SPECIES IDENTIFICATION - GET TO KNOW YOUR FISH!

 
 

FISHING THE FLORIDA GULF WATERS IS SECOND TO NONE!

DORADO / MAHI-MAHI

The Dorado, or "Mahi-Mahi" and "Dolphin", as it's also called is not to be confused with the famous "FLIPPER" we all know and love.  Although often named the same, they are very different catches!

SCIENTIFIC NAME:  "Coryphaena Hippurus"

APPEARANCE:  The colors of the Dorado are quite dramatic with golden hues on the sides, patches of metallic blue and greens on the back and sides, and white and yellow on the underside. This fish is very colorful underwater, catching light and reflecting a wide range of brilliant colors. Freshly caught individuals change coloration very quickly, fading to a uniform silvery color. The two species of Dorado are easily distinguishable. Both exhibit the same elongate, fusiform body shape. The single dorsal fin extends the length of the body. The anal fin begins approximately in the middle of the body and ends at the same point as the dorsal fin. The pelvic fins are located under the pectoral fins and can be compressed into a shallow groove on the body. The tail fin is strongly forked. The head is very blunt on males (Bulls) the forehead is more vertical and higher then the more tapered head of the female. The mouth contains many small teeth as well as a small and oval-shaped tooth patch on the tongue.

HABITAT:  Generally a pelagic fish, the Dorado is found offshore under floating objects. It is sometimes known to follow large ships and to hangout under large floating mats of sargassum. Dorado are also found near the coast, ranging in depth from the surface to 280 feet. Small Dorado travel together in schools ranging from just a few fish to over 50 individuals. The Dorado is distributed in tropical and subtropical waters throughout the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. It is abundant in the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Current, and throughout the Caribbean.

BEHAVIOR:  Dolphin are fast swimmers and fast growers that live no more than 5 years. Spawning occurs year round in warm oceanic waters.

SIZE:  Most angler caught Dorado are in the 5 to 15 LB range with occasional catches of up to 50 Lbs. The Dorado can reach a length of 6 feet, but more common are lengths of 3 feet . Dorado that school together range in size from 1-20 pounds while larger individuals live alone or in pairs.

FLORIDA STATE RECORD:  77 LBS,12 OZ.

EATING HABITS:  Dorado are swift-moving, agile predators and are able to overcome most prey items. This fish often associates with Sargassum in the Florida Current and Gulf Stream, where they prey primarily upon the smaller fishes and invertebrates IN these tide lines. They feed during the day on small oceanic fishes such as flyingfish, man-o-war fish, sargassum fish and triggerfish, juvenilE tuna, billfish, jack CREVALLE, & mackerel,  squid & crabs.

FISHING TIPS & FACTS 

  • Adults eat squid, flying fish and other small fish while cruising weed lines in offshore waters. Troll natural baits such as ballyhoo rigged on #7 or #8 steel wire with a 7/0 or 8/0 hook. They can also be caught on artificial lures, feathers, or spoons. When a schooling dolphin is hooked, the rest of the school will often stay nearby. Chumming cut bait will bring them in and create a frenzy of activity. Dolphin is a favorite seafood item for many people.

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