How To Catch Dorado – Best Methods

One of the most colorful fish in the entire sea, the dorado is a fun fish to catch. They are amazing creatures for many different reasons. They are very colorful, they fight hard, and they are fun to catch. Also, they have great-tasting meat. As saltwater fishing becomes more popular, many anglers are looking into how to catch dorado. The Mahi-mahi or common dolphinfish is an exotic species of colorful fish found in saltwater exclusively. There are a few ways to catch this pretty fish. We are going to cover some of those techniques so you can catch some for yourself.

They are a very popular gamefish and there are many rods, reels, lines, and lures out there specifically for catching it. If you are wanting a picture or something else, this is the fish for you. They can be taken on quite a lot of different techniques and it is really up to you to decide which one is your favorite. Its up to you to experiment to see which methods work best for the places where you fish. The techniques presented may work differently depending on where you go to target these deep, lustrous, ocean-dwellers. Always remember to have fun on your trip!

Mahi-Mahi Fishing Location Guide 101 – The Big Ones

An excellent thing about fishing for this fish is that they have populations in many parts of the world. You can find fish in all of the tropical areas including the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. The biggest specimens are usually found in the Pacific Ocean off of the coast of Florida, United States of America. They also have populations in subtropical areas and this can make finding the fish easy. They have also been caught in abundant numbers around Costa Rica, Panama, and Hawaii. The main thing to remember is that the process should be similar.

Look for them near weed lines. Weed lines house plentiful numbers of baitfish and squid which are what the fish naturally feed on. They are also very attracted to cover. By cover, we mean anything in the water other than the the construction of the bottom. Things to check out include floating logs, rocks, entire trees, and even nets. If it has the potential to house any baitfish at all, it has a more likely chance of attracting these prolific fish. Look for them by following bait first.

Using The Right Tackle Is The Best Way To Catch Them

Dorado fish with a fishing lure in its mouth jumping out of the water.

While the Mahi-Mahi is an incredibly great fighting fish, having the right tackle makes it easier to catch them. While you do not want to use tackle big enough for blue marlin, you certainly should have a setup that is up to the job. Dorado normally get up to forty nine pounds. That means you need excellent line tied with a strong knot. You will want to couple that with a very stout rod and a good quality baitcasting or spinning reel. There is a setup that we suggest using.

First, the rod needs to be great quality. Okay, it doesn’t have to be, but you need to make sure it will not snap in your face since you retrieved it from clearance for half off. Choose a very stiff rod that is capable of catching forty pound fish with ease. This is as big as they get and this will make your life so much easier. Next, make sure you have a great quality reel capable of generating at least thirty pounds of drag. You can get by with twenty but its better to be safe than sorry. Finally, spool the reel with twenty to forty pound braided fishing line. Tie good knots.

Lure Selection And Bait Options That Work Everywhere

One of the most helpful, possibly the best source of information, is that they love to chase baitfish. Being the main food source, baitfish make up most of the diet. For this reason, bringing a box of the best Mahi-Mahi lures with you is recommended. The most popular method of catching them is by trolling. The most popular bait options include rigged cigar minnows, ballyhoo, and squid. Even so, you can also take them on live bait as well as spoons, jigs, or squid lures. Although you can catch them by casting, it is more effective to go trolling for them.

Dorado fish with a crankbait in its mouth.

Techniques That Are Popular For The Dorado (Mahi-Mahi)


Most dorado are caught by trolling. This is the most popular method. Trolling is the act of letting fishing lures or baits swim behind your boat. Try trolling lures like crankbaits, spoons, squid lures, and plastic minnows. Try trolling at a slower speed for the best results. Run your baits on braided line. Don’t forget to use incredibly sharp hooks too. Since they are not the only fish in the ocean, you will want to use tackle that gives you a decent chance at catching whatever else may bite.

Surface Casting

There are many times when you can get some heart-pounding strikes on topwater lures. These blue water acrobats can produce some incredibly great strikes at the surface. It is actually one of the most exciting ways to catch them. Try to choose a lure that is very erratic and causes plenty of water displacement. Popular options to choose include propeller lures, topwater walkers, poppers, and jerkbaits. Color match the natural forage to get the most bites possible.


Jigging is a great way to catch a good number of small to medium-sized mahi. The best lures to throw are bucktail jigs and jigging spoons. Jigging spoons are often a lot brighter than bucktail jigs and have a little more action. If you have a boat, vertical jigging can lend itself to some very nice catches. Try using a bigger jig in warmer water because the fish are more aggressive. In colder water, try using a smaller jig with a little less action. If the water has enough current, you can even leave jigs still in the water to catch fish. Always use very sharp hooks on your jigs.

Live Or Cut Bait Drifting

If lures are not producing, there is something else you can try. Try using real bait on your hook. Try some bait drifting. Bait drifting is a technique where real bait is attached to a hook and allowed to float at a certain depth through the water. The main difference between drifting and basic still fishing is motion. Unlike a basic bobber rig that stays still, drifting is when the rig moves. The motion in the water is what attracts the fish to your bait. For obvious reasons, this is more effective in saltwater. Try live or cut baits like ballyhoo, other fish, and squid for results.

To Sum Everything Up – Many Ways To Catch Dorado

To sum everything up, there are quite a few ways on how to catch dorado. Why you can be efficient just by simply casting and trolling, following certain tips and techniques will help you put more fish in the boat. Moreover, remember to use the right bait and always make sure the fish the right areas. It’s as simple as going where the fish are at the right time and putting a bait in front of them. What is your favorite way to catch the mahi-mahi fish? Let us know below!

6 thoughts on “How To Catch Dorado – Best Methods”

    • Technically, you do not really NEED specialty rods. They are just helpful and make things easier. As long as your line is good and drag is set, you will be fine.

  1. So I have seen this fish pop up. What is it actually called? I promise that I saw this same fish somewhere else but it was called something different.

    • Its called by many names. The most common is the Mahi-mahi. It is also called a dorado or common dolphinfish.


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