Art by Ed Luterio

Mahi mahi are in all probability the utmost colorful fish located when trolling the open seas. Scientifically named Coryphaena hippurus, they go by many other names like, Dolphin, Dorado, as well as Goldmakrele. The name Mahi-mahi is Hawaiian for “strong-strong”. Regardless of what you term them, they can be not just one of the best tasting fish in the ocean, but can be one of the most dogged fighters swimming in the tropical waters.

Dolphin fishare easily distinguished for both its actual coloring and its profile. Dolphin have lengthy, compressed physiques with a big forked tail as well as a dorsal fin that extends nearly the entire length of its body. Males possess a tall blunt head, whilst females, and both sexes of the smaller sized species of Dolphin fish, the Pompano Dolphin, Coryphaena equisetis, have a rounded head. Colours are bright and brilliant which range from yellows, greens, to blues. Their underbellies are generally lighter in color, whilst the backs are darker green to hues of deep blue. They may be spattered with dots of blue and green. While free swimming, they may be a lot more restrained, but once excited, they become electric and every fish seems to be different. Fish have been completely witnessed being nearly all blue or even white with blue spots.

Mahi eat aggressively from birth and grow very quickly. They can weigh nearly 3-5 pounds within a span of six months and within a year can reach sizes of three ft and top 20 lbs on the scales. Some can reach 4-5 years of age and weigh in over fifty lbs, but alot don’t live much longer than a year or two since they are a victim of fisherman and larger sized pelagics like Billfish. The current World Record Mahi is 87 lbs and was caught in Costa Rica in 1976. The young feed mainly on crustaceans and larvae of other pelagic fish whilst larger, more mature fish, feed on flying fish, mackerel, triggerfish, and just about anything else floating around sargassum beds. Research has shown that Mahi eat primarily during the day, but have been know to feed at night when the moon can provide the needed light to see its prey. Mating can begin very early when fish are as little as 8 inches. Mahi reproduce often, sustaining this great fishery.

Mahi roam the open tropic and temperate ocean waters (waters 68-86 degrees fahrenheit) looking for food. Smaller sized fish are likely to school together and can be found around any little bit of floating debris or along sargassum beds. Bigger fish turn into lone rangers or even can be found in male-female pairs. They are very fast swimmers and can cover wide areas looking for food. Some scientists believe Mahi can reach speeds of fifty mph in short bursts.

Anglers go for these fish not just for their scrumptious meat, but additionally for their battling ability. Mahi, the moment hooked, are magnificent fighters. The name Mahi-mahi comes from Hawaii meaning to say “Strong-strong.” Tailwalking as well as amazing aerial shows may occur. Fish are known to scream line off of a reel from one direction, only to do an about-face and take the battle in the other direction. They might also employ their wide bodies and very tall dorsal fins to their benefit and dive in for a tug-of-war. They don’t quit battling when in the boat, either. They are well known for flopping around once on the boat, so proceed with extreme caution whenever fishing these amazing fish.


 Dolphin fish travel around almost all tropical and sub-tropical waters over the Planet. Seas ranging in temperature from the higher 60’s to mid 80’s are primary spots for Mahi. Most Mahi are caught as a by-catch if you will whilst anglers are trolling for some other species such as Tuna or Marlin. For anyone wanting to target them, locating any type of floating debris or sargassum is the secret.
Good sized weed patches and flotsam can be home to small baitfish. They gather around these areas for protection. And where there’s bait, the predators are soon enough to follow. Smaller sized Dolphin will school under these kinds of weeds and debris in ambush of these small baits, and as security from their very own predators. Larger fish are known to stay the outskirts of bigger weed beds. With their tremendous bursts of speed, they can easily strike from a distance quickly.


For trying to target mahi around floating debris, it is advised to use bucktails. A spinning rod and reel combo well suited for 20-30 lb fused line is recommended. The optimal rod is 7′ feet long with a rapid to extra-fast action and suitable for managing lure weights up to 1 ounce (although you usually throw lures 50% heavier than the rating). Almost all anglers choose to use 30lb fused line (as opposed to 20 lb fused line) because the slightly increased line girth does not noticeably affect casting distance. We suggest loading the reel with 30 lb fused line as opposed to braided line or mono. Fused and braided lines provide much superior casting distance as compared to mono. The reason being is the much smaller line diameter of fused and braided lines. In addition, the fused and braided lines have virtually no stretch that enables the angler to carefully work even the most difficult lures, sense the softest hits, and very easily set the hook. Fused line is favored to braided line because it possesses better abrasion resistance which is much less likely to form a wind knot.

Recommended Mahi Rig

The line should be fixed with a 3 ft length of 30 to 50 lb fluorocarbon leader utilizing a 50 pound barrel swivel. The small body of the swivel practically eliminates any chance of picking up debris and offers a quick connection place between the line and leader. The angler must be cautious to not reel the swivel into the rod because it can damage the guides. Many anglers use an albright or uni-knot in place of a swivel. This knot is generally challenging to tie properly with braided and fused lines.

Circle hooks are excellent as they improve hook-ups additionally are more beneficial for the fish if you intend to releasing what you can’t eat. Tie your 4/0-7/0 hook to the leader, about 3 to 4 feet of 30 to 60 pound mono or fluorocarbon, and affix to your primary line. You can utilize a Spider Hitch to produce a loop in the other end of the rig to affix to the main line by the use of a snap swivel. Size of hook and leader depend on the size of fish behind your boat. It beneficial to have several rigs made up in advance in varying sizes.

Mahi Tackle Checklist

  • 7 foot rod rated for 20 to30 lb braid and also lure weights of up to 1 oz
  • Spinning reel rated for 20 to 30 lb braided line
  • 20 to 30 poind fused line
  • 30 to 50 pound fluorocarbon leader
  • 50 pound barrel swivel
  • 1/2  to 1.5 ounce bucktails
  • 4/0 to 7/0 Circle Hook 

Mahi or Dorado Fishing Techniques and Tips

Bucktails are universally highly effective for mahi especially whenever fished with a piece of pork rind or if possible soft bait-tails. These could be worked in any condition at a variety of rates of speed. The standard colors are white, yellow, and green, however it is usually a good idea to try to “match the hatch”. Some anglers would rather use lipless swimmers and conventional swimmers.

Evening Secret Fishing


 Trolling, jigging, casting, as well as chunking are all outstanding ways to catch Mahi. Once you locate them, they are going to accept just about any kind of bait presented to them. I’ll discuss the fundamentals of trolling along with some methods for bailing Dolphin. 

Trolling is the ideal method for locating these fish.  Most Mahi are found and caught while looking for  other sport fish, such as Tuna or Marlin.  Whenever  you find a weed patch or debris, spreads can be adjusted to lure in even more and bigger Mahi strikes.

Just like other offshore game fish, you’ll be trolling a spread of rigged ballyhoo and lures. A typical spread to run for Mahi are made from seven lines. Preferable to have medium size Ballyhoo available with a couple of Horse Ballyhoo to weed out the smaller sized Dolphin. Lures selection will include Shooters, a pair of sea witches, a few larger chugger style lures, a couple of daisy chains, a Mini Bar or two, and last but not least a Boone bird. My color choice will be on the more vibrant colors.

Down the middle in the Shotgun positioning will be a Boone Bird with a Horse ballyhoo rigged behind a chugger style lure. Off the Long Riggers, I’ll set rigged mid size ballyhoo behind seawitches or Shooters. The Short Riggers will be either Mini Bars or Conga Line Daisy Chains, again with trailing rigged mid size ballyhoo. The Flat lines will see a smoking chugger lure on one side and another skipping mid size ballyhoo behind a witch or Shooter. Cedar plugs, Boone Marauders, or maybe even naked ballyhoo may be substituted on the Flats. Larger sized lures may well also be run off of the riggers. The larger baits will go through the smaller bailer Dolphin and reap the larger fish. Mahi aren’t choosy eaters. Their voracious feeding habits get the better of them.

As soon as you hook a Mahi, be ready for a great fight, particularly if you’re using light tackle. Dorado around 20 lbs and under will travel in groups of approximately the same size fish. If you hook one, there is certainly bound to be others around. This really is when bailing will come into play. A bailing rig can be as plain as a hook tied to a length of leader and attached to your mainline, possibly by knot or snap swivel. If utilizing lighter leader, a snap swivel is best as Mahi do have small teeth and will chaff a leader fairly quickly. With a school of fish behind the boat at this point in time, quick changes are crucial.

Cut bait, like shrimp and ballyhoo are fantastic baits, however cut false albacore is going to drive them wild. Cut bait into chunks and throw a handful out. Don’t try to feed the fish; just simply get them into a frenzy. Bait your hook with the same bait and drift it back with the chunks. The Mahi will come in schools to feed.  This is also a great technique to get fish out from under a weed patch. You should have some spinning rods rigged with bucktails all set to go as well. One more great lure is a top water plug. Seeing a Mahi crash a bait and sense the hit is intense.

To help keep the dolphin fish around the boat, keep a hooked fish in the water until another gets hooked. The rest of the school becomes excited by the stimulation of one of their buddies being lit up. This gets back to their feeding habits. They observe one fish eating and the competition is on just for them to secure their own feast, causing the frenzied feeding we desire behind our boats. Occasionally if the school has been worked by other boats, obtaining bites is hard work. This is where possessing different varieties of bait to offer will come in handy.

Exclusive Blog Post Bonus: < Click Here to get access to Pro Dolphin Fishing Secrets!>

Other Mahi-mahi Fishing Resources:

Wikipedia Mahi-Mahi – Get more details about the Mahi-mahi fishing.

Saltwater Sportsman – Top 10 Deadly Dolphin Fish Rigs for catching mahi-mahi

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