12Productive Mahi Mahi (Dolphin) Fishing Tips!
This post will list 12 productive mahi mahi fishing tips. Mahi Mahi are also known as “dolphin”, not to be confused with the mammal. In some parts of the world, they are also known as “dorado”. No matter the name, these are a very popular pelagic saltwater game fish that are found all over the world.
Mahi Mahi grow very fast, they basically swim, eat, and make baby mahi mahi. They only live 4 to 5 years on average. That means a very large mahi mahi is pretty much at the end of it’s life. These game fish are found in tropical and temperate open, deep waters throughout the world.
12 productive mahi mahi fishing tips
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The following 12 productive mahi mahi fishing tips will help anglers catch more of these terrific saltwater game fish. Mahi mahi are beautiful, fight hard, take lures, and are delicious to eat. What more could an angler ask for?
1) Trolling is the top mahi mahi or dolphin fishing technique
Trolling is by far the method used by anglers fishing for mahi mahi or dolphin. Mahi mahi are a pelagic species. This means that they spend their lives in the upper portion of the water column and are constantly on the move. Trolling allows anglers to cover a lot of water quickly in search of fish.
There are several types of lures used when trolling for mahi mahi. Most are skirted type lures which run right on the surface ans put out a stream of bubbles. Anglers troll these lures quite fast, up to ten knots or even more. The action will vary based on the design of the head. Feathers are similar but have a more subtle action. A rigged ballyhoo is often used in conjunction with a lure.
Dolphin will also take more traditional trolling lures. Deep diving plugs and spoons will also catch plenty of mahi mahi when they are around. Some anglers troll constantly while other “run and gun” and put out the lines when fish are found or when a weed line is spotted.
2) Keeping a hooked mahi mahi in the water will keep the school behind the boat
Mahi mahi exhibit an odd behavior, one that allows anglers to catch a lot of fish quickly. A fish that is hooked, but left in the water, will often keep the entire school right behind the boat. A bit of a routine can be done, where once the second fish is hooked, the first can be boated. The third fish is hooked, and second can be landed.
The first fish can be caught trolling or using other methods. However, once they get excited up behind the boat, it is great sport to cast lures such as poppers or jigs as well as floating chunks of cut ballyhoo using fairly light spinning tackle. A little bit of ballyhoo cut into tiny pieces and tossed in as chum will help keep them excited and feeding.
3) Floating structure will attract mahi mahi
The vast majority of the open ocean is empty. Therefore, anything that breaks up the monotony can attract fish. It is a bit like an oasis in the desert. Even the smallest debris can hold an entire school of mahi mahi. This can be a bucket, two by four, or a weed line.
Anglers spotting such an item can troll past it to see if any dolphin are present. This is the approach that larger boats often take. Another strategy, and one that works better in smaller boats, is to ease up to it and cast a lure or but bait towards the floating structure.
4) Weed lines are top spots for catching mahi mahi
If there is one structure or environmental situation that anglers fishing for mahi mahi look for it is a weed line. Weed lines have several advantageous components. As mentioned earlier, mahi mahi love floating cover. Also, weed lines attract bait. Finally, weed lines occur when currents merge, which is another good aspect.
Anglers can troll longer weed lines. Dolphin will dart out and take the lures as they go past. Once a school of fish is located, anglers can continue to troll, use break out the lighter tackle and have fun casting jigs, plugs, or chunks of cut bait. This is one pattern, cruising at speed in search of weed lines, that definitely belongs on the list of 12 productive mahi mahi fishing tips.
5) It is important to be organized when fishing for mahi mahi
If there is one species where fishing occurs in flurries, it is mahi mahi fishing. Anglers can go hours trolling or searching for weed lines with no action, then all at once a school shows up. In order to maximize this opportunity, anglers need to be organized.
Trolling rods, if not already deployed, need to be rigged and ready. Lighter spinning rods with a buck tail jig or popper need to be set up to be cast out on a moments notice. Chunks of ballyhoo should be but and ready, along with smaller pieces for cum. The gaff needs to be handy, but out of the way.
6) A variety of tackle is required for dolphin fishing
Tackle requirements vary greatly when fishing for mahi mahi. Due to the fact that they only live a few years and grow fast, mahi mahi of any size may be encountered. Also, successful anglers use multiple techniques when fishing for dolphin.
Anglers should have 4 outfit for mahi mahi fishing. Two spinning outfits, a 7′ medium rod and reel with a 4000 series reel and a heavier outfit with an 8000 series reel. Same goes for conventional tackle; 30 and 50 pound trolling outifts will be needed. These four rod and reel combinations will cover every mahi mahi fishing situation.
7) Mahi mahi are found in schools, keep moving
Mahi mahi are always on the move. Schools of fish come and go, not only daily, but with each tide. Therefore, the next tip on the list of 12 productive mahi mahi fishing tips is to keep moving until fish are located! These fish are usually not fussy, to find them is to catch them most of the time.
8) A rigged ballyhoo is the top mahi mahi bait
Novice anglers to the dolphin fishing game can be overwhelmed. Like most forms of fishing, there are a variety of techniques and lures that will produce. However, there is one presentation that probably accounts for more mahi mahi than any other; trolling a rigged ballyhoo. This can be done plain, but a skirt adds color and results in the bait lasting a bit longer.
Anglers can purchase these baits already rigged and ready to go. They can also rig them individually. The baits are deployed behind the boat and trolled at 6 to 8 knots along weed lines, color changes, or when birds are seen diving. This is the best way for beginners to put a few mahi mahi in the boat!
9) Water color is important when mahi mahi fishing
Another factor that affects fishing for mahi mahi is water color. For the most part, they prefer that beautiful cobalt blue water. Color changes are places that anglers can find dolphin, along with tuna and other species. Fish like “edges”, and color changes are no exception.
10) Keep a pitch bait ready at all times
The next mahi mahi fishing tip is to keep a pitch bait rigged and ready to go at all times, even when anchored on a reef. A single bull or cow or school of fish can show up at any time. Anglers need to be rigged up and ready to maximize each opportunity. The pitch rod can have a popper, jerkbait, bucktail jig, or even a hook with a chunk of ballyhoo. The key is to get whatever the offering is in front of the fish as quickly as possible.
11) Chum can be critical to success when fishing for dolphin
Chum is a tool used by experienced saltwater anglers for a variety of species, and dolphin are no exception. This can be as simple as having some ballyhoo cut up into small pieces to be tossed ocer the side when fish show up. Anglers anchoring over deeper reefs and ledges will often chum mahi mahi up into the slick using blocks of frozen chum. The key is to use enough to keep the fish excited, but not over-fed.
12) Be responsible when harvesting mahi mahi
Mahi mahi are terrific to eat! It is certainly one of the reasons that they are prized by anglers. Also, since they are often caught in bunches, it is easy to get carried away and keep too many. Anglers should be responsible in their harvest, enjoy a few excellent meals, but also release the medium sized fish to breed.
In conclusion, this article on 12 productive mahi mahi fishing tips will help anglers catch more of these beautiful, hard-fighting fish!