Mahi on the Menu

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Fish like this will serve up nicely on the grill.

You want to catch a big ‘ol mahi-mahi and grill up some steaks for dinner? Of course you do – who wouldn’t?! Fortunately, most of the time mahi are relatively cooperative fish that are willing to bite and travel in large packs. Some days, you can literally load the cooler. If, that is, you employ these tips.

mahi mahi

Fish like this will serve up nicely on the grill.

Trollers – Make sure you have something pink in the spread. Yes, mahi will often hit just about anything, but they do show a strong preference for pink lures on some days. A pink-skirted ballyhoo, plastic squid daisy chains, and pink chuggers are all good choices. As you troll around be sure to take a pass as close as possible by any flotsam, buoys, or weedlines, because these fish will often be hiding nearby.

Bailers – Toss plenty of goodies (chopped fish or squid) over the side when you find a school to bail on. If the fish aren’t fired up you can usually activate them by throwing some live baitfish into the water. When all else fails, rig a whole squid on a hook, toss it out, and allow it to free-fall. As a squid sinks through the water its tentacles wave and wiggle and the mahi are almost always unable to resist. You may also be able to get sketchy fish to bite by dropping leader size all the way down to 20-pound fluoro but if you do so, be sure to use circle hooks. Otherwise there’s a good chance the fish will get hooked deeper than the jaw and chafe you off during the fight.

Fly Casters – Fly casters? Yes, absolutely – there’s no pelagic gamefish that presents a better target, because once you locate a school and get it chewing the mahi will attack a streamer with abandon. Start by tossing plenty of chunks over the side to get the fish feeding and excited. Then, use a two-hand strip to send the streamer zooming through the fray. Don’t worry, you can’t possibly strip too quickly for these fish. When one takes the lure set the hook by hand, and you’ll have a much better strike-to-hookup ratio than you will if you switch to the rod.


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