By BRENT GASKILL
© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 9, 2001
We had quite a surprise this week aboard Dr. Pete Pardoll's new catamaran, Don't Count Your Chickens. While bottom fishing in 45 feet of water, 8 miles offshore, a dolphin fish (mahi-mahi) swam by. This is common this time of year in gulf waters 20-30 miles out. But a mahi sighting in near-shore waters is rare.
Using a small spinning outfit, a cast was thrown. The only problem was the rod was rigged with a float-and-jig combination designed for catching trout on shallow grass flats. It proved to be enough to keep the mahi interested, as it followed and bumped it on several casts.
As a last-ditch effort, a long cast was made and the lure combo was ripped back to the boat as fast as possible. The bubble trail made from the float was more than the fish could stand as it chased it down and ate the slugger-style jig.
The fight was on with high speed, multiple jumping, spastic runs for which mahi-mahi are known. The tiny reel was a dozen wraps from being emptied when the comment was made to Pardoll that the name of his boat should be changed to Don't Count Your Chicken Dolphin. The fish turned, however, and was played to the gaff.
The unexpected turned out to be a challenge that topped off our day on the water and provided some tasty fillets for the crew.
- Capt. Brent Gaskill charters the Summer Vacation out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 343-1765 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.