Mahi Mahi (Coryphaena Hippurus) are bluewater, surface-dwelling fish that are native to off-shore temperate, tropical, and subtropical waters across the globe. The main areas to target this species are in the Gulf Of Mexico, Costa Rica, Hawaii, and the Indian Ocean. These fish are often referred to as the dolphinfish for their likelihood of swimming right around the surface of the water. The name Mahi Mahi is derived from the Hawaiin language and means “very strong”.
This species of fish is exhilarating to hunt when spearfishing, as they do not sit still and are never found hanging around near the bottom. The most effective way to hunt these fish when spearfishing is to use chum to keep them near the boat and always freedive, as the bubbles from scuba diving regulators scare these fish off very easily.
How To identify A Mahi Mahi
Mahi Mahi are an extremely unique looking species of fish, with their vibrant green, blue, and yellow colors. They have a single dorsal fin that stretches all the way from their head to about their tail. Males are referred to as bulls because they have a bulge that protrudes out from their forehead, while females have a normal rounded head.
These fish travel in packs and it is very rare to see only one of them at a time. If you end up hunting or fishing for these fish and happen to catch one, you always want to leave it in the water because the rest of the pack will come up to see what’s happening to it. This is your perfect chance to land several of these fish on the boat!
Mahi Mahi Regulations
In Florida, the regulations for keeping Mahi Mahi differs between Gulf State Waters and Atlantic State Waters. For example, there is no minimum size requirement on the Gulf side and you’re allowed to keep 10 of these fish per day, per harvester, or up to 60 per vessel.
On the Atlantic side, the minimum size required to keep these fish is that they must be at least 20 inches long to the fork of their tail, but you’re also allowed to keep 10 per harvester or up to 60 per vessel.
These fish have an open season year-round, but I’ve personally found that they’re more prominent in the spring when the water is starting to warm up.
Where To Find Mahi Mahi
Since Mahi are bluewater (pelagic) fish, you’re never going to find one hanging around reefs or ledges on the seafloor. These fish have to keep moving in order to breathe and move water through their gills. Look for these fish when diving deep wrecks or springs, as these are areas that they like to stick around.
Another common area to find this species of fish are around pipelines or any sort of large structure underwater. These fish are going to follow the baitfish, and the baitfish are going to stick around areas with large structures at the bottom, as this is their food source.