offshore fishing puerto plata, season and bait

dom

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Jun 1, 2011
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I was planning to go 10- 15 miles off the coast heading north to try my luck, I was planning to use ballyhoo together with some squid. Question is if this is reallyy the right bait and season to catch any good fish. I'm going in my own boat. Thanks for any help
 

Conchman

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Jul 3, 2002
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if you are trolling then ballyhoo and/or lures...not sure how you plan to keep squid on the hook unless you are bottomfishing. Bring your own bait its hard to find on the North coast. What kind of boat are you on? its usually calm in the morning and very rough in the afternoons, winds usually east to west.
 
Oct 11, 2010
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Ballyhoo is standard bait here, it is what everybody uses here on the North Coast. You can net it yourself here in Sos?a or buy it here also. Squid on the other hand is a different story. Good squid really aren't available locally. However, squid is the best and most productive dead bait, PERIOD. If you have access to good squid baits, by all means troll those squid. If you know how to properly rig and troll the baits, you will be more productive with squid, GUARANTEED.

Six to nine inch squid for dolphin and wahoo are perfect and the larger squid, 10-12 inch for marlin. The hook-up ratio for marlin is MUCH HIGHER with squid than ballyhoo. Just remember squid are more delicate than ballyhoo so slow troll them at four or five knots.

If you buy frozen ballyhoo here they are NEVER prepared properly so they don't last long, put a skirt on them to last longer, if you catch them yourself and rig them fresh you will be better off.

You didn't mention where on the north coast you will be fishing.

If you are fishing from Sos?a, there are plenty of FADs from about a mile out to about eight or nine miles out . Right now mostly dolphin and wahoo around. There are some small blue marlin around also. I found a great weed line last week about eight miles NE of Sos?a with plently of action. Look for the right conditions, you should do well.

Remember to keep an eye on the weather, it can get nasty real quick.

Good luck.
 

CocoBoy

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Feb 23, 2012
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All of this fishing talk gets me so jealous. Years of fishing, from salmon trolling to fly fishing for bones, permit and tarpon. Now, after living here for years, I almost forget what it feels like to have a good fish hooked up. Go get 'em, I'd love to hear about the results.
 
May 29, 2006
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Ballyhoo is standard bait here, it is what everybody uses here on the North Coast. You can net it yourself here in Sos?a or buy it here also. Squid on the other hand is a different story. Good squid really aren't available locally. However, squid is the best and most productive dead bait, PERIOD. If you have access to good squid baits, by all means troll those squid. If you know how to properly rig and troll the baits, you will be more productive with squid, GUARANTEED.

Six to nine inch squid for dolphin and wahoo are perfect and the larger squid, 10-12 inch for marlin. The hook-up ratio for marlin is MUCH HIGHER with squid than ballyhoo. Just remember squid are more delicate than ballyhoo so slow troll them at four or five knots.

If you buy frozen ballyhoo here they are NEVER prepared properly so they don't last long, put a skirt on them to last longer, if you catch them yourself and rig them fresh you will be better off.

You didn't mention where on the north coast you will be fishing.

If you are fishing from Sos?a, there are plenty of FADs from about a mile out to about eight or nine miles out . Right now mostly dolphin and wahoo around. There are some small blue marlin around also. I found a great weed line last week about eight miles NE of Sos?a with plently of action. Look for the right conditions, you should do well.

Remember to keep an eye on the weather, it can get nasty real quick.

Good luck.
Do you have any more info on the FADs, like what they are made from? When I was doing a field course in the Turks and Caicos islands, one the projects I was working on was FADs for spiny lobsters. They are used extensively in Cuba and it makes the industry far more sustainable.
 

dom

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Jun 1, 2011
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headed out yesterday and got a about 15` spanish makarel, apart from that there wasnt much around, did catch the markrel close to shore with a spoon.
 

Sohrab

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Oct 1, 2010
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Thanks for the report dom.
A realistic report is better than generalized well wishing articles!
 

mido

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May 18, 2002
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headed out yesterday and got a about 15` spanish makarel, apart from that there wasnt much around, did catch the markrel close to shore with a spoon.
Was it 15 ' mackerel or 15 mackerels? Just to understand. A 15 foot mackerel would be a little bit exaggerated I think.
 

dom

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Jun 1, 2011
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it was more like 15 inch, but still better then no fish at all. this was in the afternoon headed out about 10 miles in the morning, with ballyhoo, no fish to see. i would love to get some tuna, what bait and how far out would you recommend ?
 
Oct 11, 2010
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Do you have any more info on the FADs, like what they are made from? When I was doing a field course in the Turks and Caicos islands, one the projects I was working on was FADs for spiny lobsters. They are used extensively in Cuba and it makes the industry far more sustainable.
The FADs the local fisherman use here in the north are made from palm fronds. They are attached to nylon rope and anchored with cement weights.

A float is created from empty two litre plastic soft drink bottles tied together and wrapped in a net which is attached to the palm fronds and the nylon rope. The weights are usually made from empty propane tanks filled with cement and tied together with galvanized chain to achive the desired weight. The nylon rope is attached to the galvanized chain on the bottom and at the surface to the palm fronds and the float. Besides the tied together plastic float a marker is added to make it easier to spot the FAD. The marker is usually a large piece of styrofoam or a bright orange anchor ball.

There are other modified versions of this set-up but this is what most of the guys here in the north use. On the FADs we drop I used to put a radar reflector on the float to make it even easier to find.

Each local fisherman usually has two or three FADs of their own anchored in anywhere from 500 feet to 2000+ feet of water, right now there are quite a few off the coast of Sos?a and Cabarete.
 

dom

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Jun 1, 2011
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i like the idea of the fads, and had planned to do it some years ago in the puerto plata area, but i have some doubts.

first of all the loss of the nylon rope, that i would like to prevent, or figure out something else cheap to tie it up.

second, im afraid that the currents may drag the floating device underwater, which would make it impossible to find again.
i remember once we had a anchor get stuck, we left some bottles tied to the rope, when we later returned, the current had pulled the bottles down.

third, how effective is it really, how do the dominicans come up with the cost of lets just say 500ft dept, thats at least 800ft, better 1000ft of rope ?

it would be interesting and fun to do a project as this, if someone else has a boat and i willing to work on it, let me know.
 
May 29, 2006
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I think GPS has made FADs a lot more cost effective. Build it right and no problem. There is a good amount of info on the internet on them. They are popular in Hawaii, where they use them for Dolrado/Tuna and are built by the government to improve the sport fishing industry. If you look at the specs, they put some money into them:

The FAD FAQ
 

MikeFisher

The Fisherman/Weather Mod
Feb 28, 2006
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firstly,
if you are not familiar enough with navegating on open Water out of sight of the Island(when a strong cloud cover comes up surprisingly you can loose visibility to the Isle just a couple miles off) then I would highly recommend that you only go offshore with 2 independendly working/connected GPS. and running with GPS will let you find the FADS always, even if they are not visible on the surface.
the FADs are def the most effective thingy to use for all kinda Fishes, around and under a old/long placed FAD you get it all, the Mahis on the Surface, Wahoos standing close under, and great Bottom Fishing in the Depth there, too.
one spezies brings along an other and an other.
we run here on the southern portion of the East a good number of FADs, some are old, 3 are even willingly placed 15-20ft below the Surface so when the small Mahi Breed is around other Boats do not pass there taking a 50 Mahis of just a couple pounds weight each, as we of course want them to grow up and breed so we can get the real good catches there for a longer while.
Squids are perfect for Bottom Fishing.
as explained in an other post above, they would also be a very effective Surface/Trolling Bait, but they are more difficult to handle and do not serve on the usually higher Billfish Trolling Speeds.
as for Mahis the Squids would be effective but are not necessary, because once you found your rhytm/areas/places to get on the Mahi Schools, they bite on almost everything up there, so the Deadbait Ballyhoos are completely enough to use for trolling on Mahi Mahi.
as for smaller Billfish like white Marlin and the usuallly present smaller Blue Marlin I prefer Ballyhoo much over Squids due the possibility to run a higher trolling Speed. on slow speed below 7 Knots it is not very common to raise groups of 3-6 white Marlin at a Time in the Spread, You need a well thought of Spread for that prepared to run 6-8Knots of trolling Speed.
Ballyhoo are very effective on many Spezies, but it is very important how you get them and prepare them so they would last long enough in the water to be worth to be used.
I get my Ballyhoo Fresh, we freeze them in right away by the dozen per plastic bag, to do so we empty their Bellies from their Poo and we fully salt them. that way you can for example rigg a Dredge with 19 Ballyhoo and leave them in the water for 3-4hrs without any getting bad in that long time in the water.
if you want to target mainly Dolphins/Mahi, check out your area for present FADs and mark their positions in your GPS, on your way to them watch out for Feeding Bird activity in the distance, good markers for present Mahi schools, and run your trolling along the Current Hits/Weedlines, don't fear to get Baits dirty with seaweed, such is usually well worth the bit of extra work to continuously clean baits, those sweet tasting Beasts are right there waiting for you.

let us know what your prefered Spezies are you wish to catch, so we can give more specific advise on Bait preparations, trolling speeds, kind of locations etc.

tight lines

Mike
 
Jun 18, 2007
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The couple of times I went fishing in the DR while trolling I used straws, Mcdonald straws the ones with the stripes. Those are perfect to catch Jack's, sierra and bonitos. You cut the straws in 2" pieces, put the line through it and then slide the straw down on to the hook.
 

dom

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Jun 1, 2011
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hi there, thanks for all the infos.

just bought a lowrance elite 4 chartplotter and fishfinder, to not get lost, worst case, i still have a compass to at least steer the boat towards the coast.

i will try to head out next weekend, to see if i can locate any of these FADs around sosua-cabarete, and if i find one i will share the gps location here.

i dont really have any preference, as fish are rare, and i go for anything that swims, if its small i release it, if its worth throwing on the stove i will keep it.

im considering to prepare some chum for the next time, i think its not very common to use here, but from what i hear its effective, do any of you use it, and what you put in to, i was considering just anything, rests of fish, flour, old bread, squid, cat food, etc, everything in a blender, i plan to put it in a 2 liter bottle and freeze it, when im going to use it ill just make some holes in the bottle and let it hang and drop behind the boat