Ed Keelin, who runs the Early Bird charter boat, is logging plenty of offshore time these days, with dolphin catches at the top of his list.
"The dolphin have turned on strong offshore," says Keelin (843-543-5126) "We are catching fish in 400 feet at the break and some big bulls out at 100 fathoms."
The best places to find dolphin are weed lines, floating debris, temperature breaks and anything else that creates an abnormality in the ocean. To reduce search time, Keelin reviews the satellite imagery in the vicinity of the 226 Hole and the 380 Hole.
"You can see where the (water) emperatures or current changes on satellite imagery," he said.
As the major wave of dolphin arrives, their appetites are strong, and they will eat about anything that catches their eye and looks tasty. Dolphin are an extremely fast-growing species, and after a long migration along the Gulf Stream, they arrive ready to eat, and trolled ballyhoo are their prime rib.
Trolling ballyhoo and lures along the structure and/or temperature break will draw dolphin in no time at all. Naked ballyhoo on circle hooks are Keelin's "go-to" baits, but he will always deploy his own custom-tied sea witches when dolphin fishing in the azure waters of the Atlantic in bright colors.
"Dolphin like bright colors; pink/white, yellow/green, bleeding dolphin and blue/chartreuse are my personal favorites because they catch fish," he said.
Keelin expects the dolphin bite off to stay excellent for the rest of the month.