Mahi Mahi Dolphin Are Running Large In August

August 20 2023 - Mahi mahi are running large and in close this summer for the fishing charters out of Key West.
Mahi mahi dolphin
This nice catch was just one of the days in August this year on board the INXS out of Key West.

Deep Sea Fishing Report

Usually in August our charter boat captains are up against the clock on their deep sea fishing charters. Time is everything when a captain has to run his boat to the wall or beyond to find sport fish for their anglers. During the summer between the months of June – September we often steer our clients away from booking a deep sea fishing charter that has less than 6 hours time frame because the run to catch fish and make the folks happy can be long during the “dog days of summer”. 

Summer time deep sea fishing off Key West is famous for mahi mahi dolphin. A delicious tasting Palegic species of fish that is loads of fun to catch, super sustainable and can give months of fish food in the freezer. Currently the federal bag limit for Mahi Mahi is 10 per person with a 20″ minimum. Because the mahi have been so close, state waters rules may apply with a 5 per person bag limit and 20″ to the fork minimum size. 

Typically long runs are needed to get the baits in front of these tasty fish tacos. Some of the boats in our fleet only run 12-14 knots. If they are lucky and dock on the South Side of Key West, this still equates to 1.5 hours just to get to the typical summertime mahi. That can be quite a bit of run time taken out of the fishing day.

This month things have been a lot closer. Some of our captains report that there have been mahi dolphin found in less than 500 ft of water or just 7 – 10 miles off shore. Capt. Steven Lamp on board the charter boat INXS out of Oceans Edge marina reported several days this week and last of “good fish” (legal size in captain speak) just past the reef to 400 feet. That is just a 20 minute run for him in his 47′ Viking. Pretty incredible news since last year the captains were running out 23 miles just to catch small schoolies tossing back most due to them being short or undersized. Capt. Steve Stearns on board the charter boat SeaClusion out of Oceans Edge Marine in stock island has also been seeing the same thing with nice 25″ – 35″ mahi mahi “gaffers” and “heavy lifters” being found not to far offshore. Capt. Steve says has been putting together a nice box of fish on the regular these past few weeks. Last week he and his crew also took advantage of the new moon and boated a good size wahoo, a very nice bonus fish. A great tasting fish grilled or smoked and made into a delicious fish dip.

deep sea fishing mahi wahoo
Caught on board the SeaClusion last week with Capt. Steve. A nice wahoo for the mix

Special Notes

An interesting side bar to the great deep sea fishing these last few weeks has been the lack of sargassum weed out there. Usually the Sargassum is stacked up and really holding the fish. Not this year. Capt. Steven on board the INXS says he has fished the last 5 trips and not seen any grass to speak of. The mahi have all been under random flocks of birds. Another note is the random barracudas we are catching in the blue. “The random barracuda mugging has been tough on our lures. They seem to like the expensive stuff we are pulling back there.” -Capt. Steven

Deep Sea Fishing Charters

As we mentioned before. Typically we will try and steer prospecting anglers away from the 4 hour deep sea fishing charters this time of the year due to the long runs to find and catch the fish. This year, looks like that might be a thing judging by the last few weeks of fishing. This is good news for many Key West visitors wanting to catch these prize food fish but not break the bank. 

4 Hour deep sea Fishing Charters can run 900 – 1300.00 depending on the boat. 

6 Hour deep sea fishing charters can run 1300 – 1700 depending on the boat.

8 hour deep sea fishing charter can run 1500 – 2100 depending on the boat

See The Differences Of Boats And What Can Make The Cost Different.