Fly fishing for dorado in a super-productive fishery like the Tongue of the Ocean off of South Andros Island is a ton of fun.
The basic formula is fairly straightforward: locate cover which also locates bait, locate fish, strip flies. There’s a little more to it than that though.
Once you’ve got your gear ready to go, these 7 tips will help.
- Start light. Once you’ve located a group of dorado, you can often get some fish on the surface. Start with floating lines and crease flies or poppers, and you may get some takers. Once that quiets down, stick with your floating lines, but try big streamers like jumbo Deceivers or Clousers.
- Go deep if you need to. If you’ve been working the fish with the floating lines and the bite seems to be dropping off, that’s often because the fish have moved a little deeper. It’s really helpful to have some sinking lines on hand – everything from intermediate to mega-sink like a 500+ grain Leviathan line. Stick with stripping those big streamers, but do it deep.
- Strip to the boat. If the fish is following your fly, don’t stop stripping until you can’t strip no more. It’s amazing how often a fish will eat right next to the boat, with the leader literally through the tip of the rod. Don’t stop stripping until you have to!
- Give it back to ’em. If you’ve run out of line and the fish didn’t eat, or if he was looking for but never found your fly, or if he just missed, chuck it back out there. We’ve got lots of stories of fish being caught on the 3rd or 4th or 7th attempt. Keep casting until that fish swims away.
- Chum if necessary. One of the great things about a fishery like the Tongue of the Ocean is that we catch most of our fish without chumming at all. That being said, if you’ve done all of the above and the fish aren’t eating, or if you’ve located cover but haven’t found fish, it’s really helpful to have some chum along. Chumming slowly and consistently can draw some fish in and/or get them lit up and ready to eat.
- Try a flesh fly. No, we’re not fishing for Alaskan rainbow trout, but we’ve learned from some wise anglers that a dead-drifted fleshy looking fly can really produce. No stripping here – just throw it out there and let it sit. You might be surprised.
- Bring a big boat. When you’ve got multiple anglers fly fishing in the bluewater, it’s really important to have a lot of room. We can comfortably fly fish 3 people out of a 30 foot catamaran, but in smaller vessels there’s only room for 1 or 2. Don’t try to fish more anglers than is practical for the size of your boat– things can get messy real fast, especially when you hook up.