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Mahi Mahi Fishing: Catching the fish with many names - Dorado/Dolphin Fish

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The Mahi Mahi is the most uniquely colored, game fish which has the capability to fight hard when hooked. Mahi Mahi also referred to as Dorado fish or Dolphin Fish is a powerful saltwater game fish which not just only gives an ultimate challenge to anglers but is also a great table fish used in preparing delicious dishes. You can hardly express the beautiful look of this fighter fish because of its colour changes according to its mood and besides this, one of the most interesting things about this fish is that its bright yellow bodily colour turns dull once the fish is brought into the dock.  

Catching Mahi Mahi is not at all an easy task because you need to be properly prepared with high-end fishing gear in order to handle the aggressive behavior, unique stamina and enormous strength of this fish.

About the Mahi Mahi

The Mahi Mahi (scientific name- Coryphaena hippurus) also referred to as common Dolphinfish or Dorado is a popular game fish among the fishing enthusiasts in different parts of the world. This fish belongs to the Snapper family, and is generally found in sub-tropical and tropical water bodies worldwide. Some of the other common names of Mahi Mahi are dradu, llampuga, raking, dorade coryphène and maverikos.

dorado fish
Dorado are mostly found in Hawai (source)

Appearance, Shape, and Colour

The bodily shape of Mahi Mahi is unique, unlike any fish with a flat forehead, powerful jaws and razor-like teeth which are smaller in shape. This species of fish can be easily distinguished by its dazzling golden colour on the sides and blues green colour on the backside. 

Size and Weight

You can easily distinguish the males from that of females because the female Dorados have rounded head and besides this, the male grow bigger than that of the female.

Mahi Mahi dies at an age of just 5 to 6 years and the length of a Mahi Mahi is about 86 to 135 cm and its average weight is about 7 kilograms to 15 kilograms. These fishes are known to be among the fastest growing fishes and can grow to an exceptional weight of 18 kilograms to 24 kilograms.  

Particular habits

Mahi Mahi are carnivorous and besides this, being voracious eaters they generally feed on forage fish, crab, squid, flying fish, mackerel, baitfish, sabalos or anything that comes in their way. They are highly aggressive in nature and hence, you will certainly have to face lots of challenges while hooking a Dorado.

Besides this, these fish have a peculiar habit of being near the marine debris and hence, it becomes easier for the fishermen to find them.

According to a current research, it has been found that Mahi Mahi can travel in almost all sub-tropical and tropical water and even has the capability to swim more than 8000 miles. 


Mahi Mahi are available in huge numbers and this is certainly one of the major reasons due to which it is highly sought for recreational fishing and even used in the preparation of various types of delicacies in different parts of the world. 

According to a report, it has been found that more 30,000 to 40,000 tons of Dorado fishes are harvested every year in different parts of the world.

Where is it found?

If you are planning for dorado fishing then it will certainly be wise for you to visit the below places they are available in huge numbers-

  • The Pacific coast of Costa Rica
  • In the Caribbean Sea, on west of South and North America
  • The Gulf of Mexico
  • Tahiti
  • Southeast Asia
  • East and West Coast of India- Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean
  • Hawaii
  • The South China Sea
  • The Atlantic coast of Florida and West Africa

Fishing Season and Mating Season

If you want to enjoy Dorado fishing consider visiting the above places during summer and spring months as the Dorado fishes are generally found in huge numbers from the month of April to September.

The peak mating season or spawning season of Mahi Mahi is in the month of April and May which certainly coincides with that of the peak fishing season. 

Tackle Required for Dorado Fishing

  • Make sure to get a Spinning rod with reel combo of at least 7 feet in length.
  • Get the bucktails as it will help you in navigating the loose debris in an easier way. 
  • Ensure to get the braided lines or fused lines to deal with the casting distance in the best possible way. Most of the fishing enthusiasts consider using fused lines because those are highly resistant to wearing out and knotting.
  • Get the hooks because it’s a major Mahi tackle for placing food to entice the fishes in a smart way.
  • Make sure to wear gloves to prevent getting injured by the sharp teeth of Dorado.
  • It will also be wise for you to get a cooler for preserving the fish properly and prevent it from getting damaged by harmful bacteria. 
dorado fishing
Get spinning rod of 7 feet for Dorado fishing (source)

Mahi Mahi Fishing Lures 

Some of the popular mahi-mahi lures and the best bait for mahi-mahi are-

  • Large and Horse Ballyhoo
  • Weedless Ballyhoo 
  • Pitch Bait 
  • Dredges 
  • Live Weed-Line Baits 
  • Flutter-Style Jigs 
  • Small Trolling Lures 
  • Bait Chunks 
  • Chug It 
  • Live Shrimp 

Catching Techniques

  • Trolling

If you are wondering how to fish for mahi mahi then it will certainly be wise for you to gain knowledge about the trolling technique to enjoy dorado fishing. Make sure to look for the debris or floating weed in the water because these are the places where the Dorado fishes prefer hiding from the sunlight.

For best results, ensure to troll along the edge of the weed line in a specific direction and then, again head back to a different direction. While trolling make sure to vary your speed and even look out for the flying fishes because these are places where you will be able to find the Dorado fishes.

  • Bait Fishing

Dorado generally eats fishes and hence, some of the best bait fishes for mahi-mahi are live Pacific Mackerel, live Shrimp and dead Sardines. Even though these fishes have a small mouth but they still have the capability to engulf larger baits at ease. Make sure to attach the dead Sardines to the Kona's of 6 inches to 9 inches and then slowly troll them behind your boat along the debris.

If the current of the water is slow then you can also tie the dead Sardines and live Mackerel with the balloons to keep them floating on the surface of the water (near the weed line).

For the purpose of drifting, you can also use a spinning rod for tossing the dead sardines near the debris or along the weed lines. 

dorado fishing catching technique
Catching techniques (source)

Dorado Fish Rigs

Below are discussed some of the top fishing rigs or set-ups that will help you in catching Dorado fishes in an easier way.

1. If you want to hunt big Dorado fishes then make sure to get a long shank hook and a strong fluorocarbon leader which has the capability to handle the weight of a fish weighing more than 49 to 59 kg. Make sure to attach a large and horse ballyhoo to the shank hook and start trolling in order to catch your favourite Dorado fish in a smart way.  

2. You can also use a 9 kg class spinning outfit that has been equipped with a large or medium size Ballyhoo for hunting Mahi Mahi. Ensure to troll the above set-up slowly along the debris and once a Dorado starts swallowing and gets hooked, it will be wise for you to drag the spinning outfit for hunting your favourite fish.

3. You will certainly be able to hunt Dorado fishes with the help of live shrimp. Make sure to put the live shrimp in a bucket and then place it in the live well of your boat. Once a Dorado fish tempts to engulf the live shrimps, it will be wise for you to consider hooking it with the help of 10 kg class spinning outfit. 

Tips for Mahi Mahi Fishing

  • Make sure always to stay alert while hunting Dorado fishes. Try to listen their sound and act as fast as possible.
  • Never go Dorado fishing alone and hence, take at least 2 more people along with you. Each of you must choose a separate side of the boat while fishing Dorado in order to prevent confusion about who is going to raise the rod for hooking. 
  • Ensure to gaff a Dorado fish with an utmost level of care. It will be wise for you to ask a crew member to open the specific fish hatch in order to make sure that you are able to gaff the fish safely.


The Dorado fishes are bad-tempered and hence, they consider fighting or even coming up out of the water at a high speed so it is highly recommended to take an utmost level of care while fishing them. Besides getting adequate lure, equipment and baits, it will be wise for you to become aware of the techniques to hunt the fish in a smart way.

If you are aware of any other unique set-up or technique to catch Dorado fishes then don’t hesitate in sharing it with us.

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