The Dolphin Fish

The Dolphin Fish - (Coryphaena Hippurus), also known as Dolphin, Dorado, Goldmakrele, Mahi Mahi, Shiira. These fish are commonly found near floating objects and Sargassum weed lines and patches. Dolphin like warm water, generally greater than 68oF, 78 oF – 85oF is preferred. The south east coast of Florida and the Keys are some of the best Dolphin fishing waters available.

A dolphin can grow to a weight of about 80 pounds and live only about five years. The dolphin’s coloring can range from a dark blue along its back and changes laterally through a green – gold – yellow color spectrum as look from their back to their belly. Mature males or bulls are easily distinguished by their high flat forehead and are usually larger than the females or cows.

Smaller fish travel in schools which can range from a few fish to several dozen. Larger bulls and cows travel alone or in pairs. The dolphin in the water is rich blue or blue-green dorsally; gold, bluish gold, or silvery gold on the lower flanks; and silvery white or yellow on the belly.

The sides are sprinkled with a mixture of dark and light spots, ranging from black or blue or golden. The dorsal fin is rich blue, and the anal fin is golden or silvery.
The older fins are generally golden-yellow, edged with blue. When removed from the water, the colors fluctuate between blue, green, and yellow. After death the fish typically turns equally yellow or silvery gray. Large males have high, vertical foreheads, females have rounded forehead.

Can be found in as little as 100 feet of water but deeper water of 400 feet or more is usually better. They like warm temperate water so the Gulf Stream is a good place to start. They don’t move to far from their food source so keep your eyes open for floating weeds, other floating objects, temperature rips and sub surface structure which may attract and provide shelter to flying fish and other sources of food.

Keep a look out for sea birds that feed on the small baitfish that are driven to the surface by feeding dolphin. They are sometimes a dead giveaway as to the dolphins and other fish location. At other times they may be taking you on a wild goose chase. They are extremely fast swimmers and feed extensively on flying fish and squid as well as on other small fish. Successful fishing methods include trolling surface baits (flying fish, mullet, balao, squid, strip baits) or artificial lures; also live bait fishing or casting.

Tackle choice is a 20# - 30# lever drag reel, a matched 5-1/2’ – 6’ stand-up rod and 20# – 30# mono line. Natural baits such as ballyhoo rigged on #7 or #8 coffee colored stainless steel wire is great. One end of the wire will have a haywire twist to attach to the fishing line via snap swivel and the other end will have 7/0 or 8/0 hook attached using a haywire twist and pin rig. The ballyhoo may be trolled naked or with a skirt or skirted lure over its head. Trolling speed is a matter of how the baits look in the water. They can also be readily caught on artificial lures, feathers, spoons, etc. Once a school dolphin is hooked and brought to the boat, leave it in the water.

The rest of the school will usually follow and stay nearby. Chum with cut bait or glass minnows will bring them in close and put them in frenzy, for a wild and exciting experience start casting your spinning rods/fly rods with yellow or white bucktail jigs/flays. The dolphin is a delicious food fish.