East Coasters call them dolphin fish. Hawaiians and non-anglers call them mahi mahi. Here in Southern California and Mexico, we call them dorado. Why so many nicknames for the same fish? It may just be because of the wide ranging area in which they’re caught. Whatever you call it, this fish is one of the most prolific fish in the entire world! Generally, if the water exceeds 70 degrees, you’ll find them.
The dorado is one of the most sought after gamefish worldwide. Their bright colors, acrobatic fight, and desirability on the table ensure its popularity for years to come. Learn more about the life of this fantastic fish in this Sport Fishing article.
“We catch them off the Delmarva Peninsula, usually trolling weed lines and floating debris like dunnage jettison from cargo ships,” says Capt. Jim Mahoney, of Blue Collar Man Sportfishing in Indian River, Delaware. “We have caught them in water as cold as 67 degrees, but I typically look for at least 70 degrees and clear, blue water.”
Hammond believes that as the oceans gradually warm from global climate change, dolphinfish will likely become more prevalent in the Mid-Atlantic Bight. His data suggest that dolphin in the western north Atlantic Ocean are a single stock, with fish tagged off the U.S. coast reappearing off Cuba, Puerto Rico, Antigua, Venezuela and Mexico. Fish that travel the East Coast come from any number of routes, including the east side of the Bahamas Bank or the Old Bahamas Channel, and from the west via the Loop Current in the Gulf of Mexico. In particular, dolphin from the eastern Bahamas replenish numbers on the west side of the Gulf Stream near the Carolinas, according to Dolphinfish Research Program data.
Dolphin schools show in the Straits of Florida off the Keys in late March and April, increasing to peak abundance during late May or June. Off the Carolinas, ’phins typically reach their greatest numbers from May to June. Top fishing occurs in the Mid-Atlantic Bight from late July to early September.
Photos: Sport Fishing (top), SoCal Salty (above)