Struggling To Get The Mahi To Bite?
Slow down or speed up, or... just go faster! Depending on the time of day, moon phase and a few other environmental impacts fish often times are very picky... Yes, even Mahi Mahi can be picky from time to time when their belly is full. If you typically troll slower around 4-6kts try pushing the throttle forward a little and bump it up to 7-9kts. Faster baits moving through the water will trigger the predatory instincts in these offshore pelagics. Most of these fish can't resist a fleeing bait fish. Opposite of this would be if you normally troll faster (6-9kts) try slowing it down some. Often times when you troll slower your baits will have a different type of action and sometimes the fish will like it more and will trigger them to bite.
2. Keep it Fresh
If you are offshore and doing a lot of trolling make sure you keep your baits fresh. Baits will get washed out and not swim right or even look appetizing. Also, fresh caught baits last longer than frozen baits. Even if you buy them frozen and thaw them out, the baits will get soft faster. If it doesn't look right to you, then it defiantly won't look right to a fish.
3. Check Your Lines
While trolling, continuously check your lines to ensure they are weed free and not washed out. As you are trolling the edges of weed lines you can pick up Sargasso Weed or other debris on your lures. As soon as you have your baits set take note of the bend in the rod. If you see any change in the bend you probably have seaweed on your lures. Most target species will not bite a lure that is tangled in seaweed. When we are offshore trolling we continuously check our lures to keep them clear. It is a continuous cycle of checking your lines. This also will help you check your baits to keep them fresh!
4. Change it Up!
If what you are doing isn't working, do something different! This is where it's important to have a big offshore tackle bag full of tricks and different options. If you have ever gone out fishing on a charter boat you will notice the deckhands are always changing out lures and changing our their baits to keep them fresh. General rule of thumb most anglers know about is "Dark days, dark lures. Bright days, bright lures". However, this isn't written in stone anywhere. When we head offshore we typically have a mixture of bright and dark lures in our spread and will keep track of what we have getting hit. If we notice one getting hit more than the other, typically we will swap out to match what's getting hit. This can also be true with different colors of bright colors and dark colors. For example, Pink and white could be the color that's getting hit the most versus blue and white and chartreuse. Same thing with dark colors such as black and purple can get hit more than black and red. Remember, Change it Up!
5. Go Lighter!
The entire premise of using lures to catch fish is to trick the fish into thinking your lure is a meal. Typically people use 100lb or 150lb leader while trolling for mahi along with a 7/0 or 8/0 hook. Sometimes, this paring is too heavy for finicky fish. Go Lighter! It is not uncommon for anglers to drop their leader down to 80lb or even 60lb to make the lure more stealthy. Another more pricy yet highly effective option is to use Fluorocarbon leader. Using a 60lb, 80lb, or even 100lb+ Fluorocarbon leader can increase your hook up ratios. Fluorocarbon line is nearly invisible underwater which is why tournament anglers use it when big money is on the line. Remember, monofilament leader 150lb and over starts becoming very visible to fish! However, sometimes 150lb+ mono is needed and going lighter can have higher risks of break offs. It's a delicate balance of Risk vs. Reward!
Apply these tactics during your next trip offshore it should help you get some more bites or increase your hook up ratios. Going offshore is expensive... invest a little and fill your bag of tricks so you make every trip offshore as productive as it can be!
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