Mahi Mahi – Key West Mahi Fishing

Mahi-Mahi, also known as dorado or dolphin are found in warmer tropical waters. They are great fish to eat and are a popular fish for sport fishing because their beauty and abundance. They are sought after in tropical waters all over the world.

About Mahi Mahi

Mahi have very thin bodies with a dorsal fin stretching from head to tail. They have golden-yellow sides and bright blues and greens along their back and sides. They are known for their amazing colors which change rapidly and then quickly fade upon death. Their pectoral fins are a bright blue. They usually only live five years and are typically under 30 pounds. Males have a more prominent forehead and are generally larger than the females.

Mahi live in the open ocean near the surface; they are commonly found around debri,  seaweed and sargassum patches floating in the open ocean. The young especially feed on small fish, shrimp and crabs found living in the sargassum while full grown mahi prey on other larger fish hanging around floating masses. Mahi also feed on flying fish, mackerel, squid and baitfish.  Mahi can be found in such large numbers because they spawn year round each time producing upwards of 80,000 eggs.

IMG_0789Bait and Tackle for Mahi

Although mahi can be caught year round, the best time of year to fish for them is spring and summer (April through August). The best way to spot mahi is to look for floating debri in the water or birds, particularly frigate birds, in the sky: where there are birds there are fish.

Trolling in about 100-150 feet of water is the prefered method for mahi. For bait, fishermen use rigged ballyhoo and then chum when a school is encountered to get the school to hang around and eat. Then fishermen cast into the school in hopes of hooking one. Other trolling lures with teasers and skirts will work too. Medium weight tackle will work fine for mahi. Lines with a 30 to 50 pound test are advisable, though line with a higher test is better for bigger mahi. When a mahi is hooked it doesn’t dive down, rather it puts up an aerobatic surface fight making it a fun fish to catch.

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