Mahi Mahi – An Overview of this King of the Open Ocean

Mahi Mahi Naples fishing boat

Cocoa Beach offshore fishing charters discuss the Mahi Mahi, a prized gamefish for anglers throughout Florida

Also known as the Common Dolphin-fish, the Mahi Mahi (Coryphaena hippurus) is an offshore fish known for its vigorous fight, incredible acrobatics and delicious taste. It is also one of the most popular gamefish for general anglers and offshore fishing charters around Cocoa Beach and throughout Florida.

The Mahi Mahi itself has an interesting and unique appearance. Unlike the vast majority of other fish species, the Mahi Mahi’s dorsal fin extends almost all the way down their back. Also, their heads look differently than most other fish.

If you’re visiting Cocoa Beach and considering an offshore fishing charter, the Mahi Mahi will provide both a heart-pumping fight and a fine gourmet meal at the end of the day. We invite you to continue reading to learn more about this fast swimming Caribbean/sub- tropical fish.

Appearance – There’s so much to discuss regarding the Dolphin’s appearance. Like we explained above, the dorsal fin on this prized gamefish runs all the way from their head down the back. Also, their heads are much flatter in the front, rather than sloped like other fish species. The head on males will be much flatter while the females’ heads are more rounded. The Mahi Mahi has blue spots on their sides with a greenish color toward the top of the body and yellow on the bottom. Their body is slender and long, which allows them to swim quite fast, and their flesh is soft yet oily.

Weight and Length – The Mahi Mahi is a pretty substantial fish when compared to inshore species like the Redfish or Speckled Trout, but it certainly isn’t the biggest offshore fish. Any Mahi Mahi running in schools will be smaller but still average 20 pounds. Larger and more mature Mahi Mahi can reach 50 pounds while a few have been known to reach 80 pounds. The typical Mahi Mahi caught on offshore fishing charters in Cocoa Beach will range between 15 and 29 pounds. On average, the Mahi Mahi will be around 3 to 4.5 feet in length.

Habitat – Dolphin are found offshore throughout Florida’s coast, the Bahamas and the Caribbean. They prefer water that’s at least 68 degrees according to the FWC. They are always on the prowl in the open ocean in search of food and often found along weedlines (i.e. sargassum) or any large objects floating in the water. Anglers and fishing charters can often spot a school of Dolphin by seeing if any birds are feeding.

Diet and feeding patterns – Adult Mahi Mahi will feed on a variety of small fish and crustaceans, including bait fish, squids, crabs and even mullet. They stay on the constant prowl for food and spend their time in the epipelagic zone since it has good light to allow algae to grow and for the Mahi Mahi to see.

Breeding season – The Mahi Mahi is one of the fastest growing fish and reach around 3 feet in length by the end of their first year. They are also ready to breed by 4 to 5 months of age. Spawning occurs year round in the warm waters off Florida and the Caribbean, but spring and fall are their busiest times. Females can spawn two to three times a year and disperse anywhere from 80,000 to over 1,000,000 eggs per spawn. The newly hatched Dolphins are commonly found in seaweed patches.

Regulations – Although the Mahi Mahi’s numbers are quite healthy, there are rules for any fish caught in waters off Florida. Ones caught in the Gulf of Mexico do not have any minimum size requirements while ones caught off Cocoa Beach in the Atlantic must have a minimum fork length of 20 inches. The Dolphin’s daily bag limit is either 10 per person or 60 per vessel.

Again, while the Mahi Mahi isn’t endangered, these rules for Cocoa Beach anglers and offshore fishing charters are important for maintaining these numbers for future generations.

Captain Joseph Smith of Fin Factor Charters has extensive experience fishing for Mahi Mahi offshore from Cocoa Beach. If you’re new to offshore fishing, Capt. Joe will be able to coach you on the proper techniques for casting and landing a Mahi Mahi. Click here to learn more, or visit to check availability or to schedule your excursion today!

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