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Striking Gold : Popular and Colorful Dorados Teeming Off Cabo San Lucas, Offering Fishing That Is Nothing Short of Spectacular

November 30, 1994|PETE THOMAS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

In any case, dolphins have developed quite a following over the years, not only here and off Hawaii, but in sub-tropical and tropical waters around the world.

In Syria they're called "Bakhti Bakhti," in France "Coriphene," in Taiwan "Fei Niau Fu," in North Vietnam "Ca Nucheo" and in Cypress "Dakaunomoutas."

And in every location the fish--unlike the mammal of the same name--should be called "Stupid."

Dolphins, although they prefer the bluest of seas, can't resist floating objects, which makes them vulnerable to commercial and sport fishermen alike.

In Japan, fishermen tie bunches of bamboo and plant them in strategic locations to attract the fish, then circle the area with nets and haul in their catch.

In the Sea of Cortez near La Paz, buoys with lines attached to catch sharks, set up by commercial fishermen, are a regular stop for the sportfishing fleets. A few sardines are thrown near the buoys, the ocean lights up and hookups are almost automatic. When one buoy is fished out, another is targeted.

When Hurricane Kiko battered La Paz and the East Cape region of southern Baja in 1988, thatched roofs, as well as tree trunks and wood from houses, floated around for weeks. Small towns were in ruins, but the dorado fishing was outstanding.

In August, when Cuban refugees were fleeing their country by the hundreds each day on makeshift rafts, Florida's sportfishermen benefited immensely from the presence of the abandoned vessels.

"Fishermen from the Florida Keys to north of Palm Beach reported finding as many as a dozen rafts a day with fish swimming underneath," read an item in the International Game Fish Assn. newsletter. "These anglers said the fishing, especially for dolphins, was the best in years."

When solo sailor Steven Callahan lost his vessel and became adrift in a life-raft for 77 days in the early 1980s, he survived largely because of the dolphins he said stayed beneath his raft the entire time it drifted from the North Atlantic to the Caribbean.

The dorados bumped his raft often, perhaps feeding on the barnacles growing on its underside. With a makeshift spear, he survived on the fish he called "doggies" until he was rescued--weathered, withered and near death.

Dolphins here don't save many lives, although it could be said they help ensure the survival of this booming desert city, which relies on sport fishing to stay afloat.

If nothing else, they keep anglers like the Kaminskis busy while they search for marlin.

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