Weedline Warriors

Tips for finding and fooling summertime dolphin along offshore weedlines.
Shea McIntee
With insatiable appetites and incredible growth rates, dolphin can be found cruising in the vicinity of vibrant weedlines as they feed on a variety of juvenile finfish and marine invertebrates. When late summer air and water temperatures begin to slow the bite there are a few things you can do to keep the strikes coming.     All Photos by Steve Dougherty
Sargassum seaweed is a type of brown algae that's comprised of branched, leafy vegetation with gas filled floats. While providing essential refuge and safe breeding grounds for a variety of marine animals, healthy Sargassum also provides essential forage
for hungry dolphin. However, not all weedlines guarantee success and it's important you focus your efforts along floating mats of vegetation with the presence of small baitfish.
You'll find the greatest concentration of dolphin in tropical regions with water temperatures ranging from 74 to 82 degrees. Satellite based forecasting systems like FishTrack enable anglers to pinpoint prime stretches of fishy water. Since dolphin are schooling fish when you find one there are likely more in the area.
A high flying frigate bird is a welcomed sight to anglers in Florida. If you spot circling or diving birds in the vicinity of a weedline it's safe to say that dolphin aren't too far off. Keep in mind that big fish will often be shadowed by one or two birds, while larger flocks of birds often reveal the presence of smaller schoolies.
Easily distinguished by their dazzling colors and aerial acrobatics, dolphin are a favored target of summertime anglers
Weedlines often form due to the convergence of currents, which also stack other forms of floating debris. Locate a floating tree with the presence of live baits and you can count on red-hot action.
Although dolphin are often focused on natural offerings, plugs and poppers that make commotion on the surface will also entice the strikes you seek.
Anglers trolling for dolphin should fish a variety of natural and artificial offerings to capitalize on all of the available opportunities. In addition to dolphin, marlin and wahoo are often encountered along fertile weedlines.
Keeping a hooked dolphin in the water is a proven tactic to keep nearby fish interested.
When you spot birds working a weedline take your time and observe the situation. Try to work the outside of the birds in an effort not to spook the fish hanging below.
Although Florida offers world-class dolphin fishing, anglers trolling less pressured stretches of nutrient rich water in the nearby Bahamas often encounter massive mahi.

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