Friday, August 6, 2010

Mahi Mahi (Dolphin Fish)

Mahi-mahi are swift and acrobatic game fish with striking colours. Their sides are golden with iridescent greens and blues, and their belly is white and yellow. These colours can change rapidly, excited fish "light up", and dying mahi-mahi often turn silvery over-all with blue spots on the flanks. and the colours darken when the fish dies.

Mahi mahi are found all along the Australian east coast from midway on the NSW coast and along just about the entire west coast. They are most prolific during the warmer months, tending to hang in large schools around any sort of floating debris.
The current world record for Mahi Mahi is 39.91 kilograms (88lb), caught in 1998 in Exuma, Bahamas. Catches average 7 to 13 kilograms (15 to 29 lb), and any mahi-mahi over 18 kilograms (40 lb) is exceptional. Males are larger than females.

Mahi mahi are also known as dorado or dolphin fish. However, they are not at all related to dolphins.

Fishing techniques

Frigate birds can often indicate the presence of mahi-mahi.In earlier years, most mahi-mahi were caught accidentally, as bycatch in tuna and swordfish longline commercial fisheries. Now they are sought by both commercial and recreational fishermen.

A typical fishing technique is to take a sport fishing boat to the edge of a reef in about 120 feet (37 m) of water and troll near a line of floating weed. Mahi-mahi often congregate around marine debris such as floating boards, palm trees and fronds, often found in association with such weed lines.

Mahi-mahi typically are taken by trolling on the surface with 30 to 50 pound line . Once a school of Mahi are encountered, casting with small jigs or Fly casting using a bait-and-switch technique can be successful. I used a small jig to catch a beatiful 12 Kg Mahi Mahi off the coast of Noosa just last year.

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