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History has shown May is the best month to catch Mahi–Mahi offshore our area in the Gulf Stream. Fortunately, it is May. And fortunately, history didn’t forget where it left off last year as the Mahi bite has started out great.
As of last week, the Mahi, a.k.a. dolphin, started biting strong along the edge of the Gulf Stream some 50-60 miles offshore. Locations such as the 100/400, Black Jack and MacMarle’n hole areas have been producing lots of Mahi, averaging in the 10-15 pound range with some fish upward of 30 pounds.
Fishermen heading offshore to fish these waters have had no problem catching double-digit numbers of these fish and also mixing in a wahoo or two to add some color to the box.
This incredible fishing will continue through mid-June, as the size of the Mahi will continue to increase along with its numbers. In addition, as we move later into May and June, the chances of seeing a blue marlin are greatly increased, as it, too, enjoys hot Mahi bites.
Just in time for this great Gulf Stream trolling, the GPS Store Far Out Shoot Out tuna, dolphin and wahoo rodeo was hosted out of the Ocean Isle Fishing Center this past week. Twenty-one boats signed up to compete in the event, which actually took place the entire week as fishermen registered on May 9 and then got to pick any two days between May 10 and May 17 to fish.
A few boats fished May 10. However, the catches were mostly of smaller dolphin and wahoo, and nothing more than 20 pounds was weighed in.
The weather improved greatly last Wednesday and Thursday, and the majority of the tournament anglers chose to fish those two days. The fleet spread out between the Same Ole hole to north and the Georgetown hole, and fish were caught everywhere.
The 7th Heaven fishing team guided by Sunset Beach fisherman Larry Spainhour took to the waters and to the fish with a vengeance. Spainhour had something to prove after finishing second in last year’s event by 9/10ths of a pound. His crew and he deployed lines inshore of the 100/400, and before they could get all the lines out, they had hooked up to a big Mahi. They boated the 39.25-pound Mahi, which would end up being the tournament’s largest Mahi.
They continued fishing, and an hour or so later, another reel went off. This time they boated a 40.55-pound wahoo. This wahoo would end up being the event’s largest. So in a span of less than two hours, the 7th Heaven team had caught the two largest fish of the tournament, and unknown to the rest of the fleet, the tournament victory had already been secured.
With the 39-pound Mahi and 40-pound wahoo, Capt. Spainhour and the crew of the 7th Heaven amassed an aggregate of 79.8 pounds and won first Mahi, first wahoo, first largest fish on the dock and first-place overall. Talk about a clean sweep.
Fortunately for the 20 other boats, other prizes were offered. Capt. Scott Heffernan and the crew of The GPS Store Fishing Team boat landed a 26.4-pound Mahi and a 33.7-pound wahoo on Wednesday to amass 60.1 overall points and take home the third-largest wahoo and second place overall.
Frank Price and the crew of the Dirty Dog weighed a 23.7-pound Mahi and 36.25-pound wahoo on Wednesday for a total of 60 points to take home second-largest wahoo and third place overall.
The second-largest Mahi was taken by Jason Bryan on the Big Time Baby with a 38.9- pounder, and the third-largest Mahi was taken by Jeremy Foster on the Job Site, last year’s overall winner.
The weather was certainly a factor during the week, as Wednesday and Thursday were really the only two exceptional days to fish. However, as is the case in all tournaments, you pay your entry and you play the game. The weather is certainly a distraction and sometimes uncomfortable, but the fish are out there and when you’re catching fish, the seas are much less painful. Congratulations to all this year’s winners, and thanks to all participants for fishing.
In other fishing news, the king mackerel continue to bite strong in the 85- to 120-foot depths along with cobia, grouper and snapper.
The strong southwest winds we had this past week have dirtied up much of the near-shore water, which slowed down the near-shore bite of kings. However, the weather is forecast to settle later in the week, and when the water settles, the kings will be biting at the near-shore spots, such as the 390/390 and Lighthouse Rocks. Also, the cobia will be moving inshore as well, so be ready.
Brant McMullan is a charter captain and fishing columnist for the Beacon. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.