July 18, 2012
Begin Trolling right off the Beach
One of the hottest tourist spots in all of the Caribbean currently is the eastern shore of the Dominican Republic. Punta Cana not only attracts beachgoers, but also anglers who find some of the Caribbean's best offshore action on wahoo and dolphin, locally called “mahi-mahi.” Most of the trolling in the beautiful turquoise waters takes place just 4 to 10 miles off the resort-laden, white sand shoreline, according to Captain Jose of the Marmax II, one of three offshore sportfishing boats offered by Gone Fishing Charters.
About 6 miles offshore in partially wind-protected waters, many of the charters will start trolling five or six rigged ballyhoo with and without plastics skirts from 30-pound and 50-pound outfits. The seas in the area behind the point can be relatively calm and are usually productive for dolphin up to 60 pounds. Seven buoyed surface fish attractors that have been placed about 8 to 10 miles offshore by a commercial fisherman help full-day charter sport fishermen find bites. Since the commercial vessels primarily fish around the attractors during strong winds and high seas, the magnet can also help the trolling charters willing to go out that far.
Dolphin there typically range from 10 pounds to the upper 20s, and not all at the top of that sampling are males; a friend on my recent charter caught a 30-pound female, a giant for its sex. Captain Jose's largest ever was a giant bull that weighed 70 pounds, and the most ever taken in one day aboard the Marmax II was 36. The best time of the year for dolphin (and yellowfin tuna and bonito) is February and March. Wahoo are abundant, particularly during October through December, but they average fairly small sizes. The prime months for marlin in the waters offshore from Punta Cana is July through September and optimal sailfish months are the following three.