Fishing Charters in Aruba

Mahi Mahi (Dolphin)

Fishing in Aruba


Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)
(Coryphaena Hippurus)

Mahi-Mahi or Dolphin, as it is more commonly known as is an acrobatic and swift species with absolutely striking colors. The Mahi-Mahi is a surface-dwelling, ray-finned fish found in the off-shore temperate, tropical and subtropical waters worldwide. Also called, Dorado or Dolphin, it is one of the two members of the family, Coryphaenidae, the other one being Pompano Dolphin fish.

The word, ‘Mahi-Mahi’ has been derived from the Hawaiian name for the fish, meaning ‘strong-strong’. Mahi-Mahi is actually the term used for the fish in the United States, even though many of this species is caught in the Atlantic Ocean. The reason behind this comes from the fish’s English name, the Dolphin fish. Furthermore, most restaurants and seafood vendors refer to the fish as Mahi-Mahi in order to avoid confusion with the mammal of the same name.

A powerful fish, Mahi-Mahi quickly and deftly swims through all the warm waters of the world, from the Caribbean to the Pacific Ocean. They sport an array of colors — bright blues, greens, and yellows, making them especially popular trophies for game fishermen. Mahi-Mahi is a highly pelagic species found in all the tropical and subtropical waters of the world, including the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. Mahi-Mahi fish are mostly found in the surface water. The flesh of this species is soft and oily, similar to sardines. Their body is slightly slender, making them fast swimmers. A Mahi-Mahi can swim as fast as 50 knots i.e. 92.6km/h or 57.5mph.

Habitat and Behavior

Mahi-Mahi is fun to catch, photogenic and delicious. They are fast swimmers and usually swim alone or in pairs. Mahi-Mahi has been named as one of the most exciting offshore game fish to catch. Inhabiting the tropical, sub-tropical waters of the Hawaiian islands and the Indonesian and Japanese archipelagoes, the Mahi-Mahi can be found off the coasts of the South and Central America, in the Red Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean. Mahi-Mahi can be found in waters that are a minimum 100 ft deep or a maximum of 400 ft in depth. The Gulf stream is ideal for a Mahi-Mahi if the temperature of the water is warm.

The Mahi-Mahi are known to overgrown and spawn throughout the year in warm ocean currents. On leaving the water, the fish loses its bright color and appears silvery. Mahi-Mahi grows very fast and hence, have a short life span. Because of this, they possess the ability to reproduce at the age of just four to five months or when they are between 17 and 21 inches long. Throughout their entire spawning season, the Mahi-Mahi are observed to spawn every two to three days. A female Mahi-Mahi releases between 33,000 and 66,000 eggs in each spawning event. After mating, these eggs turn into crabs that further mate at the time of maturity, which is approximately 3 years of age. The female Mahi-Mahi are smaller than the males because of the development of reproductive tissues that require more energy for females, leaving lesser for continued body growth. The Mahi-Mahi grow through a process known as Molting – regularly shedding their shell and growing a new and larger one. The fish continues to grow even after they have reached their sexual maturity. During the breeding season, the crabs leave their borrows in a phenomenon characterized by mass mate-searching events. Once mating has occurred, the females spawn in the water. The larvae released during the raining season develop in offshore waters and return to coastal waters five to eight weeks after larval release.

The females spawn may spawn two to three times per year, producing their eggs in waters at 28 °C/83 °F; the larvae of the fish can be found year-round, with higher numbers in Spring and fall. Adult Mahi-Mahi is either solitary or travels in loose-knit groups of two or three fish. Due to their streamlined body and fast traveling speed, they feed on other fish and squid. Mahi-Mahi is known to congregate around large floating objects such as logs and other marine debris.

Mahi-Mahi -
Physical Description

  • Size: – Having an average life span of 5 years, they seldom exceed four. The females are usually smaller than males. The average Mahi-Mahi weighs around 7 to 13 kg (15 to 29lb) and is around a meter long in height. It is in rare cases that Mahi-Mahi exceeds 15kg (33 lb) in weight. The fish can, however, reach up to 3 ft height in their first year, not exceeding that length drastically afterward.
  • Appearance: – Known for their striking beauty, Mahi-Mahi is blue-green in color on the upper half of their body, with golden hues on the sides, fading to white and yellow. The sides of their body display a mixture of dark and light spots. Mahi-Mahi is blue-green on the upper half of their body with golden hues on the sides, fading to white and yellow. Their sides have a mixture of dark and light spots. They also have a long dorsal fin extending from the head almost to the tail. Mature males possess a prominent bony crest in front of the head, while the females have a rounded head. Their Caudal fins and Anal fins are sharply concave. Mahi-Mahi can be clearly distinguished by its dazzling colors- golden on the sides, and bright blues and greens on the back. The pectoral fins of the fish are iridescent blue. The flank is broad and has a golden color. When taken out of the water, the fish often changes its color (explaining the reason behind its Spanish name, Dorado – meaning golden), going through several hues before finally turning to a muted yellow-grey upon its death.

Conditions for Survival

The highly migratory fish, Mahi-Mahi is found all around the world in tropical and subtropical waters with the depths exceeding up to 85 meters. Mahi-Mahi is Carnivorous, and feed on Mackerel, Squid, Zooplankton, flying fish, Crabs, Crustaceans, and other forage fish.

Other Names

The name of this beautiful fish has Hawaiian origins, actually meaning ‘strong-strong’. Mahi-Mahi is most widely known as Dolphin. In the parts of Pacific and the English-speaking coast of South Africa, the fish is commonly referred to as Dorado, the Spanish word for ‘golden’. In the Mediterranean island of Malta, the fish is known as the ‘Lampuka’. The Japanese name of the fish is Shiira. The Scientific name of Mahi-Mahi is Coryphaena hippurus.

All around, Mahi-Mahi has become the most common name for this fish, majorly used in the U.S.

Aruba Fishing Seasons and
Availability of Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

During the months of summer, when the water temperature hits the range of 80 to 90°F, Mahi-Mahi starts flooding the Aruban waters, specifically in the months of April, May, June, July, and August.
When January February March April May June July August September October November December
Availability Good Good Good Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Good Good Good Good

  • Your chances of landing the Dolphin (Mahi Mahi) is excellent from April to August.
  • Dolphin (Mahi Mahi) enters its low season from January to March and September to December.

How to make the Catch?

To look up for Mahi-Mahi, one must fish towards the south, looking for warmer sports, keeping an eye on the sea surface temperatures. To catch a Mahi-Mahi, it is advised that you chase the baitfish in the open waters. The fish tends to hang around on floating debris. All sorts of baits used work the trick; however, using pilchards or garfish could be preferred. Mahi-Mahi is aggressive fish that get excited by the lures that make a lot of noise. However, little patience and skill along with light gear trolling at enough speed will make the bait skip across the surface of the water. Once hooked, Mahi-Mahi will zip through the water rapidly, in alternating directions.

While following the traditional technique of catching the fish, one must favor quality when it comes to ganged hooks. One must be as cautious as possible, as Mahi-Mahi is known to be the most exciting fish to catch. However, once caught, the fish might often go crazy on the ground and throw the hooks around. When the fish takes the hooks, it colors change to brilliant blue and silver, dappled with yellow.

In French Polynesia, Mahi Mahi is caught with a Harpoon. In Hawaii, a land-based kite is used to catch a Mahi-Mahi, instead of boats and roads; this method involves catching the fish from the cliff tops. Longline boats harvest most of the Mahi-Mahi caught in Hawaii.

Eating for Humans

Far from being a hazard to its namesake mammal, Mahi-Mahi has excellent health benefits, corresponding to a high amount of protein, along with Vitamin B and Iron. Thin-skinned, with firm and light pink flesh, Mahi-Mahi is a very delicious and healthy fish. It has a delicate flavor that is almost sweet. The Mahi-Mahi from Hawaii is a highly regarded product, with healthy and extra lean protein and is best eaten when fresh. However, the local fish is superior in quality to the available substitutes that include lower-priced fresh Mahi-Mahi from Latin America and imported frozen fillets from Taiwan and Latin America.

Mahi-Mahi is also low in saturated fat and Sodium. It is rich in Niacin, Vitamin B12, Phosphorus, and Selenium. Hawaiian Mahi-Mahi also provides around 400 mg of Omega-3’s (DHA and EPA) per 4 ounces serving of fresh fish. Its firm white flesh and a mild flavor enable the preparation of any dish with Mahi-Mahi at home. The versatile fish can be easily grilled out to perfection; it can also be used to prepare fish tacos, along with salt, pepper, and lime or glazed with citrus and lemongrass. However, due to the presence of a lesser amount of fat, the fish must not be overcooked as it might dry out easily.

Mahi-Mahi -
Unknown Facts

  • On an average, a Mahi Mahi (Dolphin) can reach the lengths of up to 4 ½ ft and weigh up to 40 lbs (15 to 30 lbs).
  • Mahi-Mahi is known to overgrow. They frequently spawn throughout the year in warm ocean currents.
  • The fish gets mature among the seaweed at a very young age.
  • Mahi-Mahi is known to be a fast swimmer; swimming at a speed of 50mph.
  • The average lifespan of Mahi Mahi fish is 3 to 4 years with a few fish living to the age of five.

For fish-eaters, Mahi-Mahi works as an excellent choice when considering what to purchase for dinner.

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Have a Question?
Find the Answer Here

Can Mahi-Mahi be eaten raw?

Mahi-Mahi can be eaten raw. However, it is recommended to cook the fish before consuming.

Is eating Dolphin illegal?

No. Eating Mahi-Mahi is not illegal.

What does Mahi-Mahi look like?

Mahi-Mahi is a strikingly beautiful fish with very attractive colors. Its body is golden from the sides and brilliant blue and green in color from the top.

Where is Mahi-Mahi found?

Mahi-Mahi can be found in the off-shore temperate, tropical and subtropical waters worldwide; majorly on the surface of the sea where the water is quite warm.

How to catch Mahi-Mahi?

Mahi-Mahi can be caught using different techniques. Trolling, out of all is the most common one. It is recommended to use good quality bait lure while catching the fish. One must, however, be careful while getting the fish on board as it becomes quite restless.

Is Mahi-Mahi fish tasty?

Yes. Mahi-Mahi is a very delicious and healthy fish and has a delicate and sweet flavor.

Do Mahi-Mahi lose their color?

Yes. Mahi-Mahi loses its color when taken out of the water. The color changes to a brilliant blue and silver, dappled with yellow.

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