One of America’s favorite gamefish is disappearing. Here are some potential reasons.
The dolphin’s fighting spirit, acrobatic nature and superb quality as table fair make it a favorite of game fish anglers worldwide.
The southern species made a rare appearance in the Pacific Northwest.
Captains Jimbo and Rick Thomas have tagged and released at least one dolphin off the Florida Keys, Central Florida, or the Bahamas in each of the last 17 years.
When the crowds leave the Florida Keys in August, the dolphin bite really heats up.
The neon-bright blues, yellows and greens splattered all over its body make dolphin easy to identify, and its fighting spirit, acrobatic nature and superb quality as table fair make it a favorite of game fish anglers worldwide.
Found offshore, and sometimes nearshore, in tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, as well as the Caribbean and Mediterranean seas, dolphin live only 4 to 5 years, but grow incredibly fast. They reach a weight of 2 to 3 pounds in under 3 months, 30 pounds in about a year, and some grow to exceed 60 pounds.
Also called mahi-mahi or dorado, dolphin gravitate towards large clumps of floating sargasso and other flotsam, in search of cover and forage hiding underneath. Juveniles travel in large schools of similar-size fish, while large adults mostly travel in pairs or trios – usually a bull (male), which sports a tall, square forehead, and 1 or 2 cows (females), with a round, less prominent forehead.
Though primarily a pelagic species, dolphin will dive hundreds of feet on occasion. Flying fish are a favorite prey, but these opportunistic feeders will happily consume squid, and a wide range of baitfish, and juvenile finfish and crustaceans.