It’s summertime and here we are again, headed offshore looking for mahi mahi. It is such a great fish to catch. They jump, pull, drag, are pretty, and are also very tasty. They are great for the charter boat business up and down the Keys.
These days, there are more and more recreational fisherman targeting them too. This is great because, when mahi fishing is good, there are plenty of fish for everyone. Some of these busy summer weekends though, like this past Memorial Day weekend, can make it tough on everyone.
People start chasing birds off other boat’s bows, or running over to a stopped boat on a school of fish, and then tempers begin to fly--it turns fishing into a not so enjoyable experience out there on the water, and also a not so safe environment for everyone out there.
Here are a few pointers that we use as charter boat captains to work with each other and the boats around us:
First of all, we know that the birds will usually be hanging over a school of mahi. If you see that a boat has been heading towards them, and is close to them, then there is no need to run as fast as you can to try to beat them to the birds.
Most of the time, the fish get run over because everyone is going so fast, and no one catches anything. Plus, more often than not, if there are a set of birds in front of a boat near you, then there are usually another set of birds in the area close by. I see it a lot on busy weekends, when a boat will run up to us, when I can see another set of birds not far away. Find your own set of birds.
Second, there is no reason to all fish in the same small area. I see it all the time where boats will run to where they see other boats, thinking that there must be something going on over there. That will only decrease your chances of catching mahi. The charter guys that mahi fish every single day will look for areas with no or less boats. We know that we have a better chance of success if we find our own school of mahi. So don’t crowd an area just because charter boats are there.
The third piece of advice is that if you have a fast boat, try to be courteous to the boats you are running in front of. Once again, try to find your own area of water. It's hard for the guys behind you if you keep running in front of them all day. We can only do so much on charter, and having to constantly watch the guy in front of you doesn’t make it any easier.
Fourth, is to find out what channel the local charter guys are on. That way, if you see a local charter boat stopped, you can call and ask if there is enough fish for another boat. If there are, then the guys will happily call you in. If you just run in on a school of fish, it usually messes it up for everyone and then no one is happy. Talk to us, we are mostly nice guys.
Good luck and catch a bunch; just please remember to be courteous and respectful so it can be an enjoyable and safe experience for everyone.
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