn’t know how big he was until he jumped and put a big hole in the water. After about 40 minutes we were able to get him boat side. He was pretty tired thank goodness for me, so he wasn’t hard to gaff. He was just really heavy coming over the side. When he hit the deck I knew he was the biggest one I had ever caught. I have caught a couple in the low 50 lb. range and I couldn’t wait to go weigh him, but we had to catch more fish first.
We found a few more schools of schoolie size mahi to keep, making for a great day. We finally got him on the scale back at Bud ‘n Mary’s Marina and he came in weighing 56.5 pounds. Monster!
This is why we go out there every day. You just never know when you get your shots at these fish. Now I go out there every day hoping to catch a bigger one. You don’t know if you don’t go!
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