October 2017 DRP Newsletter
The 2017 fishing season has been a bad year for gaffer-size, adult, dolphinfish off the U.S. East Coast. This did not come as a surprise, following the near absence of young-of-the-year (YOY) dolphin in 2016 along the U.S. Atlantic coast. The DRP noted the lack of small fish last year and advised fishermen to be prepared for poor fishing for adult dolphinfish in 2017. That is now history and the page has been turned. Beginning in June, anglers in the Florida Keys began to report good numbers of small school dolphin showing up. A few weeks later, Outer Banks’ fishermen also reported good numbers of these YOY fish moving into their waters. This was reflected in the number of dolphin being tagged. The number of fish tagged went from 95 fish tagged during the first five months of 2017 to more than 600 tagged in the month of June alone. July’s tagging activity, 409 fish, has brought the 2017 tagging activity up to what has become the normal annual tagging level of more than 1,000 each year.
This is extremely important for avid dolphin fishermen. This should be the indicator that we have been looking for that says next year, 2018, should have a much improved fishing season for gaffer dolphin. Now we will just have to wait to see if this materializes.
This year’s hurricanes season has probably dealt the worst devastation on the blue water recreational fishery in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Bight collectively than in any year in recent decades. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the fishermen who are dealing with the tragedies left in the wake of these storms.