How to Catch Mahi Mahi in Florida

A Boater’s guide on How to Catch Mahi Mahi in Florida.

With waters as warm as they are in August, it’s the perfect time to talk about how to catch mahi mahi in Florida. Dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus) is better known by its Hawaiian name, mahi-mahi (and it’s also known by its Spanish name, dorado, or just as plain mahi). This offshore fish prefers deeper waters over 68 degrees—which means right now offers the ideal conditions to catch mahi mahi.

Success in how to Catch Mahi Mahi in Florida
GBC’s “Mahi” Maralyn Coscia hit the jackpot recently!

Where to find mahi mahi?

GBC’s very own Maralyn Coscia reports that she took her mom out fishing off the coast of Boynton Beach a few weeks ago. She was afraid that her mom would be bored—but they were lucky enough to catch more mahi mahi than they could even legally keep! They cleaned and flash-froze enough to keep in their freezers, and gave the rest to grateful friends and family.

Catching Mahi Mahi in Florida

Mahi mahi is undoubtedly one of Florida’s most beautiful marine species and a favorite on menus at the local restaurants. This is because the Subtropical waters of South Florida are the perfect place to find this migratory fellow.  Here’s a little more information about how to catch mahi mahi in Florida:

According to the Fishing and Wildlife Commission’s website, mahi mahi are attracted to floating objects, and are commonly found in association with floating mats of sargassum (which is at an all-time high this year). The adult fish eat bait fish, flying fish, squid and crabs. They are fast swimmers and extremely fast growers, reaching nearly three feet in length in their first year of life.

Learn how to Catch Mahi Mahi in Florida
If you caught all this mahi, you’d be smiling too!

How to spot mahi mahi?

They are:

* Bright greenish blue back with yellow on sides
* Single dark dorsal fin extends from above the eye to the tail
* Capable of flashing purple, chartreuse and a wide range of other colors
* Body tapers sharply from head to tail
* Irregular blue or golden blotches scattered over sides

Mahi mahi can range anywhere up to 63 inches, and they usually weigh around 30 pounds. (The state record is 81 pounds, caught near Lantana; will you be next?) They resemble a pompano dolphinfish (pompano have a square-shaped tooth patch on the tongue; mahi mahi have an oval-shaped tooth patch on the tongue).

How to lure the mahi mahi?

And how do we recommend you catch mahi mahi in Florida? The Florida FWC advises that large, solitary adult fish are commonly caught while trolling natural baits such as rigged ballyhoo or cigar minnows, but they can also be caught on live bait, cut bait, artificial lures, jigs, or spoons. The tackle used to catch mahi mahi in Florida ranges from light spinning tackle for smaller schooling dolphin, to heavy trolling equipment. Chumming with cut bait or leaving a hooked fish in the water can keep schooling fish near the boat for multiple hookups.

What are the regulations for fishing mahi mahi in Florida?

There are rules for fishing for mahi mahi in Atlantic state waters. The legal gear allowed is hook and line, or spearing. In this area, the minimum size limit for mahi is 20” fork length (the fish as measured from the tip of the jaw or tip of the snout with closed mouth to the center of the fork in the tail). The daily bag limit is 10 fish per person, or 60 per vessel, whichever is less.

Though they are often served blackened, or on a sandwich, our favorite way to eat mahi mahi is just simply grilled, maybe with a little freshly made salsa. Try this delicious recipe from the Food Channel for Grilled Ginger Mahi-Mahi with Tropical Fruit Salsa, and we will be surprised if it’s not the best thing you ever ate.

Do you require hands-on training on how to Catch Mahi Mahi? The captains at GBC are fully licensed fishermen. They’ll help you learn more about how to catch, and clean a boatload of mahi mahi. The time is right in South Florida. Give us a call at 561.865.7797, and we’ll get you set up for a day of mahi mahi fishing you won’t forget!