US East Coast Return Migrants | Dolphinfish Research Program | Mahi-Mahi | Mahi | Dorado | Dolphin | Dolphinfish
mahi mahi, dolphinfish, dolphin, dorado, fisheries, FADs, tag and release
mahi-mahi, mahi, dolphinfish, dolphin, tag and release
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US East Coast Return Migrants

General Movement Patterns: U.S. East Coast Return Migrants

Spring: A Time of U.S East Coast Return Dolphin Migrants

Over the course of the 16 years of the DRP, 42 of 633 recaptures, or 6.6% of the program’s dataset represent fish that were recovered on the same coast where they were released in a year subsequent to when they were tagged.  The majority of these (57%) occurred during spring, with May having the most examples.  Therefore, now is the time when large (not just small) dolphin are running along the U.S. East Coast and the following examples represent clear evidence of this.  Below is a table that lists the dedicated anglers and captains who tagged and released small dolphin and took precious time to report the recoveries.  This list only includes recaptures examined in this article.  Upon release, these fish ranged from 14” to 22” and averaged 18.6”.  Growth ranged from 7” to 40” and averaged 19.7” for an average of 248 days at large.  These examples further highlight the benefit of this international tag and release program.  Each one shows a small peanut dolphin being tagged along the U.S. East Coast only to return several months to a year later as gaffers, and most occur right around this time of the year.  Despite all of these return migrant recoveries, the maximum time at large for a return migrant recorded for the DRP is only 388 days.  During that time, the fish grew 24” and was landed as an approximately 20 pound fish.  When released that fish measured 14” and was likely 3 months old.  Add the release age with the time at large and we get only a 1.3 year-old fish, suggesting that true tackle testing and state record challenging fish in the South Atlantic Bight are those individuals that are likely making their 3rd or even 4th return trip up the U.S. East Coast.  Based on these data, we think that dolphin that weigh in at 70 to 80+ pounds along the U.S. East Coast are making their 3rd or 4th return migration through the Gulf Stream system and are likely greater than 3 years old.  Therefore, one of the most significant recoveries yet to be made for the DRP is a U.S East Coast return migrant at large for more than 550 days.  The ultimate would be a fish at large for 1460 days or 4 years.  Through this tagging program we can obtain those results to advance our knowledge of this amazing species and, along the way, we may find that the eldest dolphin, the century-mark beast, mayactually push closer toward 5 years of age.  Be sure to check out the image below to link to a slideshow at that provides a series of figures describing numerous return migrant examples

Table 1 Tagger and reporter details for fish that were recovered on the same coast where it was

released in a year subsequent to when it was tagged.
Tagging Captain
Tagging Vessel
Reporting Captain
Reporting Vessel
Allen Lewis
Killin Time II
John Biggie Critical Mass
Darryl Williams Killin Time II Brian Mackay Fish on
Haley Izzini Killin Time II Ernie Barnett Just Fishin
Don Gates Killin Time II Jon Birkel nr
Jack Conroy Tiki & Its A Keeper & Dialed In Kyle Wenzel nr
Mike Vogt Killin Time II Ryan Schiedel Grace
Roger Bursey Lightning Rod & Timber & Friendly
Persuasion & Lilly M & Keys Bound
& Captains Choice
Sean Ojejar No Mulligans
John Johnson Killin Time II
Arew Whitfield Catitude
Beau Benson Killin Time II
Mark Bryan nr
Allen Lewis Killin Time II
Jackson Wilson nr
Don Gates
Killin Time II
Kyle Veits Lemieux Charters
Darryl Williams Killin Time II
Becky Broadbent Company Time
Cy Stone Killin Time II Richard Wood Reel Lucky
Kevin Alexander Capt Hurricane Dick Russell Brute Dusky
Dave Wamer Wamjam David Player Sea Rider
Don Gates Killin Time II Todd Borring Connie Marie
Mark Mitchell Mr. LTD & Seawitch Alain Alfonso nr
D. Pettit Keeper Stanton Fish Magic
Theresa Kypke Ts Addiction Richard Moon Another Tangle
John Ouellette Project Boat & Silver Bullet John Ouellette Sweet Ride
Ed Kattel Cool Cat Steven Key No Boundaries
Justin Brown Draggin Dreams Michael Farmer Fire Escape
Michael Stoklosa Mi Vida & Consaltant & In a Meeting Joe Overstreet nr
Rick Thomas Thomas Flyer Donner Intoxication
Randolf Smith Bouncer's Dusky Alex Sturges Patsea VII
Jimbo Thomas Thomas Flyer John Hille nr
Rick Thomas Thomas Flyer Bruce Stiver Prodigy
Rick Thomas Thomas Flyer David Duntz Bahamas Blues
Rick Thomas Thomas Flyer Seth Cook Southern Comfort
Don Laury Jr Pipsqueak Greg Mayer Fishin Frenzy
Steve Wroblewski My Rules II Jerry Craig Blue Goose
Willie Howard Capt Willies Charter Jeff Wright nr
Gary York Mag E III Roy Hales Eye Catcher
Will Cathey Will Power Brown Commercial Longliner

This page is being further developed by Beyond Our Shores, Inc.  Check back soon for more examples of general movement patterns of dolphin.  Click here to donate to the DRP through its official 501(c)(3), the Beyond Our Shores Foundation.

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