The common dolphin fish or mahi-mahi is one of the most acrobatic and colourful fish I have ever caught and they will call the waters off the Sunshine Coast home for the next five months.
The common English name of dolphin fish causes much confusion. This fish is not related to the marine mammals known as dolphins.
Commercial fishermen had so much trouble selling this delicious table fish that they are now commonly marketed by their Pacific name, mahi-mahi and are among the most popular eating fish in restaurants and fish and chip shops.
Mahi-mahi are found in waters in the top half of Australia as well as the Caribbean Sea, the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic coast of Florida and West Africa, South China Sea, Southeast Asia, Hawaii and many other places worldwide.
Sport fishermen seek them due to their beauty, size, food quality and healthy population.
When searching for mahi-mahi fishing charters often look for floating debris near the edge of a reef in 40-80m of water. Mahi-mahi (and many other fish) often swim near debris such as floating wood, palm trees and fronds, weed lines and around buoys. Sometimes fish aggregating devices (FADS) can hold hundreds of these fish.
Thirty to fifty-pound gear is more than adequate when trolling for mahi-mahi. The best lures to catch them include Halco swimmers tremblers, shallow divers, metal slugs and skirts and they will take live baits such as slimy mackerel and yakkas.
They are a fish that responds well to burley so drifting pilchards or squid down through your burley trail will work well too. Basically if you find a patch of them you are going to have some fun.
Once on a line, mahi-mahi are fast, flashy and acrobatic with beautiful blue, yellow, green and even red dots of colour. Often when you get them close to the boat they will have mates swimming with them so it pays to have a rod ready with a pilchard on a gang or a metal slug to throw at them.
The average size caught off Mooloolaba is 10-12kg but they grow to 18kg.They are a fast growing fish that only live for about 5 years. Legal size limit in Queensland is 50cm and the bag limit is five per person.
Hopefully this helps you get in on the action. If you would like to come along on a charter and see how we fish for them flick us an email or give us a call.