Fishermen headed offshore from Hatteras received a few days of R&R over the weekend as tropical storm Ana stirred up the ocean, but Capt. Jeremy Hicks of Calypso Sportfishing expects the dolphin, tuna and wahoo to resume their relentless attack as soon as the seas subside.
Hicks said gaffer dolphin moved to the forefront about a week ago, but there are still tuna and wahoo also waiting to blitz a spread of trolling baits, and he expects the action to fire up again as soon as the seas are tolerable
"I hate this early storm blew up last week as our fishing had just moved from being good to being on fire," Hicks said. "We had been catching tuna and wahoo pretty good for several weeks and usually had a few dolphin, too, but the dolphin bite exploded last week. These weren't just any old dolphin either, they were nice-sized gaffers, and everyone was catching them. This action was early and more like we usually expect it to be around Memorial Day. I expect we'll find them again as soon as we get back out."
Hicks said medium ballyhoo rigged into sea witches have been doing the trick on dolphin, tuna and wahoo. He’s running wire leaders on long lines to help prevent bite-offs from wahoo, but that doesn’t matter with dolphin; they will eat most anything they find. He said he is running several fluorocarbon leaders for tuna, as they can sometimes be leader-shy.
Hicks (252-996-0977) hasn't noticed a color preference, but he said blue/white has been a favorite for all offshore species as long as he can remember. Wahoo might like darker colors, but dolphin aren’t picky as long as lures are bright. He has caught a few dolphin and tuna on naked flat lines – ballyhoo without skirts.
"There has been a good scattering of fish from up to the north to well to the south," Hicks said. "I think the best fishing right before the storm was from up around the 280 Rocks down to the Triple Zeroes. I don't think this storm was strong enough to move the fish a lot and plan to get back out there as soon as I can. The grass will be broken up, but I don't expect they have moved very far."
Hicks said the key to finding fish is to find something that will gather them: maybe a weed line, a rip, a color change or temperature break. As far as dolphin are concerned, don’t ignore anything floating.