Chasing dolphinfish off the Sunshine Coast

Smithy’s Fishing Charters are a mainstay on the Sunshine Coast. Owner/operator Rob Smith has done just about everything in the fishing world. From landing monster snapper on small plastics, to skippering big marlin boats, and even landing prize-winning billfish himself. So when we wanted to take a couple of young Creek Catch members offshore to chase a few dolphinfish, we knew just who to ask.

Setting off from Kawana, Smithy took us out roughly 10 miles to one of his special marks, where the dollys have recently shown up. On board — mad keen twins Hugh and Will Ciereszko. They grew up fishing with their father from the age of four. Nowadays, when they’re not studying, you’ll find them on a kayak peppering casts up and down Gold Coast creeks. They have also had a bit of luck on the Tailor recently, favouring the rocks and break walls around Fingal Head. However, the boys had never been offshore, and had a yearning for pelagics.

The game plan was live bait. Specifically yackers, bridle-rigged and fed into bait schools. Smithy likes using bridal rigs to both prolong the life of the live bait, as well as allow it to swim naturally.

Dolphinfish are renowned as one of the fastest fish in the ocean and will often bust you off if you strike when you feel them nibble. Smithy recommends leaving your bail arm open and feeding the line down by hand. You will know when a fish has taken the bait, because your line will start peeling off the reel a lot quicker. Let the fish run with the bait for five to ten seconds, then flip that bail arm over and hang on!

One tip, don’t set your drag too heavy, otherwise you risk pulling your hooks when you flip the bail arm on a dolly. You can always tighten your drag mid-fight, when you’re sure the fish is well hooked.

The boys were lucky enough to go home with a beautiful specimen of dolphinfish for their efforts.

We used 5,000 sized reels with 20-pound line. The lighter gear always makes pelagic fishing fun, so sort yourself out with a combo from your local BCF.

Do yourself a favor, and hook up with Smithy. You can find all his details on his website, including a variety of charter options, prices and availabilities.