How to Find Mahi Mahi and Wahoo Offshore-Fishing for Pelagic Fish Offshore-Fishing Tips

Tips and Strategies for Using SATFISH SST Charts

The best way to catch more dolphin and wahoo offshore in the Florida Keys is to use SST charts(Sea Surface Temperature Charts). An SST chart provides real-time data on water temperature, allowing fishermen to identify areas where Florida Keys dolphin are likely to be found. Using these charts, offshore fisherman can locate temperature breaks, where warm and cool water masses meet. 

Sea Surface Temperature (SST) charts are an invaluable tool for any fisherman, particularly those looking to catch dolphin and wahoo in the Florida Keys. These charts offer real-time data on water temperature, enabling fishermen to pinpoint areas where these species are likely to be found.

One of the keys to successful wahoo fishing anywhere in the world is understanding the preferences on any given day over the course of full year cycle.  Both dolphin (also known as dorado or mahi-mahi) and wahoo are known to inhabit areas where they feel safe, comfortable, and have abundant food. Similar to how one might prefer lounging in a comfortable chair with a plate of nachos, these fish have their own preferred “hangouts.”

SATFISH SST charts can help identify these hangouts by locating temperature breaks – areas where warm and cool water masses meet. These breaks often coincide with areas rich in nutrients, attracting a variety of marine life and, consequently, predator fish like dolphin and wahoo.

SatFish is one such platform that provides high-definition SST charts, which can be used to locate these prime fishing spots. By understanding and utilizing these charts, fishermen can increase their chances of a successful catching wahoo on a consistent basis. I have spend several hundred hours creating this blog for readers. I consider it the Ultimate Guide for finding wahoo and dolphin using SST Charts. I have also including several wahoo and dolphin fishing tips. So enjoy and remember as you read this blog I created it to help others catch fish and save money using SATFISH.

Good Karma Sportfishing Wahoo-SATFISH Offshore

Florida Keys Wahoo Fishing Using SATFISH-Good Karma Sportfishing

 

These breaks often attract baitfish, attracting larger game fish like dolphin, wahoo, tuna, and marlin. SST charts can also help offshore fishermen identify essential features of the ocean floor, such as drop-offs and ledges, which can be habitats for different Florida Keys grouper and snapper species. Furthermore, SST charts can provide information on ocean currents, which can help fishermen to plan fishing routes.

These SST charts provide valuable information about water temperature distribution across the ocean’s surface, allowing you to understand the currents and how tuna, wahoo, dolphin, marlin, and sailfish utilize them to find concentrations of bait in the Florida Keys.

How to Find Wahoo Fishing Spots Using SST Charts

Using SATFish will help you locate areas where the water conditions (such as temperature, depth, and current) are favorable for wahoo and where there’s suitable structure (like rocks, ledges, or vegetation) wahoo to use as  shelter, feeding, or spawning. Remember wahoo are like birds, they migrate back to the same areas year after year.

If you want information on finding Florida Keys dolphin and wahoo, consider using an SST chart service that provides real-time data on water temperature, allowing fishermen to identify areas where Florida Keys dolphin are likely to be found. I started using the SATFISH Offshore yearly subscription service in September 2023. After 3 months of testing the product, I found it accurate and was excited to share my positive experiences with SATFISH offshore. The SATFISH Offshore service offers a comprehensive guide to finding Florida Keys dolphin, and wahoo.

Find Mahi Mahi Offshore Using SatFish High-Def SST

Identify Temperature and Color Breaks-Finding Convergence Zones 

A great technique to enhance your fishing experience is to use SST services to locate temperature breaks. During July and August, a 1-degree temperature break(hard edge) at 85-86 F can hold plankton and baitfish in the area, making it a popular feeding ground for both baitfish and Florida Keys dolphin known as convergence zones.

These zones are dynamic regions where different water masses collide, interact, and shape a unique environment for marine life to thrive. To understand this captivating concept, imagine two massive conveyor belts running in opposite directions, each carrying distinct water properties.

The Creation of Convergence Zones

Underwater convergence zones come into existence when ocean currents with different temperatures, salinities, and densities converge. These currents, driven by various factors like wind patterns, tides, and Earth’s rotation, carry water masses from different regions and depths. As these water masses meet, they create boundaries where their characteristics mingle, leading to the formation of convergence zones.

Interplay of Water Masses

Similar to how two rivers merge, the meeting of water masses in convergence zones causes intricate interactions. Think of it as a dance between warm and cold water, with each performing its unique moves. Warm water tends to rise, while cold water sinks. This vertical mixing results in a complex layering effect, influencing the distribution of nutrients, oxygen levels, and temperature gradients within the zone.

Impact on Marine Life

Convergence zones play a crucial role in shaping the ecology of the marine realm. Their dynamic nature provides a rich tapestry of resources, affecting the feeding and breeding behaviors of many marine species. Nutrient-rich waters from deeper layers are often brought up to the surface, fueling the growth of microscopic phytoplankton. This abundance then cascades up the food chain, attracting larger organisms like zooplankton, fish, and even marine mammals.

Visualizing the Impact

Imagine a grand banquet where the convergence zone acts as the central buffet table. Phytoplankton, like delicate appetizers, float near the surface, soaking up sunlight and nutrients. Zooplankton, the main course, feast on this abundant feast, attracting a myriad of fish, resembling eager diners enjoying the bounty. Predators, the apex of this underwater gastronomy, patrol the edges of the convergence zone, ready to pounce on unsuspecting prey.  To locate these Florida Keys convergence zone areas, look for sudden changes in water temperature on the SATFISH SST Charts, which indicate a temperature break.

Additionally, keep an eye out for color breaks where clean offshore water meets the coastal shelf and canyon edges, and refer to the SATFISH bathymetry charts for assistance.

These areas will have a unique blue color that contrasts with the surrounding waters. By using SatFish high-def SST, watercolor, and bathymetry layers, you can identify areas where Florida Keys dolphin and wahoo will likely be found. Look for sites where the temperature and color breaks overlap with the top of the drop-off for steep walls and canyons. These areas are ideal for finding wahoo, dolphin, and marlin in the Florida Keys during

Florida Keys Dolphin Fishing Spots

Temperature Breaks-Florida Keys Fishing Spots

 

Temperature breaks(edges either soft or hard) are areas where there is a distinct change in water temperature. These breaks serve as boundaries that separate different habitats and can significantly influence fish behavior. Temperature anomalies refer to abnormal variations in water temperature on either side of a fish break. These anomalies can occur due to natural processes such as upwellings, thermoclines, or weather events like cold fronts or heatwaves. The impact of temperature anomalies on fish behavior is complex and can vary depending on the species involved.

Find the Sargassum Weedlines with SATFISH 

To find the best Florida Keys fishing spots for tuna and dolphin, it’s important to understand their migration patterns and the ocean currents in the area. One strategy is to use the SATFISH Offshore service to identify specific areas where these fish are likely to be present. By combining knowledge of currents with the interpretation of SST charts, you can locate feeding grounds for baitfish and larger predatory fish.

SATFISH Offshore

Florida Keys Offshore Temperature Breaks-SATFISH SST Charts

 

If you’re seeking a method to locate sargassum weed lines in the Florida Keys, a reliable technique is to use SST services to identify temperature breaks(edges). These weed lines are usually found where warm and cool water masses converge. SST charts are an invaluable tool for fishermen looking to pinpoint these areas and improve their chances of finding sargassum mats. When combined with other information such as ocean currents and sargassum mat indicators, SST data can help Florida Keys fishermen have a more successful dolphin fishing trip

Key Largo Current

Gulf Stream Current Location off the Florida Keys-SATFISH

Subtle vs. Hard Edge Rips

If you’re looking to catch Mahi Mahi offshore, it’s important to take advantage of temperature anomalies to increase your chances of success. Mahi Mahi are highly migratory and are known to follow temperature breaks to optimize feeding opportunities and locate prey.

For instance, Florida Keys Mahi Mahi known to gather around areas where warm and cold-water masses collide, as this creates a rich and diverse ecosystem that supports their prey. These anomalies can create areas where Mahi Mahi are more likely to be concentrated due to increased productivity, food availability, or better spawning conditions.

Using SATFISH to locate the edge of the Gulf Stream can be a great starting point for finding Mahi Mahi, as these fish often congregate where warm and cold-water masses meet. By utilizing this strategy, you can improve your chances of a successful fishing trip and potentially catch more Mahi Mahi.Take a look at the GPS screenshot from July 14, 2023!

Florida Keys Fishing Spots

 

That morning, I discovered a “hard edge” rip temperature break on SATFISH Offshore and inputted the coordinates into my boat’s GPS. We headed straight to the location and within three hours of leaving the dock, caught a limit of dolphin, including a 30 pound bull dolphin! When fishing for Mahi Mahi offshore, it’s crucial to understand their behavior when encountering temperature break anomalies.

How to Troll Areas Along the Weedline

By aligning my boat movement with the counterclockwise current of the Gulf Stream, I do my best to imitate the natural behavior of baitfish and other marine life (like krill, filefish, trigger fish, flying fish and crabs) that move with these currents. This can be particularly effective for attracting species like mahi mahi and wahoo. Plus, by following the weedlines, I am likely to end up at the tip of a finger or in a backflow eddy – both of which are highly productive. I will discuss these areas more further below.

If trolling along the rip doesn’t yield results I am looking for, I then pivot my focus to the center of the weedline. By continuing to follow the currents (moving south when west of the center and north when east), I am still mimicking the natural movement patterns within the feature. This will typically leads me to areas where fish are more likely to congregate.

Rips are visible disturbances on the water’s surface that appear as long, narrow bands of calm water bracketed on either side by rough water. Rips form at or near temperature boundaries. These boundaries are called soft edges when the change across them is only .5°F to 1°F, and hard edges when the change is 1.5°F to 4°F(or more) .  The rough water at hard edge rips is more pronounced than that at soft edges.

Mahi Mahi may either avoid or be attracted to different temperatures depending on the species and their preferences. For instance, during a heatwave, they may seek out cooler water near upwelling zones or move along the sargassum weedline to find more favorable temperatures and baitfish. To increase your chances of finding Mahi Mahi, it’s highly recommended that anglers use SATFISH SST charts to locate temperature breaks offshore. In the summer months, cold water temperature breaks may be more attractive to Mahi Mahi, while warm water temperature breaks may be more effective in the winter months. By utilizing these charts to narrow down your search areas, you can significantly improve your fishing success and catch more mahi mahi and wahoo.  Always consult SATFISH SST charts for real-time information on temperature breaks when targeting Mahi Mahi in different seasons.

Temperature boundaries, especially the hard edge rips like the ones we see in the early spring and late summer months in the Florida Keys , can act as a “wall” when the temperature on one side falls within a game fish’s comfort range and that on the other side does not. Wahoo and mahi mahi mahi  will tend to move along the these hard edges when they encounter them instead of crossing them.

Bathymetry Layer Maps-Locate Drop-offs and Ledges

Use SATFISH SST char water color/temperatures chart feature along with its bathymetric map optimal fishing zones for wahoo, dolphin and tuna.  When fishing for wahoo, dolphin, tuna, and marlin, it’s important to know where they like to cruise. By using the SATFISH bathymetry combined with a Standard Mapping 3-D Relief image technology you can help you locate areas where these fish tend to hang out.

The integration of Standard Mapping 3-D relief bathymetry data with SATFISH satellite-derived sea surface temperature (SST) and chlorophyll measurements is an advanced technique used by offshore fishermen to locate prime fishing spots. Bathymetry reveals the underwater terrain, which is crucial for understanding the seabed topography that influences water currents and, consequently, wahoo behavior.

A substantial temperature break on SST charts can signal the meeting point of different water masses—each with distinct temperatures that can trap and accumulate nutrients leading to areas rich with baitfish. These breaks are visually identifiable where the color of the water changes, often detected by satellite imagery. SATFISH chlorophyll data adds another layer of information, indicating concentrations of phytoplankton, which serve as a fundamental food source in marine ecosystems.

When these factors—sharp temperature gradients, chlorophyll concentration, and distinctive bathymetric features like ledges, wrecks, or seamounts—converge, they create an environment highly favorable for marine life.  Wahoo are often drawn to these areas due to the increased presence of baitfish, making them excellent targets for offshore fishing expeditions.

Such a multi-layer approach that combines various datasets allows anglers to make informed decisions, enhance their fishing strategies, and ultimately maximize their efficiency and success during fishing trips.

Look for drop-offs in 60-1200 feet or more, paying attention to steep walls, canyons, or gentler slopes along the 60-600 feet depth contours. This feature is also helpful when looking for deep-water fishing spots for golden tilefish, queen snappers and snowy grouper.

The Marathon Hump is considered one the best fishing spots in the Florida Keys for queen snappers and snowy groupers.

Marathon Hump

Collecting and analyzing bathymetry data is essential for understanding the physical structure of any marine ecosystems and identifying ideal fishing grounds. By understanding the preferred habitats of different marine species, such as their feeding areas and migration routes, we can locate productive fishing locations.

Combining bathymetry data from Standard Maps with sea surface temperature and chlorophyll data can help identify areas where physical structure changes, depth, and upwelling create ideal conditions for plankton growth, attracting baitfish, and subsequently larger predatory fish.

Take the time and study bathymetry data in conjunction with SATFISH SST and chlorophyll data. By doing this you can pinpoint these productive locations and optimize your time on water. When you find a substantial temperature break that coincides with a visible color change in the water—you may have found a transition from nutrient(baitfish food)-poor to nutrient(baitfish food)-rich area—and  if it aligns with unique underwater topography or bathymetry like a steep ledge, wreck or offshore seamount you maybe on the way to an epic day of offshore fishing.

Mahi Mahi Migrations and SATFISH

To effectively locate wahoo and dolphin in your targeted area, it’s important to be familiar with their typical migration patterns. By combining this knowledge with SST charts, you can anticipate where these fish will be at different times of the year.  Learn about the mahi mahi migration through the Florida Keys by clicking here

How to Catch Mahi Mahi

Track Your Location on the Mobile App

Once you have identified the areas where Florida Keys dolphin is likely to be found, track your location on the mobile app to stay along the breaks and contours. This will help you stay in the ideal temperature and color range and increase your chances of a successful catch. 

Additional Tips and Tricks For Finding Mahi Mahi Offshore Using SATFISH SST Charts

When planning an offshore fishing trip in Florida Keys, it’s essential to be prepared and adaptable to the ever-changing elements and variables that come with offshore fishing.  Keep yourself updated with the latest information on currents, water masses, breaks, and chlorophyll concentrations in the Florida Keys using SATFISH.  Regularly check SATFISH SST charts and chlorophyll charts to understand the current conditions and identify potential productive fishing spots.  Ensure that you have the necessary tools and equipment to access real-time data and charts. This may include a reliable internet connection, a navigation system with GPS capabilities, and devices to access SATFISH SST and SATFISH Chlorophyll Charts.

Familiarize yourself with interpreting SATFISH SST and SATFISH Chlorophyll Charts. Understand how temperature gradients, currents, and nutrient-rich areas correlate with fish behavior and movement.

Use SATFISH for locating weed mats in the Gulf Stream. The high-definition SATFISH SST charts can help anglers identify areas where the water temperature is optimal for species like tuna, as fish are often found near these mats. Anglers should look for temperature breaks or edges where there is a sudden change in water temperature, as these areas can be conducive to the formation of weed lines and weed mats in the Gulf Stream. Below is an image of SATFISH, the circled images are weed mats floating in the Gulf Stream in depths 750-950 ft of water off the Florida Keys.

This knowledge will help you pinpoint the most promising fishing spots. Each day, assess the Florida Keys current conditions and compare them to the historical trends and patterns you’ve observed. Consider factors such as water temperature, currents, wind direction, and any recent changes in the area. Based on this assessment, make informed decisions about which spots to visit and when.
Find these small pockets of cooler water in the hot summer months over productive fishing spots.
As a general rule of thumb, when using SATFISH SST charts, looking for areas with significant and abrupt temperature differences is beneficial. These temperature breaks can attract fish and create opportunities for successful fishing trips. Here are some tips for locating dolphin and wahoo in the Florida Keys using SATFISH based on temperature differences:
  • Identify Temperature BreaksKeep an eye out for areas where water temperatures rapidly change. These temperature breaks can occur where warm and cold currents meet or near underwater structures.
  • Look for AnomaliesOnce you’ve identified a temperature break, search for anomalies within the temperature break. These anomalies can appear as fingers or bulges extending from the leading temperature break. Focus your fishing efforts in these areas, as they often concentrate on fish activity and increase your chances of hooking a catch. 
  • Consider Physical StructuresTemperature breaks that interact with physical structures, such as canyons or the edge of the continental shelf, can be particularly productive fishing spots. Fish are attracted to these areas because they provide additional cover, food sources, and current dynamics. Target these intersections for potential success.

In addition to using SatFish high-def SST, watercolor, and bathymetry layers, there are other tips and tricks to catch summertime wahoo, tuna, dolphin, and marlin. These include targeting floating structures like isolated sargasso mats, sargassum weed lines, logs, and other pieces of debris that act as fish aggregation devices (FADs). Dolphin is often found around these structures like East, West, 409, and the Islamorada offshore humps because they attract baitfish and other prey species. 

The Secret to Finding Weedlines using SATFISH

SST Charts Explained

Florida Keys SST Chart

One of these features is the formation of weedlines, which are often associated with thermal fronts.

Thermal Front

A thermal front in oceanography is a boundary that separates two masses of water with different temperatures. These fronts are often associated with changes in water density, nutrient availability, and biological productivity. Thermal fronts can occur at various scales. They can be temporary, such as those caused by daily heating and cooling, or persistent, like those found in the major ocean currents. These fronts often aggregate plankton and other small organisms, leading to higher concentrations of larger predators such as fish and seabirds. These fronts are fishing hot spots for wahoo.

Interestingly, sargassum and debris(logs, buckets pallets) tends to concentrate on the cooler side of a rip. This is likely due to near shore coastal water being rich in nutrients and having a lower salinity level than Gulf Stream water. The abundance of nutrients on the nearshore side of the thermal front(rip) serves as a food source for plankton. The higher salinity level in Gulf Stream water makes this water denser, creating a barrier that floating plankton cannot cross.

The Sargassum seaweed, often forming what we all refer too as weedlines, plays a crucial role in supporting a diverse range of marine life, including microbes and krill. These weedlines can act as a kind of floating reef, providing shelter and food for a variety of organisms.

The krill, which are a type of small crustacean and not a microbe, feed on the microscopic plants and animals (including microbes) found within the sargassum.  As they feed, they may cloud the water, making it difficult for sight-oriented predators like marlin and tuna to spot their prey.

However, these predators seem to have adapted to this environment. They generally stay on the warmer side of thermal breaks or “rips” (areas where two bodies of water with different temperatures meet), possibly because their prey tends to congregate there. This behavior suggests that these predators like the wahoo and mahi mahi have developed hunting strategies to take advantage of the distribution of prey along these weedlines.

Thermal fronts occur when there’s a distinct change or break in sea surface temperatures. These temperature breaks can be identified using SATFISH prior to leaving the dock.  When there’s a tight temperature range, these breaks become more defined. These areas are where the sargassum weedlines will form. Weedlines, collections of floating seaweed and sea trash(logs/pallets) will set up along these thermal fronts. They provide an ecosystem for a wide variety of marine life, including game fish species. This makes them prime fishing spots for anglers looking to catch mahi mahi in the Florida Keys.

how to catch dolphin

The reason behind this is that smaller organisms seek shelter amongst the floating seaweed, attracting larger predator fish. The humps offshore of the Florida Keys are considered the best Florida Keys fishing spots for tuna, dolphin, wahoo, and marlin. Using Standard Mapping Combined with SATFISH you can get dialed in quickly.

Fishing the “Pointy Fingers” on SST Charts

As you dig into the SATFISH charts especially during the cooler months along the east of Florida you will see defined temperature break “fingers”. These are narrow, elongated extensions of warm water that move from the edge of the Gulf Stream towards the west. According to research conducted at the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, these fingers can be seen as smaller counterparts to the Gulf Stream, with some even referring to them as the Gulf Stream’s “little fingers”

These fingers are connected to the Gulf Stream at their northern end, which continuously feeds warm water into them. This connection ensures a constant supply of nice warm water, helping maintain the temperature and current direction within the “finger”. Below is an image from my logbook showing the Gulf Stream “little fingers” from SATFISH.

The movement of these fingers aligns with the northward flow of the Gulf Stream. The speed at which a “finger” moves depends on multiple enviormental factors including its size and its distance from the edge of the Gulf Stream. On average, it’s estimated that a finger moves about ½ degree latitude in 24 hours.

A distinctive feature of these fingers is the counterclockwise movement of currents around their edge, they will cause reverse south currents.  This essentially means that the current at the western edge of a finger is might be moving south.  Warm-core rings in the Gulf Stream that exhibit similar characteristics.

For anglers looking to improve their fishing success, especially when trying to locate weed mats in the Gulf Stream or similar areas, it’s important to focus on temperature ranges. A tighter temperature range can indicate more defined frontal temperature breaks as shown in the image above. These breaks are key areas where weed lines typically form due to converging currents that trap floating debris and sargassum, creating a habitat rich with smaller fish and bait, which in turn attract larger predatory fish.

Understanding the dynamics of the Gulf Steam is crucial for predicting fish migrations and movements through the year. Stuyding SATFISH on daily basis puts you in-touch with what the ocean is doing on daily basis.

 

standard mapping

Florida Fishing Maps-Altimetry Charts

Altimetry measures the height of the sea surface, which is important for understanding the ocean. Just like planet earth, the sea’s surface isn’t flat – it goes up and down based on the temperature of the ocean water. Yes, I am science nut, but the only time I use my B.S. degree in Biology with an emphasis in zoology is when I fish.  Cold water is denser and sinks, causing a dip in the sea level. In contrast, warm water is lighter and makes the sea level rise.

How to Read Altimetry Charts

First, I am by far no expert on altimetry charts, I just use my time wisely. So rather than scroll on Instagram watching strange fishing experiences, I study SATFISH charts in my free time, it’s a hobby that’s educational and helps me catch more fish.  Altimetry charts provide a visual representation of the sea surface height relative to the average ocean level, which is mapped using isobars. Let’s take moment, breath and consume some science stuff. Living the tropics, you natural become an isobar expert overtime. Weather is life. These isobars are lines that connect points of equal sea surface height as seen below in the SATFISH image.

  • Become the Isobars Reader: Each isobar on the chart represents a certain sea surface height. Normally, each isobar line indicates a 2-inch difference in height. Look for the tiny differences, like those I highlighted in the images below for the Florida Keys.
  • Be the Hero and Find that Upwelling and Downwelling: Look for patterns of closely spaced isobars that indicate changes in sea surface height. Areas where the isobars indicate lower than average sea levels often correspond to upwelling currents, where cold, nutrient-rich water rises to the surface, providing ideal conditions for plankton and, hence, fish. Conversely, areas with higher than average sea levels are often associated with downwelling currents, where the water is warmer and has fewer nutrients.
  • Locate Isobar Depressions Like the Legends Did before You. : Areas depicted as depressions (curving inward toward a lower value center) are indicative of upwelling zones. These are typically regions where you will find wahoo and dolphin because this where the bait fish will more than likely hanging out.
  • Observe the Latitude Lines Jimmy Buffet: Each horizontal line of latitude on the chart represents 60 nautical miles. Keep this scale in mind when gauging the distance across the surface features shown in the altimetry data. Would not get caught in this, I just focus on the color changes and look for isobar depressions.
  • Look for Color Gradations: The SATFISHaltimetry charts may use color to distinguish different heights of the ocean surface. Cooler colors (blues and greens) typically represent lower sea levels (upwelling areas), while warmer colors (shades of reds and  and somewhat yellows) represent higher sea levels (downwelling areas). Take a close look at the image below.
  • Assess Isobar Spacing: Closely packed isobars suggest strong currents and potentially rapidly changing conditions, while widely spaced isobars indicate calmer waters. Just some to be aware of.
  • Combine with Other Data and Finish Your Story: You must combine the results so you can put together the fishing finding puzzle, combine SATFISH altimetry data with SATFISH sea surface temperature (SST) charts and SATFISH chlorophyll charts. This is the approach I highly recommend you take to finding fish offshore if you wish to get better and catch fish consistently.

The SATFISH Altimetry data gives me super power insights into what’s happening on the ocean surface, particularly in relation to the topography of the ocean floor where I plan on going fishing the Florida Keys. This means it helps me understand how underwater humps and ledges influence ocean movement above.

Altimetry data gives us important insights into what’s happening on the sea surface, particularly in relation to the topography of the ocean floor. This means it helps us understand how underwater mountains and valleys influence ocean movement above them.

Geostrophic Currents and Altimetry 

Keep in mind as you study SATFISH SST Offshore Maps,  altimetry doesn’t directly measure the effects that wind has on water surfaces. Still, it does provide us with information about geostrophic currents. These geostrophic currents are movements of ocean water caused by the balance between gravity and the planet earth’s rotation. They’re significant because they can show us areas of high oceanic activity where wahoo and mahi mahi are likely to be.

Many species of fish, including flying fishing sardines, bullet size bonitos, tuna, and swordfish, tend to follow these currents for a few reasons:

  • Food Supply: Geostrophic currents often bring nutrients from the deep to the surface, which boosts the growth of plankton. This attracts small baitfish, which in turn attracts large wahoo, swordfish and mahi mahi.
  • Migration Routes: Many of these species migrate long distances and use these currents to help them move more efficiently, conserving their energy as they travel. Study SATFISH everyday so that you can get a better understanding of how these migration patterns correlate to the geostrophic ocean currents.
  • Temperature Regulation: Different species prefer different temperature ranges. Geostrophic currents can create boundaries between warm and cold water masses, which these fish might use to find their preferred place to set up camp and eat.
  • Commercial fisherman: Are successful because they use altimetry data to locate geostrophic currents and identify potential areas where fish may be found. Knowing where these currents are can help predict the route schools of mahi mahi might take. I suggest using SATFISH to do the same.
Florida Fishing Maps

Florida Keys Dolphin Fishing Map

 

I recommend studying the SATFISH altimetry everyday, even if you are not fishing.   Prior to going dolphin fishing offshore Dolphin I use the SATFISH altimetry for the Florida Keys. I am looking for change in sea surface height, an area known as a ” Thermal Front.”  I will go into detail about “Thermal Fronts” future below. Wahoo and dolphin(mahi mahi) are like structure, whether natural or man-made. This includes weed lines, floating debris, or any sort of sea trash, seamount, ledge, or wreck.

When using Standard Maps data combined with the SATFISH bathymetry Florida East Coast map sometimes  ” sea trash lines” or “floating structures” routes can be correlated with SATFISH altimetry data, as currents and winds that affect sea surface height can also concentrate debris. Altimetry is the fishing secret, especially when looking for dolphin offshore in the Florida Keys.

Using SATFISH to find Backflows and Eddies

Backflows are fingers of warm water from the Gulf Stream that have become “stuck” and stopped moving north. Love me a nice back flow eddy day as it means easy living fishing. The Marathon Hump is one the best areas to find backflow eddys. The Gulf Stream current will collide with the Marathon Hump creating a backflow eddy. The longer the eddy stays in place the better the fishing can be be as it has time to build baitfish food (nutrients). Backflows eddys that move counter clockwise can build and say in place for several days, sometimes growing and stretching farther south.

Like fingers, the currents in backflows move counterclockwise around the edge, meaning the current at the western edge of a backflow is moving south.

Eddies are a common feature in oceanic systems. They are swirling masses of water that move differently from the surrounding water.

Backflow Eddies In the Florida Keys-Study the Movements Using SATFISH

The Tortugas Eddies are well-known oceanographic features in the Gulf of Mexico. They are backflow eddies that form to the west of the Florida Straits, near the Dry Tortugas Islands. These eddies are part of the larger Gulf Stream system, which carries warm water from the Gulf of Mexico around the tip of Florida and up the U.S. east coast.

Learn more about how the Tortugas Eddies here:

https://coastalmodeling.earth.miami.edu/research-projects/florida-keys/tortugas-eddy/index.html

The formation of these eddies is thought to be due to the interaction between the strong Gulf Stream current and the topography of the seafloor near the Florida Straits. As the Gulf Stream flows through the Straits, it is squeezed between the Florida Peninsula and the Bahamas, which can cause the current to meander and form eddies.

When you learn how to track Tortugas Eddies moving into the lower and upper Florida Keys you will become a master of predicting fish migrations into the Keys. Below is an image from SATFISH of the an eddy moving into the lower Florida Keys

SST Charts

Everything you need to know about how an object moves within an eddy can be found in this article: Caribbean Current and eddies as observed bysurface drifters

The interaction between the Gulf Stream current and the unique topography of the seafloor near the Florida Straits contributes to the formation of these eddies. As the Gulf Stream gets squeezed between the Florida Peninsula and the Bahamas, it can cause the current to bend and create these eddies.

The SATFISH current module is an excellent tool for studying the movement of these eddies into the Florida Straits. It provides real-time oceanographic data, including sea surface temperature, chlorophyll concentration, and ocean currents, which can help in understanding and predicting the behavior of these eddies. By analyzing this data, anglers can identify the best fishing spots and times, increasing their chances of a successful catch.

SATFISH SST Charts Florida Keys

 The warm, nutrient-rich waters of the Tortugas Eddies can attract a variety of fish species, making them good places to target wahoo and dolphin.

  • Warm Eddies:Warm eddies are pockets of warm water surrounded by colder water. They form when a portion of a finger becomes separated from the Gulf Stream. Warm eddies tend to be round, and the warm water in them circulates counterclockwise at 1 to 2 knots. The warmest and deepest parts of these eddies are usually at their edges.
  • Cold Eddies:Conversely, cold eddies are pockets of cold water surrounded by warmer water. They are deepest and coldest at their centers. Cold eddies can form in various ways, including when cold, nutrient-rich water upwells from the deep ocean or when warm surface water is pushed away by winds or currents.

These offshore Florida Keys humps are also considered the best deep drop fishing spots targeting queen snappers, snowy groupers, yellow eye snappers, and vermilion snappers. Make sure to check out are previous blogs on dolphin fishing

I’ve found that it’s essential to remain cautious of misinformation when analyzing SST charts. To obtain the most accurate information regarding water temperatures, it’s best to examine a satellite shot captured during the late evening or early morning, specifically between 10:00 PM and 10:00 AM, before the sun has had a chance to heat up the surface water.  I’ve come to learn that a SST information at 4:08 PM the day before a fishing trip may not be the most reliable tool for planning a fishing trip next day, but what it does do if give me idea of how the current is moving sargassum weed.

 

Key Largo Fishing Spots

Learn How to Catch Deep Water Queen Snappers by Clicking Here

The Best Cloud-Free Sea Surface Temperature Chart For Wahoo Fishing

Even through clouds, sea surface temperatures are measured thanks to the latest satellite technology. However, the resolution of such measurements is lower than our high-resolution SST images. To address this issue, SATFISH has developed the Best Cloud Free Sea Surface Temperature Chart, combining high-resolution SST data with standard cloud-free SST observations. They allow SATFISH to produce cloud-free SST images of the highest resolution possible. Using the latest satellite technology, SATFISH can now see the surface temperature under the clouds. Use the SATFISH Cloud Free SST maps to put you in the zone for catching wahoo this winter, even when the weather isn’t cooperating. 

Catch more wahoo

SATFISH Cloud Free SST Charts

During the wahoo fishing season, I use the Cloud-Free Sea Surface Temperature images daily as they can be very helpful in locating clean water with ideal ocean temperatures to hold pelagic fish, even during periods of overcast and poor weather.

Finding the right water conditions and structure is vital when fishing for wahoo. Here’s why:

  1. Water Temperature: Wahoo prefer warmer waters, typically between 72 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.  Using SATFISH and Standard Mapping charts can help you locate these preferred areas.
  2. Currents and Fronts: Wahoo are often found in areas where different water currents meet, creating what is known as a thermal front. These are often associated with changes in water temperature and nutrient availability, which can attract baitfish and, in turn, predatory fish like wahoo.
  3. Structure: Wahoo are structure-oriented fish, meaning they often congregate around underwater features like reefs, seamounts, and drop-offs.  They also tend to follow lines of floating seaweed and other debris, which can provide cover for smaller fish that wahoo prey on. Below is the the image of the Thunderbolt Wreck off Marathon, Florida. It is one the best wahoo fishing spots in the Florida Keys. Find wahoo fishing structure using Standard Mapping.
  4. Upwellings/High Profile Wrecks:  Upwellings created by wrecks are good fishing spots for wahoo.  When ocean currents encounter an obstacle such as a shipwreck like the Duane Wreck off of Key Largo, Florida , it can result in a phenomenon known as upwelling. An upwelling is the process by which deep, cold water rises towards the surface. This can happen when water currents are deflected by the underwater structure (like a wreck), forcing the colder, nutrient-rich water from the depths to rise to the surface. This upwelled water brings with it nutrients that stimulate the growth of phytoplankton (microscopic plants), which forms the basis of the marine food web. As a result, areas around shipwrecks often become hotspots for marine biodiversity, attracting big wahoo.

ThunderBolt Fishing Spot Marathon, Florida

Clarity: Clear, blue water is typically preferred by wahoo, likely because it makes it easier for them to spot and catch their prey.

SATFISH Wind Directional Monitoring 

One of the key elements of SATFISH is that monitors is wind direction and speed, which can indeed impact water movement and temperature breaks.

When wind blows across the surface of the ocean, it creates friction that can lead to the movement of water in the direction of the wind, a process known as wind-driven current or Ekman transport. This can push warmer surface waters towards or away from a ledge, creating a temperature break where cooler, deeper waters are forced upward to replace the displaced warm water.

Using SATFISH’s wind function, I can potentially predict these temperature breaks by monitoring for changes in wind patterns. However, remember that this is a complex process influenced by many other factors too, such as the shape and depth of the ocean floor, tidal forces, and temperature differences between layers of water. Therefore, while SATFISH can provide valuable data, it may not always be able to accurately predict temperature breaks solely based on wind data.

Wind plays a significant role in causing temperature breaks in the ocean. Here’s how:

  • Wind-Induced Currents: Wind can cause water to move, creating currents. These currents can redistribute water, altering vertical temperature structures.
  • Wind-Induced Weedlines: A wind-induced weedline is a formation of floating grass or sargassum, that are pushed together by the force of the wind.
  • Wind Mixing: Wind increases velocity shear, leading to enhanced turbulent mixing. This can mix cooler water from below with warmer surface water, leading to a drop in surface water temperature
  • Heat Exchange: The exchange of heat between the ocean and the atmosphere modifies the wind field, which can influence water temperature.
  • Energy Transfer: As energy is transferred from the wind to the ocean, the surface becomes rougher and more ‘stretched,’ allowing more of the surface to be in contact with the wind. This can enhance the mixing of water at different temperatures.
  • Wind Direction: The direction from which the wind blows can also affect water temperature. For example, winds blowing from cooler areas can reduce water temperature.
  • El Niño and La Niña Events: These are examples of large-scale phenomena influenced by wind that can cause major temperature breaks in the ocean. During El Niño, trade winds weaken, pushing warm water eastward, while during La Niña, trade winds strengthen, pushing warm water westward.
  • Wind Speed and Sea Surface Temperatures: Surface wind speeds are closely linked to sea surface temperatures, as reduced wind speeds can lead to a reduction in the mixing of surface water, potentially increasing surface temperatures.
  • Seasonal Thermoclines: These are layers in the water where the temperature changes rapidly with depth. Wind and mixing can disrupt these layers, leading to temperature breaks.
  • Remember, while wind is a key factor, other elements like sunlight, ocean currents, and geographical location can also influence ocean temperatures.

 

SATFISH Discount for Good Karma Sportfishing Followers

SatFish Offshore offers a 30-day free trial for new users. To use this offer, visit their website and create a free account. You must provide essential information to create your account, such as your name, email address, and location.

Receive $20.00 off your first year of SATFISH by entering the code: GOODKARMA at checkout.

Once you have created your account, you can download the SatFish app on iOS or Android to plan your offshore fishing trips. During the 30-day free trial period, you can access all of the app’s features, including high-definition satellite imagery, real-time sea surface temperature data, and advanced planning tools. If you decide to continue using the app after the free trial period ends, you will be charged the regular subscription fee.

Conclusion 

In conclusion, using SatFish high-def SST, watercolor, and bathymetry layers can help you locate areas where temperature breaks overlap with color breaks and drop-offs in the Florida Keys. Remember to track your location on the SATFISH mobile app.

Good Karma Sportfishing fishing club members, benefit significantly from learning more about SST charts each month. Each month we discuss the SATFISH SST charts and how to use them effectively; members can gain valuable knowledge and insights that can improve their fishing skills. If you want to join the Good Karma Sportfishing Club, contact me at goodkarmaryan@gmail.com for details.