• Posted by Nick Honachefsky
  • On February 21, 2017
  • Comments
  •  3

The warm weather lately has us thinking about summer days offshore. Don’t forget your lighter spinning tackle to bring home some serious table fare with some mahi off the pots.

Its pretty common knowledge that mahi tend to gravitate around floating debris, flotsam and jetsam drifting in the ocean, as well as by lobster pot hi-fliers and weed patches. Floating structure attracts dolphin to feed upon the growth and baitfish that congregate on the objects as the entire food chain evolves. The key is learning how to pick those mahi off that structure.

Start with a St. Croix TIS66MM 6-1/2 foot medium spinning rod rated for 8 to 17-pound. Match a Shimano Stradic 4000 reel spooled with 20-pound Power Pro braided line. Tie a 75-lb Spro barrel swivel, then a 30-inch section of 30-lb Seaguar fluorocarbon leader to which a loop knot is wrapped on the eye of a round head bucktail jig. Andrus, S&S bucktails and MagicTail make excellent bucktails. Go with relatively small, light bucktails of ½ to 2-ounces to pull mahi off the pots as they can be jigged with maximum life-like effectiveness as their sink rate is slower and more natural than heavier jigs. White, white/chartreuse, and white/pink color patterns always seem to produce for me. Without a doubt, tipping the bucktail hook with some flavor intensifies the attraction. Many offerings can be lanced on the hook, including fluke bellies, live killies, squid tentacles or strips, and any kind of strip bait like false albacore, bonito, bluefish or mackerel, or you can opt for artificials such as a Berkley Gulp! 5-inch jerk shad or 4-inch Swimming Mullet, or 5-3/4-inch Fin-S Fish in Electric Chicken, Bubble Gum or Rainbow Trout.

The strategy to fooling mahi with a bucktail is threefold – in location, presentation and retrieval speed. If working a pot line or marker buoy, take the boat out of gear upcurrent of the target about a hundred yards, staying a good 40 feet or so away so as not to spook any fish, and make your casts past the target, allowing the bucktail to sink for a good three count to start. Proceed to jig the bucktail in short, jerky strokes back to the boat for a strike. You want the bucktail to present itself naturally in the current, on an up and down fleeing away approach. If no hits come from the surface, try deeper. Allow the bucktail to sink a good 30 feet or so, then work the bucktail back up the water column, pulling the deep rooted dolphin to come up. A major factor in a successful catch rate is to keep the dolphin feeding. When you do hook up with one, use the textbook method of leaving the rod in the rod holder with the dolphin attached as the fluttering, feeding hooked dolphin will pique the curiosity of the rest of the pack.

Gear Used


Shimano ST4000XGFK Stradic FK Spinning Reel

The Shimano Stradic FK Spinning Reels are designed for anglers who demand toughness and durability in their tackle. Shimano’s Hagane reel design allows for these reels to be long lasting through your many fishing trips.


St. Croix

St. Croix TIS66MM Tidemaster Inshore Spinning Rod

Tidemaster Inshore Spinning Rods are handcrafted with St. Croix’s exclusive SC graphite for strength and durability. St. Croix Tidemaster rods are fitted with premium saltwater-grade hardware including Batson Forecast hard aluminum-oxide guides featuring new 316 stainless steel frames for dramatically improved corrosion resistance.



MagicTail Bullet Head Bucktails

The MagicTail Bucktail Bullet Head lures are made with super strong Mustad hooks. They are built with big fish in mind. The short shanked hook allows a ton of pressure on the fish without opening up and withstands almost everything. These lures come with a 3D eye and flashaboo strip.


S & S Bucktails

S & S Bucktails Rattletail Jig Lures

S & S Bucktails Rattletail Lures use a strong duration finished hook, 3-D eyes, and real deer tail! S & S Bucktails Rattletail Lures only use American Made components and are constructed exclusively in the United States. These bucktails will catch anything that swims.



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