Dolphinfish, also known as mahi-mahi or dorado, is an excellent table fare and a highly sought after game fish. It can be caught using live bait or lures. One of the best methods for catching Dolphinfish is trolling with small Jacks. Peak Dolphinfish fishing season runs from June through October.


Region: South, Northeast
Habitat: Ocean

How to identify Dolphinfish

The dolphinfish has a very distinct shape and color. It is one of the most vibrantly colored fish in the ocean. The top of the fish is a shimmery blue/green color that changes into a gold with possible hues of blues and silvers as it fades into the lower flanks. The abdomen of the dolphinfish is typically white with a tinge of yellow or silver.

dolphin fish (mahi mahi) identification diagram

Dolphinfish (Mahi mahi) identification diagram

Females, which are substantially smaller than males, have round foreheads. The forehead of the larger male dolphinfish is extended and taller than that of the female. The dolphinfish is characterized by a large dorsal fin that runs along the head down to the tail.

Dolphinfish may reach a up to 6 feet (2 meters) in length and reach 65 pounds (30 kg). However, a typical adult dolphinfish is about 3 feet (1 meter) in length and 30 pounds (14 kg).

Where to catch Dolphinfish

Dolphinfish are found in tropical and sub-tropic waters throughout the world. They are migratory fish that is often found in schools. Dophinfish can be found underneath structure including buoys, sea vegetation, docks and floating debris/objects. Anglers periodically have luck catching Dolphinfish from piers, although most Dolphinfish are found offshore in the upper and deep water columns of the open ocean. Dolphinfish often feed on small fish the gather under feeding White birds.

Dolphinfish are attracted to just about any floating debris. Fishing next to floating debris is an effective method for catching Dolphinfish.

Range: South, Northeast
Dolphinfish Fishing Map

The following are habitats where you can catch Dolphinfish:

How to catch Dolphinfish

There are four main methods for catching Dolphinfish: Trolling, live baiting, bait casting with cut up pieces of fish, and kit fishing. The most popular technique for catching Dolpinfish is trolling with mullet, squid, strip bait, ballyhoo, or flying fish near weedlines, currents, and floating debris. Dolphinfish can also be caught bait casting using dead bait or lures. Live baiting works best when you find a school of Dolphinfish. Kite fishing is also effective for catching Dophlinfish and has been know for catching some of the largest Dolphinfish specimens.

When bait fishing, skip the bait across the top of the water to attract the attention of the Dolphinfish. One of the favorite food of Dolphinfish is flying fish, so any topwater movement is likely to trigger their feeding instinct.

The following are effective fishing methods and techniques for catching Dolphinfish:

Best Lures, Bait & Tackle to catch Dolphinfish

Dolphinfish prefer live bait, including squid or ballyhoo. Other baits used to catch Dolphinfish include mullet, strip bait and other types of fish cut up into chunks. Dolphinfish will readily take artificial lures including jigs and bucktails.

The following are fishing lures, bait and tackle that can be used to catch Dolphinfish: