How To Catch Mahi-Mahi

How To Catch Mahi-Mahi

Mahi-mahi, also known as dolphin fish, are popular game fish found in tropical and subtropical waters around the world. Mahi-mahi is one of the most popular game fish in south Florida, they exhibit an amazing fight, beautiful colors, and incredible table fare. They have a life span of about five years and they spawn roughly every 2-3 days.

In 2021 recreational fishing produced more than 10 million pounds of mahi-mahi in the Atlantic and Gulf waters. If you want a piece of that action we’ve put together a few tips that you can read below to get you started:

Here are some tips on how to catch mahi-mahi:

  1. Locate the right areas: Mahi-mahi are often found around sargassum, which is floating debris such as logs, buoys, and seaweed, as these attract small fish that the mahi-mahi prey upon. Also, look for areas with a mix of warmer and cooler water currents, as this can attract baitfish.

  2. Use the right gear: Mahi-mahi are strong fighters, so you'll need a sturdy rod and reel, preferably with a high-speed retrieve rate. Use a braided line with a 50-80 lb test and a 6-8 ft fluorocarbon leader. A variety of lures and baits can be effective, such as skirted trolling lures, feather jigs, and live bait such as squid or small fish.

  3. Troll the area: Troll your lures or bait around the area where you have located the fish. Keep an eye out for any signs of activity such as jumping fish or birds diving into the water, as this can indicate the presence of mahi-mahi.

  4. Be ready to strike: When a mahi-mahi strikes, it can be sudden and aggressive, so be ready to set the hook immediately. Once hooked, mahi-mahi will often leap out of the water and make strong runs, so be prepared for a fight.

  5. Handle the fish properly: Mahi-mahi are delicious table fare, so if you plan to keep your catch, handle the fish carefully to avoid damaging the flesh. Use a gaff or net to bring the fish on board and remove the hook quickly and gently. Ice the fish immediately to preserve the quality of the meat.

  6. Use chum: Mahi-mahi is attracted to chum, which is a mixture of fish parts and blood that is dispersed in the water to attract fish. You can make your own chum by grinding up fish parts and blood and placing them in a mesh bag or bucket that is hung off the side of your boat.

  7. Look for weed lines: Mahi-mahi is often found swimming near weed lines, where seaweed and other vegetation accumulate on the surface of the water. These areas attract small fish, which in turn attract larger fish like mahi-mahi.

  8. Pay attention to color: Mahi-mahi are attracted to bright colors like pink, green, and yellow, so using lures or bait that have these colors can be effective. You can also try adding a skirt to your lure to create more movement and attract attention. For the latest gear check out our BlackBox Offshore subscriptions.

  9. Be patient: Mahi-mahi can be unpredictable and may only sometimes be present in the areas where they are typically found. Be patient and persistent, and be prepared to move to different locations or try other techniques if you're not having success.

  10. Release fish carefully: If you're not planning to keep your catch, release the fish carefully to minimize stress and damage to the fish. Use a dehooker or pliers to remove the hook, and hold the fish upright in the water until it regains its strength and swims away.


Always check local fishing regulations and be respectful of the environment and other fishermen when pursuing your catch.

Fishing is a sport that requires patience, skill, and respect for the environment and the fish you're pursuing. With the right equipment, techniques, and mindset, you can increase your chances of catching mahi-mahi and have a fun and rewarding fishing experience.