The Dolphin fish (Coryphaena hippurus) also know as Mahi Mahi and Dorado is one of the more sought after sport fish. It lives in the both the Atlantic and Pacific in the warmer more tropical waters, but following the gulfstream if often caught in places as far north as NY in the summertime. It is an open water or pelagic fish, meaning it is constantly free swimming living near the surface or mid column of the ocean, as opposed to bottom fish.
They live in deep offshore waters but under certain conditions they will come into the shallow water to feed.
The Dolphin fish is know for its bright yellow and green colors, while alive. These colors go away quickly when its dies.
These fish are very popular with anglers for several reasons. One is their white flakey meat. Secondly they put up a great fight on light tackle, jumping out of the water numerous times before being subdued. They often run in schools especially when they are smaller sized, so often if you hook one, you will immediately hook another.
Often with the smaller schooling fish anglers will keep one of the fish in the water , while other anglers pick off his buddies. The school will follow the one hooked and distressed fish, this enables the anglers to get multiple shots at fish before the school leaves.
Frankly another major reason people like to fish for dolphin is they dumb. They grow extremely fast like a 1-1.5 feet a year. That’s fast. That means giant dolphin you see some guys holding in a photo is probably only 3-4 years old and is a old dolphin. They are believed to only live 3-4 years. This high growth rate means they need to eat all the time and everything they see. Which means they are very easy to catch.
Fishing for dolphin is 95% finding them, getting them to bite is almost never a problem. In fact smaller dolphin will attack anything they see moving that will fit in their mouth. Sometimes they will attack things that won’t fit in their mouth. They will eat artificals, live baits, dead baits, whatever. The larger fish can be more finicky.
Trolling for dolphin is a very popular way to fish for them, it enables the anglers to cover a lot of ground looking for the fish. “running and gunning” is another popular way to fish dolphin. This were you essentially run fast and look for debris in the water, then when you find something slow down and troll or toss baits at it. Dolphi swim all over but they will congregate around floating debris. Weed lines of sargasm are their natural habitat but anything floating can hold them. Pieces of garbage like an old pallet, a knot of ropes, a tarp anything really can hold bait in the deep water and in turn hold dolphin.
Trolling for dolphin is usually done at speeds 6-10 knots. They will hit naked ballyhoo, jet heads, islanders, feathers and other artificial. When trolling a ballyhoo they don’t even have “swim” they can skipping on the surface. In general they are not that picky, covering a lot of ground and finding the schools is more key then the actual presentation.
Best time to target these fish in the Coryphaena hippurus is May and June.