Gulf Stream Magic

Photo courtesy of Captain Miles Altman

Cobalt blue offshore waters offer exceptional fishing opportunities.

From the very first time I gazed on the deep blue water of the Gulf Stream, I was in total awe. The richness and clarity of the cobalt blue was amazing, compared to the green and often muddy estuarine waters surrounding Hilton Head Island.

This marine environment was different and mysterious, stretching hundreds of feet deep, even a thousand if you ventured far enough. Golden beds of sargassum weeds stretched for miles, in contrast to the beautiful blue and myriad forms of life that flourished below.

Baits trolled along these weed lines most often produce dolphin—a fish with vibrant green, gold and blue colors—which are undoubtedly one of the most beautiful fish that inhabit the Gulf Stream. Most would know its name as mahi mahi, when reading from a menu, so that it will not be confused with the mammal. These fish are acrobatic battlers, taking to the air in somersaults and head-shaking in an effort to free themselves.

Recent weeks have seen great catches of these tasty and awesome fighters, with some fish weighing in as much as 50 pounds. Part of the mystique for me, however, is that you never know what other predators may be lurking beneath the schools of mahi or other flying fish that take to the air and soar endlessly before splashing down and disappearing.

Large wahoo with tiger stripes of florescent blue and a mouth of razor sharp teeth often strike a bait with ferocity, literally heating up a reel with the speed and power in which they strip line, making you wonder if you will have enough.

And then there are my all-time favorites: the billfish. The blue marlin is the king of all fish in the Gulf Stream. With a large bill they use to slash and stun their prey, the marlin can strike with explosive force, and heavy tackle is mandatory for a battle that can last hours. One can never forget the sight of a marlin lit up in neon colors of blue, gold and silver as it makes its speedy approach on a bait.

The marlin has quite the repertoire of jumps too, making it amazing to watch as it battles ferociously. Seeing a marlin leaping out of the water is a fantastic sight and could lead to hours and hours of watching the water in hopes of seeing it again.

This last few weeks, the Gulf Stream has been on fire with fishing as good as it gets, making the several hour trek there and back well worth it. Personally, I can’t get there soon enough. My heart is out there, waiting for me.

Capt. Miles Altman of Bayrunner Fishing Charters has more than 42 years of experience fishing the waters surrounding Hilton Head Island. Don’t miss the Finatic boat, which accommodates up to 12 passengers and features a special 3-hour shark/dolphin eco-tour trip. Contact Capt. Miles at (843) 290-6955 to book an unforgettable inshore or offshore charter fishing trip, departing from Shelter Cove Marina.