Next on the list are the SST charts (Sea Surface Temps) tracking the movements and temp breaks, gulf stream eddies, gulf stream location....just like the weather. This will tell me where my best chances are to find my target species, after all every game fish has its comfort level. Dolphin are at 73-75 degrees.. Gulfstream location will also assist in finding weed lines....Next I go through my buoy and wind readings. This is going to give me vital info on wave height and intervals, which tells me what will be the most comfortable direction to run avoiding 1/4 sea wet trips. Take all that info and add it to local knowledge of structure, past action on trips....and you have great building blocks to having a game plan.
Oh yeah, how bout that bait. I know you're saying hey Capt. you're a light tackle artificial Fly guy. That's true but I gotta say nothing brings the fish up better (especially Dolphin) than live bait. I start netting a day in advance (or so) because you never know when they will go into hiding and there's no better time for Murphy's law to rear his ugly head than pushing off from the dock. My bait menu consists of a tank packed with Peanuts. I'm not fishing with them but use them to turn that void looking Lobster pot or fertile area into a seafood buffet feeding frenzy that rivals Ponderosa on the weekend. to which we will throw lies and artificails into the mix. That's not to say every pot is created equal but with experience and time on the water you will be able to tell the difference between a faux void pot and a death pot
Running and Gunning is the game for me. Trolling for countless hours to me is like walking on a treadmill while watching paint dry, I need to cover territory!! While doing so observing everything around me, looking for birds (especially single high flyers), flying fish, pots, debris, weedlines (sargassum), color changes, current and temp breaks....all play a key role in the success in finding Dolphin. I will generally run far first until things look interesting then N or S marking (MOB) things along the way that had possibilities but not worth stopping for and maybe hit them on the way back inshore.
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