Thursday, May 7, 2015

May is for Mahi Mahi and Marlin

Kathy Baxley and Carolo Reynolds Cannon  in 2013

In May, pelagic fish species are embarking on a spring migration from South to North and anglers can almost set their watches by Mother Nature’s annual timetable. May offers just the right mix of mahi mahi, renowned for their appealing table fare, plus the splash of a big game chase for a mighty marlin.

James Island native Todd Baxley has been offshore fishing for 30 years, and he runs the Fly Buoy IV out of Ripley Light Marina. Owner Gary Davis just acquired the 55-foot Hatteras sportfisher so it is now up to Baxley to fine tune how the boat will perform while fishing. These two combined their luck to win at Big Rock in 2012, with Baxley reeling in the winning marlin. The bill from that blue marlin is in the Baxley home today, after a presentation during the SCDNR Gov. Cup tourney in Georgetown in 2013.

“A typical fish day for us begins with leaving the dock at 5 a.m.,” said Baxley. “After an almost three-hour run offshore, we will stop at the ledge in 180-feet of water and troll for a wahoo. We stop to break up the monotony of the ride, and to see if we can get a mixed bag for our fishbox. With the dolphin out a little deeper, it won’t be long until we will push into 300 to 500-feet of water and look for a weedline.”

Depending on the morning’s action the decision to switch over to billfishing might come by 11 a.m. or around noon. The boat will move offshore of any weedlines and begin trolling in deeper waters at 8.5-knots. “You just never know what size marlin you might encounter, but each one of them can challenge the entire crew to clear the lines as quickly as possible so that the Captain can back down on the fish before too much fishing line goes out creating unwanted drag and friction. Keeping close to any hooked marlin is always a good idea,” said Baxley.

Todd Baxley leaders a blue marlin

Since then Baxley has competed in the Hawaiin Invitational Billfish Tourney in Kona, fishing on the Marlin Magic II run by Capt. Marlin Parker. Baxley served as gaff man during that tourney, and is pro staff for an offshore apparel company from California called Pelagic Gear.
“To catch both mahi and marlin you’ve got to the right water at the right time,” said Baxley. “We identify the right spot by watching for temperature breaks using electronics, this is where warm waters from the Gulf Stream break off and form eddies. Also, simple water color variations like a change from deep blue to cobalt blue can signal anglers that it’s time to fish.” 

Those fun fishing days of May create memories that can be long lasting because there are just too few opportunities to hear a fishing reel scream into overdrive while the mate yells FISH ON!

To view this entire feature article in the newspaper click on Charleston Mercury.

To view the latest Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Report click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.