Well guys- the dolphin are here! And I don’t have much time to fish for them. So I’ll share with you how we catch dolphin fishing out of Port Canaveral.
Dolphin are normally caught here April to June. The run to the gulf stream is normally 33+ miles out of Port.
Dolphin, not to be confused with the mammal type (Porpoise, or “Flipper”) are also known as Dorado or Mahi-Mahi. Dolphin are fast growing pelagic fish that are fun to catch, great to eat, and are known for their vibrant colors. When dolphin are young they generally travel in schools, and as they quickly grow past a few pounds they start pairing off or wandering from weed line to weed line alone.
Dolphin fishing out of Port Canaveral is usually good 20+ miles offshore, or in 100+ feet of water. Your chances of finding dolphin goes way up near weed lines, floating debris, rips, temp changes, and schools of bait. If you see birds working in an area theres a good chance you’ll find dolphin below.
Most anglers dolphin fishing out of Port Canaveral use 30-50 pound trolling gear with leaders ranging from 50-100#. Most anglers run 5 lines- 2 on outriggers, 2 flatlines and 1 shotgun. You can run more or less depending on your boat setup and crew skill for keeping lines clear and untangled. Most often boats troll baits to catch these tasty fish, using naked ballyhoo, skirted ballyhoo, artificial baits, lures, or a combination of them. While trolling you want to make sure your baits are tracking straight (not helicoptering) and chugging along weed free. A bait with weeds on it won’t catch fish.
The prepared angler can turn a single hookup into multiple fish in the boat as the other fish swims along with the hooked fish and often eats a bait tossed to it by a second angler with a spinning rod. If you have a group of schoolies by the boat, leaving one hooked up and in the water will often keep the school behind the boat to continue to catch more.
TIP: If you are not catching anything in an area that looks “fishy” try taking the boat out of gear and letting the baits sink for a moment before shifting back into gear and pulling the baits up.
TIP: Have pre rigged leaders with hooks for live/chunk bait or with jigs on them to use on your spinning gear. When you gaff a fish and throw him in the fish box, unclip the leader at the swivel and swap it for a pr rigged one, saving time and catching more!
TIP: Live bait will out fish chunk/jigs every day! Stop and catch live bait, it could save the day!
TIP: Dolphin Fishing out of Port Canaveral takes you well offshore. Be sure all safety equipment is up to date and working and everything is in good working order on your vessel.
TIP: Your trolling speeds are usually 4-7 knots for ballyhoo, but can be higher with artificial baits.
I hope this helps you in your quest for the mighty Dolphin. If you would like to add a tip or give me feedback you can always email me.