KEY LARGO, Fla. One of the sure signs of the advent of spring in the Florida Keys is the arrival of dolphin fish, also known as mahi-mahi.
And during the past few days, Keys charterboat captains have reported significant catches.
In the Lower Keys, Captain Jim Sharpe on the Sea Boots reports plenty of dolphin in 300 to 500 feet of water. Sunday, Sharpe's anglers caught 10 dolphin from 12 to 30 pounds.
On Monday, anglers on Captain Scott Stanczyk's Catch 22 caught 40 dolphin from 10 to 20 pounds.
But the largest dolphin reported was a 58-pound bull caught off Key Largo on Saturday on the Fin Razer, with Captain Brandon Jiminez.
Anglers Jim Rosenthal of New York City and Eric Washburn of Washington, D.C., shared winding duties on the Penn 750 spinning outfit spooled with 20-pound line.
Jiminez spotted two frigate birds working an area in 450 to 500 feet of water, according to boat owner Greg Sosnow.
The big fish crashed a trolled blue-and-white Islander, but didn't get hooked. Jiminez moved the boat closer to the birds and mate Randall Alexander ran to the bow with a spinning rod, spotted and pitched a dead ballyhoo to a 28-pound cow.
As the cow was being fought, the bull swam up and another ballyhoo was cast and the hook was successfully set. About 50 minutes later, the big fish was gaffed and brought aboard to join the caught cow.
More details on fishing in the Florida Keys are available at www.fla-keys.com/fishing.