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 Dolphin or Mahi Mahi
(Coryphaena hippurus)


 Distribution & Size

Dolphin or also known as Mahi-mahi (Coryphaena hippurus) This is strictly an open water fish with striking colors that no one forgets.   Dolphins travels in schools and are a quick growing species. Apparently they gain as much as 4lb in weight in their first year and marine biologist say they seldom live longer than 5 years. They are in fact eating machines to achieve the weights they do as adults. They are year round residents of Florida migrating north on both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts during the summer. 

In the Gulf they are found only usually at about 50 miles offshore.  Schooling fish range in size from 1lb to 20lbs.  Larger fish are loners or go in pairs (Bull and Cow).  Big Bulls reach 50lbs in weight and can exceed 80lbs on rare occasions. 

The Florida record is 81lbs caught near Lantana and the World record 87lbs.

 General Information

As a game fish it comes in the top of its class for weight and speed and aerobatics.   It has been timed for speed at 50 mph. 

Dolphins love to hang around anything that floats.  This includes seaweed patches and any type of man made debris.  Never pass the opportunity to cast a bait by anything that floats as school Dolphins known as "chickens" may lurk below. Feeds mainly on flying fish and squid. After they have been captured the fish undergoes a color change as can be seen in the picture.


 

 Tackle & Bait

A rigged ballyhoo is the traditional trolling bait, but many are also caught on big game lures.  When caught usually a feeding frenzy may occur if chickens are present any they may take anything that is offered.  Trolling, drifting and casting are the preferred methods. Adults eat squid, flying fish and other small fish while cruising weed lines in offshore waters. Troll natural baits such as ballyhoo rigged on #7 or #8 steel wire with a 7/0 or 8/0 hook. They can also be caught on artificial lures, feathers, or spoons. When a schooling dolphin is hooked, the rest of the school will often stay nearby. Chumming cut bait will bring them in and create a frenzy of activity. Dolphin is a favorite seafood item for many people.

 Eating Qualities

The best, served in many restaurants in Florida.

 State Limits and Regulations

Size Limit  Closed Season  Daily Rec. Bag Limit  Remarks
Atlantic -20" Fork
Gulf:None
None 10 per person per day or 60 per boat. Vessel limit does not apply to for hire vessels. Must be landed whole. Gulf-None.

 
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