We filmed episode three of Got Bait? while fishing for mahi-mahi at Poor Man’s canyon, off the Delmarva coast, and once again I was reminded of just what a cool fish this species is. They strike hard, fight like crazy, jump clear of the water, and as an added bonus they taste great. We had schools of 10 to 50 fish around us as we filmed, and the action was nothing short of spectacular.
Want to get in on action like this? Stay tuned for this episode, and you’ll learn a lot about fishing for them. In the meantime, here are five tips that will get you cranking on mahi-mahi madness.
1. Look for any type of flotsam the size of a five-gallon bucket, or larger. Mahi often congregate under boards, weed paddies, lobster pot floats, or just about anything else you can spot floating on the ocean’s surface. I’ve found them swimming beneath items ranging from a pizza box to a refrigerator (seriously). But ignore mylar balloons; you’ll see plenty floating on the ocean’s surface, but for some reason, they seem to never hold fish.
2. When you spot that flotsam, toss a handful of chopped fish or squid into the water, and watch it as it sinks. If dolphinfish are present, you’ll usually see them streak over to the baits and start eating. Now’s the time to toss in a bait with a hook buried in it.
3. If you see the fish swim over to your bait, stop, and turn away, you need to down-size your leader and/or cover the hook better, with more bait. Although mahi-mahi often eat with abandon, they do get leader shy at times.
4. Take a livewell full of bullhead minnow out with you, when you go mahi fishing. Even the most suspicious fish go into a feeding frenzy, when you toss a handful of minnow into the water.
5. If you’re casting lures—maybe you didn’t bring enough bait, or maybe you just never expected to encounter this species and didn’t come prepared—choose something bright, like pink, white, silver or green. And as you retrieve it crank your reel as fast as you possibly can. These are speedy fish; you can’t possibly move your lure too fast for them, and a fast-moving lure triggers their instinct to feed.
For more tips about catching mahi offshore, and to learn what "bailing" means, read Got Bait? Gaffers, Chickens, Bulls, and Cows. And to receive updated notices of Got Bait? episodes, be sure to “Like” the boats.com Facebook page and subscribe to our YouTube channel.