Coryphaena hippurus

Northern WA, NSW/ACT, Southern QLD, Northern QLD, NT
Offshore, Structure

Mahi-Mahi, also known as Dolphin Fish, Dolphinfish and Dorado (Spanish for gold) are an extremely exciting fish to catch. They are commonly found in warmer waters. Mahi-Mahi can grow up to 35-45kg and up to around 2m but are frequently caught at 2-10kg around Australia. They are extremely fast growing pelagic fish, growing 1cm a day where food is plentiful. Mahi-Mahi means powerful in the Hawaiian language.


Mahi-Mahi are a spectacular looking fish with a strong, compressed body that extends with a single dorsal fin to the tail. The mature males are obvious with prominent foreheads, like a human head with a huge mouth and the body of an ultra-fast fish that's all nerve and muscle.

The dorsal fin extends like mohawk from the forehead to the tail. The coloring is black on the top blending to gold and yellow on the sides and belly. This iridescent metallic duco is splash with with brilliant flecks of blue-silver and black.

Misidentification of Mahi-Mahi is impossible.

Strangely beautiful, Mahi-Mahi start changing colours when taken out of the water, until fading into a pale ghoulish grey and black on death.


Mahi-Mahi are just about always found in warmer water but have been caught off the coast of Victoria and even in South Australia (on rare occasions). This highly spectacular and beautiful gamefish found in warmer waters from the west coast of Australia at Geographe Bay in Western Australia right around the northern tip and down the eastern coast to Bermagui in New South Wales.


Mahi-Mahi are generally found chasing baitfish. Pilchards and Garfish are excellent for catching Mahi-Mahi. Other than baitfish, Mahi-Mahi are also attracted to a wide variety of fishing lures, including hardbody fishing lures and soft plastic fishing lures. These fish can be caught by trolling or casting minnow, feather jigs or pusher type lures close to debris.

Because Mahi-Mahi are extremely aggressive fish, they tend to go after lures that make a lot of noise and have a lot of action.

You will need quality fishing tackle when you are chasing Mahi-Mahi. Quality overhead or spin fishing reels are required. It is best to use a minimum of a 15kg fishing rod and 30lb fishing line. While Mahi-Mahi are a powerful and aggressive fish, they don’t fight as hard as one may expect. It is possible to catch them on lighter gear, that’s if you are game enough to go chasing them on a smaller boat. It’s best to use a strong fluorocarbon fishing line with a strong leader.

Mahi-Mahi are regularly around floating debris and Fish Aggregating Devices (FAD's) are now set in many areas to attract this and other pelagic species. Hundreds of Mahi-Mahi can be concentrated around a floating log.

In areas of increased fishing, cut bait or whole fish and live bait are needed to catch Mahi-Mahi. Unweighted large peeled prawns drifted towards the school can take Mahi-Mahi when other methods are not getting a bite.