Mahimahi grow fast, up to almost 7 feet and 88 lbs. Schooling fish run in similar sizes, from around a pound to nearly 20 pounds at times; larger fish are loners, or else pairs bull and cow. Big bulls often reach 50 pounds in weight and can exceed 80 pounds on rare occasion. Large cows generally top out at 40 pounds or so. World record 87 pounds;
Dolphin ream the open sea in a continuous hunt for food. Anglers seek them along rafted weedlines and around any sort of large floating object. The location of schools may also be given away by feeding birds, particularly frigate birds. Mahimahi, which means “very strong” in Hawai’ian, is a highly migratory pelagic species found in the world’s all tropical and subtropical waters including the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. Mahimahi live near the surface in tropical and subtropical waters around the world. Young mahimahi swim together in schools, but older fish are usually found alone. Larger males prefer open ocean habitat while females and smaller males are commonly found near natural and artificial floating objects, including a floating brown algae called Sargassum (in the Atlantic and the Caribbean). Adults are found in open waters but also near the coast. Form schools. Feed on almost all forms of fish and zooplankton; also takes crustaceans and squid. Sexual maturity is reached in 4-5 months (3 for captive fish). Spawn in the open sea and probably approximate to the coast when water temperature rises. Eggs and larvae are pelagic. Attracting devices such as floating bundles of bamboo reeds or cork planks are used to concentrate dolphin fish before the nets are set.
Biology & Physical Description
Mahimahi are brightly colored– the back is an electric greenish blue, the lower body is gold or sparkling silver, and the sides have a mixture of dark and light spots. Their bright pattern fades almost immediately after they’re harvested. Adult males have a square head shape but females have a more rounded head. Mahimahi can be distinguished from the pompano dolphin by its 55 to 66 dorsal fin rays and a very wide, square tooth patch on the tongue. In the Atlantic, they spawn under patches of Sargassum. Mahimahi are top predators and only have a few predators themselves. They feed in surface water during the day and eat a wide variety of species, including small pelagic fish, juvenile tuna, billfish, jacks, pompano, and pelagic larvae of nearshore, bottom-living species. They also eat invertebrates such as cephalopods (octopus, squid, etc.), mysids (small, shrimp-like creatures), and jellyfish. Large tuna, rough-toothed dolphin, marlin, sailfish, and swordfish feed on mahimahi, particularly juveniles. Mahimahi has a sweet, mild flavor. For a milder flavor, trim away darker portions of the meat. Mahimahi is lean and fairly firm with large, moist flakes. The raw flesh is pinkish to grayish-white, although along the lateral line the flesh is dark. When cooked, the meat is off-white. The thick skin of mahimahi should be removed before cooking. Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 58-66; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 25 - 31; Vertebrae: 31. Greatest body depth in adults less than 25% of standard length; tooth patch on tongue small and oval; single dorsal fin extending from above eye almost to caudal fin with 58-66 rays; a concave anal fin extending from anus almost to caudal fin; pectoral fin more than half of head length. Caudal vertebrae usually 18 (Ref. 10998). Mature males posses a prominent bony crest in front of the head. The color is striking with golden hues on the sides, metallic blues and greens on the back and sides, with white and yellow on the underparts. Small specimens have pronounced vertical bars on the sides of the body.
Life Cycle & Mating Behavior
Dorado is a very productive fish. They’re able to reproduce early in life, at 4 to 5 months old, and scientists believe mahimahi spawn every 2 to 3 days throughout their entire spawning season, perhaps even year-round. Females release between 33,000 and 66,000 eggs each time they spawn. In East African waters, spawning season may last from March to early June and spawning occurs inshore. In the western Pacific, sex ratios were about equal during spawning season. Spawning in the western Atlantic occurs over an extended period of time. Spawn naturally in captivity without artificial inducement
Geographic Species Map (Fishbase.org Map)
Summary of Distribution: Atlantic, Indian and Pacific: in tropical and subtropical waters. Highly migratory species
Note: Distribution range colors indicate degree of suitability of habitat which can be interpreted as probabilities of occurrence (fishbase.org)
Sport Fishing Techniques
A trolling boat has multiple outriggers, poles and lines attached that use lures dragged across the ocean surface at speeds of 4 – 10 knots. Large beefy hooks are used with special durable lures allowing the fisherman to easily unhook the gamefish that has been caught and quickly get their lines back into the water. The larger the lures, the larger the potential fish, the larger the hooks. A tuna boat will usually make slow wide circles when trolling. A billfish boat will usually work ledges, fathom lines, zig zag area coordinates or make trolling circles if bait or a porpoise school is located and/or if they are fishing a FAD..
Kite Fishing (Trolling)
Kite Fishing Trolling is when you are....
Tackle & Baits
With the Dolphins, anything goes. Private-boat anglers seek to find a school by trolling or by running and searching for visual signs. Once a school is located, it can usually be kept around the boat by restrained chumming with cut bait and/or by keeping at least one hooked fish in the water at all times. A hot school will eagerly accept jigs and all sorts of casting baits, including flies and popping bugs. If strikes slow down, cut bait often does the trick. Big or wise fish may insist on live baits. Countless Dolphin are also caught, both by design and incidentally, on the entire gamut of rigged trolling baits and artificial trolling lures.
Game Rating : 9/10
Game Description :
Top of the heap in any weight class speedy. Strong and acrobatic. When a mahimahi takes the hook, its colors are brilliant blue and silver dappled with yellow. These fade quickly when the fish dies. Large aggregations of mahimahi are common around flotsam drifting at sea and off fish aggregation buoys
Game Rating : 10/10
Game Description :
Hawaiian Mahimahi is regarded as some of the highest quality in the world with fish over 15 pounds in size being preferred. Their flesh is white, firm, sweeter than Ono, and delicious when saut'ed, baked, broiled, or fried. Mahimahi is one Hawaii's most well-known and popular fish! Genuine Hawaiian Mahimahi tastes like a vacation in the islands with its delicate, almost sweet flavor. Not to be confused with Mahimahi from other locations, Hawaiian Mahimahi is naturally juicy. The meat is fluffy and full of natural oil from living in the Hawaiian sea. HawaiianSeafood.com Mahimahi is selected with a low water content and thick body size with very mature oil content. Freshness is the real key; our Mahimahi are caught only hours before the boats land! Mahimahi is best enjoyed when fresh and can be prepared many ways, but care must be taken to not overcook the fish.
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