Summary of what we learnt and experienced on this mind-blowing Fujairah expedition.
Dorado love current and will always be concentrated on the upside of any floating object or ship anchored at sea. They are also partial to the sunny side rather than the shaded side of the vessel or structure. Because they learn very quickly, always try to drag or pull a hooked fish well away from the others as quickly as possible. Once they have wised up to your lure or technique, you either have to change lures, technique or location. Big Bull Dorado are definitely more partial to the bigger lures and tend to hang around on the outside of the main body of smaller fish.
The Dorado’s ability to hunt Garfish, Half Beaks and Flying Fish in particular, make it extremely partial to surface lures, especially the GT Ice Cream Needle Nose. The lighter the lure and the bigger the single hook attached to it, the better it tends to stick. Stingers are definitely by far the most successful hooking system.
The Needle Noses work best in the ¾ to 1½ oz sizes and on the day I would have loved to have had the trusty Rapala X-Walk or Storm Chug Bug as there is no doubt that both of these lures will work very well. I would definitely however rig both with stingers rather than trebles.
The best casting and pulling rod was no doubt the 8’ Shimano Aerocast which throws ½ oz to 2 oz’s best and has incredible pulling power. Also right up there is the 6’6 Shimano Trevala, which although labeled a jigging rod, does a good job of casting these types of lures and is perfectly capable of piling on the required pressure. Lighter outfits like the Shimano Cumera’s with 3000 Stellas are also a great option but not if one wants to release fish.
The ideal reel on the above rods is the 5000 Stella, new Twin Power or Sustain. 30lb and 40lb YGK Jigman braid will complement the reels perfectly. Your leader must be at least 60lb fluoro carbon and only 1.5 metres long. This prevents weakening of the join knot, as it doesn’t go through the guides and the strength of the line stops burn-offs from following fish. A good quality swivel and split ring connection makes for fast changes of lures. This heavy leader combined with a thick but sharp hook on the stinger allows one to grab the leader and then the Needle Nose to help lift when tailing fish.
The most successful retrieval technique is to make a long cast, put the rod tip down low and wind the Needle Nose as fast as possible. This creates a lot of noise and splash, which attracts all the fish in that area. As the plug gets closer, lift the rod tip higher and slow down on the retrieve, giving it a more consistent fluttering action. With X-Walk’s, the sharp “twitch, take up the slack, twitch, walk the dog” action, is best. With the Chug Bug, use long, hard and fast “bloops” with two or three second pauses in between. Never attempt to strike when you see a fish smashing the lure. Maintain your retrieve and wait until the rod goes tight.
The ideal conditions for this type of fishing are a relatively calm sea, with a light wind chop on the surface. This is when the Needle Noses and X-Walk’s will work best. The rougher the conditions, the more sub-surface one would want to go, so definitely more X-Walk or similar lures. Smooth, glassy type conditions call for things like Chug Bugs and very small ¾ oz Needle Noses.