Finally, some break from the heat. September was nice. October is even cooler, but out of Charleston, the dolphin bite heats up, and anglers looking for some fast action will find it. They don’t have to travel all that far or use especially heavy tackle to put some of these meat fish in the boat.
“The dolphin bite is great this time of year, and you can find a lot of them in the 2- to 15-pound class relatively close in, about 25 to 35 miles offshore,” said Chuck Griffin of Aqua Adventures (843-860-1664).
Griffin said finding the dolphin isn’t difficult this time of year. He trolls until he gets into a school, then he stops the boat and catches them on light tackle.
“I will troll around 51/2 or 6 knots all around weed patches or floating debris in 125 feet (of water) out to the shallow ledge,” he said. “Once you hook into a dolphin, if it’s in a school, the other dolphin will follow it to the boat. That’s when I like to stop and pitch squid, bucktails and plugs like surface poppers.”
For the sake of safety, Griffin makes one big change to his surface plugs.
“I replace all the treble hooks with single hooks. You just don’t need treble hooks when fishing this way, and you don’t want a dolphin coming in the boat flinging treble hooks all around,” he said.
Griffin recommends spooling 3000 to 5000 series Shimano Stradic reels with 15-pound test line with 30 to 60-pound test leaders. That’s as heavy as you need to get, he said.
“Once you find them, you can sit there and catch them until you’re ready to move on to the next school. You’ll find the schools all around weed patches, which are plentiful. The schools can range anywhere from 50 to 100 fish each, and watching for diving birds will also help you find them,” he said.
Because of the abundance of dolphin, Griffin said it’s also a great time for fly anglers to bring a 9- or 10-weight fly rod with any number of flies.
“There’s no better time for anglers to hook into these fish with a fly. They are feeding heavily, they are abundant, easy to find, and will pretty much bite until you’re ready to move on to another school or species,” he said.