Rarely do either Steve Gaskins or Justin Carter have a charter come aboard for a full day of bluewater fishing with only one target species in mind. For the most part, bluewater trolling is the bread-and butter tactic for dolphin, but it will also catch other species. While the size and types of baits and tackle may be tailored to a specific fish’s preference, offshore trolling is like a box of chocolates —, you never know what you’ll get. But here are some possibilities:
• Billfish. Most believe billfish, especially blue marlin, to be the most-sought after of all ocean sportfish. Super strong and powerful, blue marlin will fight hard and run fast for hours on end. They can suddenly dive to deep water and then make wild jumps, often up to a dozen or more times. Blue marlin, white marlin and sailfish are the most common billfish caught off South Carolina.
• Yellowfin tuna. Yellowfins have a muscular, streamlined body like a torpedo, and like all tuna, they extremely fast swimmers. Yellowfins are considered an excellent food and sportfish. After hitting a lure or bait, they often go deep and will fight with great power and tenacity. For several years, however, they have not showed up off South Carolina in any numbers.
• Atlantic bonito. The bonito is easily distinguished by its shiny, silver body marked by dark oblique stripes on its back. They are more commonly caught closer to shore, but they show up offshore, where they travels in large schools and are strong fighters on lighter tackle.
• Wahoo. Wahoo have the long, slender body of a king mackerel, with zebra-like stripes of white and deep blue or black. Its mouth is elongated, narrow and equipped with razor-sharp teeth. Wahoo roam the deeper blue water, but anglers find them by working drop-offs, weedlines, and other favorable feeding locations.