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The Ultimate Guide on how to Catch Mahi Mahi in Florida – Tips and Techniques

The beautiful waters of Stuart, Florida, allow anglers to reel in various fish, including the vibrant and acrobatic mahi mahi (also known as dolphinfish). These prized game fish are sought for their colorful appearance, spirited fight, and delicious taste. Join us as we share expert tips and techniques for catching mahi mahi with Hate 2 Lose Fishing Charters in Stuart, Florida.

Mahi Mahi is a surface-dwelling ray-finned fish in worldwide off-shore temperate, tropical, and subtropical waters. Also widely called dorado (not to be confused with Salminus brasiliensis, a freshwater fish) and dolphin, it is one of two members of the family Coryphaenidae, the other being the pompano dolphinfish. (source: Wikipedia)

The Mahi Mahi is known for its vivid blue, green, and yellow glow. They will change color in the water based on their intensity and instinct. They are like a swimming “mood ring.” Mahi Mahi has a long dorsal fin that extends from their head to their tail.

Where to Catch Mahi Mahi?

Mahi Mahi is a common fish that can be found in temperate, subtropical, and tropical waters. More specifically, they will typically be found in waters with temperatures between 20°C/68°F and 28°C/83 °F. Some of the most popular places where anglers go to catch Mahi Mahi are the Florida Keys, the Atlantic Coast of Florida, Costa Rica, Panama, Hawaii, and Baja, California.

Here in Stuart, Florida, Mahi-Mahi is prolific in the waters, particularly in the St. Lucie Inlet, from November through June.

Choose the Right Tackle and Bait

Additional trivia: Mahi Mahi came from the Hawaiian word “strong-strong.” So, when it comes to fishing Mahi Mahi, you must use all your strength and a durable lure and bait to catch it. Short, blistering runs can end with a deep dive, then the fish stubbornly turning on its side and refusing to come up.

You’ll want to grab a rod and reel combination well-suited for a 30-pound fused line. Your rod should be around 7 feet long, have rapid to extra-fast action and be able to handle lure weights up to one ounce.

Baits? Though their mouths are relatively small, it’s amazing how much they can swallow, including large baits. They mostly eat fish, so traditional bait fish like sardines and Pacific Mackerel work well to bait them. The larger the fish, the larger the bait they’ll grab. Cut bait like shrimp and ballyhoo works well, too, but cutting false albacore will drive them wild.

Use the Trolling Technique

Trolling is a popular and effective method for targeting mahi mahi. Set up multiple lines at different depths and distances behind the boat, then troll at 5-10 knots. Adjust your speed and lure depth to find the optimal combination for attracting strikes. Be prepared for the mahi mahi’s initial run and acrobatic leaps as you reel them in.

Sight Fishing

Sight fishing is another technique for catching mahi mahi, particularly in clear water conditions. Look for their vibrant colors and fast movements near the surface. Once spotted, cast your bait or lure before the fish, and be careful not to spook them. Keep a pitch rod ready with live bait or lure for any additional mahi mahi following the hooked fish.

What are the Regulations for Fishing Mahi Mahi in Florida?

When it comes to recreational fishing, you can expect Florida to have one of the strictest rules. These rules are governed and implemented by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. They aim to protect and manage fish and wildlife resources for their long-term well-being and the benefit of people. You can read the guidelines here.

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