Fun in the Florida Sun

Head south for a date with mahi-mahi.

By Jace Bauserman

Also known as a dolphinfish, the vibrantly colored mahi-mahi is a surface-dwelling game fish that puts up an amazing fight complete with aerial acrobatics. Oh, and when it comes to table fare, many regard the fish as the finest tasting in the Seven Seas.

If you’re looking to head south for some fun in the sun or live in an area close to where mahi-mahi swim, Captain Todd Jones has some sound advice.

“Now is a great time to catch mahi-mahi,” Jones said. “The great thing about these fish is the fact that they are just so beautiful and provide a lot of surface action. The fish range in size from two pounds up to 40 pounds, and they just photograph so well. You really get a lasting memory when you spend a day or two on the water. Plus, their white, flaky meat is simply amazing.

“When it comes to tactics, I really like to troll surface lures for these fish. They are very visual fish and you get a lot of surface strikes. You often see the hit, which adds a level of excitement. Some of my favorite lures to troll are a skirted cigar minnow or a ballyhoo. I also like to use light spinning gear and cast to these fish. We start looking for big grass patches. When we locate a grass patch, I like to throw some live bait out and see if we can pull some fish out from underneath the patch. Once we get into them, I like to throw Bomber feather jigs and Williamson metal jigs.

“These grass patches are made up of Sargassum Weed. This stuff comes floating out of the Atlantic and makes its way into the gulf. An entire ecosystem will thrive in these grass patches. There will be bait fish, shrimp, crabs, microorganism and, of course, your apex predators. The grass gets really thick, which offers the bait fish cover.”

Jones recommends, especially for the traveling angler, booking a guide for a few days if you decide to make a trip.

“You’re on vacation. You don’t want to trailer your boat and all your gear all the way down here. For the amount you spend hauling your boat, you could come out and fish with me for a few days. Plus, a good guide will know the water and what the fish are doing. You can just relax and enjoy the trip.”

When it comes to his Lakewood case of choice, Jones leans on the A064 Medium Saltwater Case.

“This thing holds a lot of lures and it has mesh on the top and on the bottom. Salt can be hard on lures and the like, and this case allows me, because of the mesh design, to rinse my lures off with fresh water at the end of each trip. It’s a great case and serves my purposes well.”

If you’re looking for a salt water adventure, give Captain Todd Jones a call at (850) 819-5829.

 

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