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April 29, 2014

Top 10 Deadly Dolphin Rigs

Keep these proven mahi fishing tricks handy in your offshore arsenal.

8. Bait Chunks  
This dolphin standard, usually reserved for when the magic runs out of the jigs, is still a favorite for catching school fish. A chunk of ballyhoo is simply impaled on a 4/0 to 6/0 live-bait-style hook attached to a 50-pound-test leader on a 12- or 20-pound-class spinning outfit. Often, for dolphin-bailing, the leader is between 15 and 20 feet long. This way, when the leader becomes abraded after catching a fish or two, you simply cut it back a few inches, retie the hook, rebait and catch another fish in short order.
But chunking for dolphin tuna-in-the-canyon style is a deadly and little practiced tactic. When you happen on a weed line or an area where you've seen a dolphin or two and trolling isn't cutting it, go on the chunk. Float out a few lines, each baited with a chunk of ballyhoo, sardine or squid. Add a few ounces of weight on one line with a rubber-core sinker or an egg sinker rigged with a rubber band in breakaway fashion (6 to 10 feet above the leader), followed by a balloon float some 30 to 40 feet up the fishing line (based on how deep you want the chunk to fish). Deploy two more outfits, one deeper and one free-lined at the surface. Cut up your extra ballyhoo or sardines, and toss over a few chunks until they fade from sight. Then repeat the tactic. If dolphin are in the area, sooner or later one of these baits will get eaten. And oftentimes, you'll bring up a school of energized fish and set off a feeding blitz.