Catching and Preparing Mahi Mahi

Important, when we are talking about Mahi Mahi fish, we are talking about the Mahi fish, unrelated to the marine mammal bottlenose dolphin. It’s known by most people from their Hawaiian name, Mahi Mahi. But also their Pacific coast name Dorado or Cryphaena Hippurus and better known in Florida and along the US East coast as a dolphin. This amazing fish is hard fighting, good tasting, and a fast-growing renewable ocean resource. One of the fastest-growing fish in the ocean, Mahi or Dolphin have a voracious appetite and is easy to entice to strike slow trolled artificial lures and if hooked and kept near the boat will bring others close by schooling dolphin in for a snack.

Mahi can be found practically worldwide and are a dinner-time favorite everywhere. The southeast coast of Florida and the Keys are some of the best Dolphin fishing waters available. Much like Sailfish, both know for their great dorsal fin and as a pelagic species of Dolphin fish, which means they roam the open ocean. They prefer warmer waters and the prime location for catching Mahi Mahi fish is the Gulfstream along the East Coast of Florida.

Best tactics for catching Mahi

It has always been a great summertime pleasure for me to troll for dolphin fish with artificial lures rigged with frozen ballyhoo. Mahi fish are surface feeders and if you closely watch your trolled baits. In a similar fashion, seeing the dolphin as they beeline in, generally at a right angle to the bait, for a steam roller strike. Also, the Mahi Mahi fish can be very acrobatic when they are hooked also. Providing an angler a good show and thrilling battle. Here’s a catch, I have always found that pink and white or black and red or black and white or the best color choices for artificial lures. When possible, I like a skirt with a flat head that smokes and weaves and wobbles and leaves a bubble trail as it is pulled through the water.

I have trolled as many as six rods at a time with several different colors and styles of artificial lures rigged with ballyhoo. Likewise, the optimum trolling speed is about six knots depending on whether you are going with or against any prevailing currents and winds. Sight fishing plays an important role in dolphin fishing.  Watch for circling birds!  Even one lone bird hanging out in a certain area almost certainly means there is action beneath him.  Look out for schools of flying fish, one of the Mahi fish’s favorite snacks, good sign dolphins are just below.

Best Conditions for Mahi

Dolphins like a cover and you will typically find them around floating debris and weed lines of Sargasso seaweed. Trolling rods in the 30 pound class with matching conventional reels spooled with 25 to 30-pound monofilament lines make a perfect combo for catching dolphins. I personally have caught dolphins on fly rods and reels and found it to be one of the most exciting open ocean challenges there is! Dolphin fishing is a relatively easy relaxing and enjoyable summertime trip that can bring big thrills, lots of fish, and some very good eating. Believe me, Mahi Mahi fish is the easiest blue water fish to catch for the average angler and pays off big time on the dinner table so get out there and perfect your technique!

Recipes for cooking and eating Mahi

Known as the Poor Man’s LobsterWhat is Mahi Mahi? Catching and Preparing Mahi Mahi

Ingredients (serves two)

Garlic Butter Dipping Sauce

  • 6 tablespoons butter (unsalted)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions : Prep Time: 10 mins –  Total Time: 25 mins

  1. Cut fillets into 2-inch chunks and drizzle with the lemon juice.
  2. Pour the beer into the bottom of a saucepan. (If using fresh lemon juice, toss the leftover lemon rind in with the beer.) Then place a collapsible vegetable steamer over the beer.
  3. Bring the beer to a boil, place the fish chunks in the steamer. Cover, and steam for 5 to 10 minutes, dependent upon the thickness of the fish.
  4. The fish will be rubbery if it is overcooked.
  5. Meanwhile, heat the butter sauce with the garlic and salt (I heat it slowly until the garlic is no longer raw).
  6. Remove the fish from the steamer and discard the beer/liquid/rind.
  7. Serve the fish chunks with the garlic butter dipping sauce and your favorite sides.

Ginger Glazed Mahi Mahi Recipe Catching and Preparing Mahi Mahi

Bursting with flavor and combines both sweet and sour taste sensations. The 30 minute prep time includes 20 minutes to marinate. This recipe is a snap and so delicious. You’ll love it!


  • Honey 3 tablespoons
  • Soy sauce 3 tablespoons
  • Balsamic vinegar 3 tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 (6 ounces) Mahi Mahi fillets
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil


  1. In a shallow glass dish, stir together the honey, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, ginger, garlic, and olive oil. Season fish fillets with salt and pepper, and place them into the dish. If the fillets have skin on them, place them skin side down. Cover, and refrigerate for 20 minutes to marinate.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove fish from the dish, and reserve marinade. In addition, fry fish for 4 to 6 minutes on each side. Equally turning only once, until fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove fillets to a serving platter and keep warm.
  3. Also, pour reserved marinade into the skillet, and heat over medium heat until the mixture reduces to a glaze consistently. Spoon glaze over fish, and serve immediately with your favorite side.

What’s best served with this dish?

I love an Asian Instant Brown Rice, as it goes so well with most meals and is healthy yet easy.  For a skillet rice dish, a Rice Pilaf with mushrooms is a fantastic choice.

What about the veggies? I really like Lemon Dill dressing with Spinach or Mediterranean Salad for some greens and make it a full meal. Additionally, a nice serving of Roasted Vegetablesgoes very well and makes an amazing and simple dinner as well.

Purchasing Mahi Mahi Fish if you can’t catch it?

Mahi-mahi at restaurants is almost always sold as skinless fillets and is generally considered sustainable seafood. If you can’t find it fresh in your local market, check the frozen seafood section, which may sell them as individually frozen fillets. Megastores like BJ’s and Costco sell packs of frozen fillets. If you can’t find Mahi Mahi, look for a halibut, swordfish, or snapper which are meaty white fish as an alternative.