Mahi-mahi

The mahi-mahi or common dolphinfish is a surface-dwelling ray-finned fish found in off-shore temperate, tropical and subtropical waters worldwide. Also known widely as dorado, it is one of only two members of the Coryphaenidae family, the other being the pompano dolphinfish.

Mahi-mahi live 4 to 5 years. Catches average 7 to 13 kilograms (15 to 29 lb). They seldom exceed 15 kilograms (33 lb), and mahi-mahi over 18 kilograms (40 lb) are exceptional.

Mahi-mahi have compressed bodies and long dorsal fins extending nearly the entire length of their bodies. Their caudal fins and anal fins are sharply concave. They are distinguished by dazzling colors: golden on the sides, and bright blues and greens on the sides and back. Large males have high, vertical foreheads, while the female's forehead is rounded. Males grow larger than females. 

The name mahi-mahi means very strong in Hawaiian. They are extremely fast swimmers and feed extensively on flying fish and squid as well as on other small fish. Mahi-mahi are highly sought for sport fishing and commercial purposes. Sport fishermen seek them due to their beauty, size, food quality, and healthy population. Mahi-mahi is popular in many restaurants.

Mahi-mahi can be found in the Caribbean Sea, on the west coast of North and South America, the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic coast of Florida, Southeast Asia, Hawaii and many other places worldwide.

Fishing charters most often look for floating debris and frigatebirds near the edge of the reef in about 120 feet (37 m) of water. Mahi-mahi (and many other fish) often swim near debris such as floating wood, palm trees and fronds, or sargasso weed lines and around fish buoys. Sargasso is floating seaweed that sometimes holds a complete ecosystem from microscopic creatures to seahorses and baitfish. Frigatebirds dive for food accompanying the debris or sargasso. Experienced fishing guides can tell what species are likely around the debris by the birds' behavior.

Thirty- to fifty-pound gear is more than adequate when trolling for mahi-mahi. Fly-casters may especially seek frigatebirds to find big mahi-mahis, and then use a bait-and-switch technique. Ballyhoo or a net full of live sardines tossed into the water can excite the mahi-mahis into a feeding frenzy. Hookless teaser lures can have the same effect. After tossing the teasers or live chum, fishermen throw the fly to the feeding mahi-mahi. Successful fishing methods include trolling surface baits (flying fish, mullet, balao, squid, strip baits) or artificial lures; also live bait fishing or casting.
Once on a line, mahi-mahi are fast, flashy and acrobatic, with beautiful blue, yellow, green and even red dots of color.

Hooked dolphin may leap or tailwalk, darting first in one direction, then another. It is believed that they can reach speeds up to 50 mph (80.5 kph) in short bursts.  If the first dolphin caught is kept in the water, it will usually hold the school, and often others will come near enough to be caught by casting.

Species Information

Scientific Name:Coryphaena hippurus
Environment:Nearshore, Offshore
Ideal Temp:70-80°F (21-26°C)
Technique:Casting, Fly, Trolling
Lure Type:Flies, Plugs, Trolling
World Record:39.46 kg (87 lb 0 oz) Papagallo Gulf , Costa Rica
Other Names:mahi, dolphin, dolphinfish, mahi mahi, dorado, goldmakrele, shiira, lampuga, lampuka, lampuki, rakingo, calitos, maverikos

Latest Mahi-mahi Fishing Reports and Spots

Sept. 12 - 9/13/2021 7:57:00 AM

today we got lots of #mahi and #tuna!! #fearless #fearlessfishing #conch27 (View)


Good Times Even Better Fishing - 9/19/2021 10:11:00 PM

After a couple of day of big swells and high winds the ocean stirred up some meet for our fisherman today! Good amounts of tuna and mahi across (View)


Bobs Bait And Tackle Half Day Charters 9/18/21 - 9/18/2021 10:23:19 AM

Our half day sportsman charters are doing very well. We are catching big red drum still trout blues mackerel and more. Our full day offshore tr (View)


Sept. 8 - 9/9/2021 6:29:00 PM

Today was a good day to catch some #mahi and #blackfin #tuna #fearless #fearlessfishing #charter #conch27 (View)


Fin Filled - 9/16/2021 8:50:00 PM

Black fin tuna yellow fin tuna and mahi were brought in from off shore today with most boats flying release flags. Near shore caught a mix bag (View)


Tom Kelly and Family Mahi Madness - 9/14/2021 6:51:00 PM

Captain Greg and Captain Kenny had the Tom Kelly family out from Saratoga NY for a mahi trip on the 31. Took a long ride and it paid off with th (View)


Don Beshada Tuna Mahi - 9/15/2021 8:33:00 AM

Had Don Beshada back again with a bunch of his wrestling/business buddies Heller Nick Reese and Dave. Some of them had ever experienced offshore (View)


Sunday Fin-day - 9/12/2021 10:34:00 PM

Fishing picked up today offshore! The guys brought back good amounts of yellowfin and mahi. Others had flags flying with releases of sailfish w (View)


Tuna Tales - 9/14/2021 11:19:00 AM

Why do fish sing off key? Because you can't TUNA FISH! Offshore came back in with a catch consisting of black fin tuna yellow fin tuna mahi-mah (View)


Flappin' Flags - 9/14/2021 10:00:00 PM

We had plenty on the dock with the offshore crowds rolling in with yellow and black fin tuna mahi and a good amount of billfish releases. Our n (View)