Fishing Tip: find bottlenose dolphin, find fish

dolphinleap.gifBottle-nose dolphin are awe-inspiring hunters, and they can quickly decimate your chances of catching fish in a normally productive spot. Many’s the time I’ve eased up to a favorite shoreline or flat only to see a fired-up dolphin going off like a pipe bomb. Goodbye fish. Instead of cursing their presence, however, I usually marvel at their power and grace. And I use what I see to my advantage down the line. If I see dolphin actively feeding on a shoreline, flat, or other area I usually ignore, I make a mental note of the time and tide and fish it the next time conditions are comparable. Though dolphin eat a wide variety of fish — especially mullet — they seem to relish snook and redfish, at times wolfing down specimens of surprisingly large size. (On a recent trip my girlfriend and I were tracking a school of big bull reds when she saw a dolphin gliding close. “Not to worry”, I said in a deep, knowing voice, “they have no interest in fish of that size.” No sooner had I spoken the words than the dolphin hit the jets, smashed into the school with stunning violence and emerged with a monstrous redfish flopping sideways in its grinning jaws like a chew toy. Humility comes in many forms). Point is, there isn’t a more efficient, dominant predator in God’s green seas, and if you frequent spots where they feed you’ll find fish.

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6 Responses to “Fishing Tip: find bottlenose dolphin, find fish”

  1. Pete says:

    Watching dolphin pen in fish is one of the more impressive sites on the water, and always reminds me just how inept I actually am at fishing compared to wild hunters. I would have loved to see one blast a big bull red. You’ll probably remember that longer than if you had caught the fish yourself.

  2. snook says:

    Agree, Pete. We are not in the ballpark of dolphin as predators – they are awe-inspiring in that regard. And yes, I’ll remember the dolphin whoofing down that big redfish a lot longer than I would have catching the fish myself. I think. :-)

  3. Oldschool says:

    It is always a relief to see dolphin close by because they are so dialed in to where the baitfish are. I don’t think I have ever had a bad day of fishing when fishing near porpoises.

  4. John says:

    Funny, I have a buddy who will simply not fish in a bay where he sees dolphin, especially in areas where they’ve learned to “steal” hooked fish. He thinks they freak the resident game fish out and put them on alert. I tend to think he’s correct in that assessment, but, as noted, you can still note the place where they’re feeding and come back later, assured that it’s a fishy spot.

  5. Eric Peterson says:

    Watched an attack in 3′ of water in Rookery Bay, Naples FL May 07. Baby Tarpon 5-10# kept jumping and was tossed in the air twice by the Dolphin. Ended probably 5-7 minutes later with mud everywhere and Dolphin jumping with lunch sideways in his mouth.

  6. John says:

    Wow. I’ve never seen a dolphin pursue a tarpon, even a small one. But I believe it, and wish I’d see it myself. Funny to me how most folks see dolphin as intelligent, gentle creatures. Smart? Yes. Gentle? Uh, no. They are relentless hunters with a nasty streak. They rule the backwaters with an iron fist. Other than large sharks, they have no match. And I’m told they’ll gladly mix it up with even big sharks, on occasion. Good thing they don’t see us an enemy or a competitor. If they did, I’d stay at the dock.