Ask any saltwater fisherman which fish they -never- green gaff and the answer will always be:
Wait…Dolphin…like Mahi-Mahi Dolphin?
Yes, that Dolphin.
OK OK, so the answer isn’t Dolphin…it’s actually Cobia. After all, a green gaffed Cobia has been known to break coolers, bilges, rods, rod holders, tackle boxes, unfortunate limbs, and all around do its best to sink the boat. But after a recent trip offshore, there’s a new species that comes in close second: Dolphin.
I was lucky enough to get invited to go offshore in my brother’s boat this past weekend. Prior to this, I hadn’t been offshore since I was a junior in highschool (I’m now a super-senior in college). I was stoked and was really hoping to get into some king/cobia/black snapper/whatever else is legal to keep with Florida’s ridiculous seasons. After casting to a few schools of spanish out in the pass, we motored out to an area of live bottom to start bottom fishing. We drifted over the area and proceeded to feed the snapper. I managed to pull up two enormous ruby red lips that I used for bait, and that was it. My brother’s king rig went off but the hooks pulled and my dad managed to land a little red snapper.
Soon, we spotted something floating in the water. After driving close to it, we saw that it was a sea turtle. A HUGE sea turtle…the biggest I’ve ever seen. I quickly cast a dead cig to the turtle in hopes that a cobia was following it. A few seconds later, something took the bait and the fight was on. It almost immediately jumped and at the angle I was at, it looked like a little tarpon.
Upon close inspection…it wasn’t.
A Dolphin! Only a few miles offshore and my first one -ever-! After a short malfunction with the gaff, we got the fish in the boat and took a quick photo.
|My First Dolphin|
Then all hell broke loose. The Dolphin managed to wiggle its way off the gaff and flop onto the deck with treble hooks still shaking about. The scaly ball of death then proceeded to flop its way over to the only two rods laying on the deck and began to thrash them. All during this, the fish tried its best to imitate The Shining and sling blood onto anything within a 15ft radius. Standard protocol for such events is to move around the deck like someone dropped a live grenade, wave your hands wildly, and shout as many obscenities as you can before the fish dies.
We tried to grab the rods, but the fish managed to tangle itself in them and started to bash them. Finally, my dad gaffed it a second time and we all breathed a sigh of relief once the fish was under control.
So that it could get a second wind….
Off the gaff it came again and made another B line for the rods. We all were forced to complete the standard protocol again before the fish was gaffed a -third- time and quickly put into the cooler before more damage could be done.
Total damage done:
Two broken guides on the rod I caught my Tarpon on
A broken bail on an antique reel. (sorry, no picture)
And enough blood splatter to keep us busy cleaning. I’m just glad it wasn’t any bigger. The damage could have been -alot- worse.
After that fiasco, we saw numerous chicken dolphin, but were unable to keep any on the line and land the whole school. Luckily it was a gorgeous day out and the water slicked off and became glassy around 11:00. We ended the day with one Dolphin and a little spanish. Overall, I had a blast. I certainly never expected to pull a Dolphin out from under a turtle that close to shore. Gotta give a big thanks to my brother for the trip and my first Dolphin.
Till next time,