How to land a dorado in the waters of Cabo

Dorado a.k.a. Mahi-Mahi

Scientifically named Coryphaena hippurus, the dorado (meaning “golden” in Spanish) is a popular, brightly colored game fish with many aliases. In Hawaii, it is referred to as mahi-mahi which translates to “strong strong” in Hawaiian. This name reflects how powerful this fish is, not to mention how fast it can go in the water. The term mahi-mahi is usually used in the United States particularly in restaurants, even though its English name is “common dolphinfish”.  Perhaps restaurant owners want to avoid turning off customers with a dish that states dolphinfish because it may be mistaken as dolphin, its beloved mammal namesake.

The dorado comes in different bright hues like yellows, blues, and greens which makes them a favorite trophy target of avid fishermen. When in a hunting mood, some parts of their bodies emit a neon blue kind of glow. Don’t be fooled by their pretty looks because they can be fierce opponents.  These hard-fighting game fish are capable of sprinting and jumping in the water. The dorado is best caught in Cabo between the months of July to November and when you hook one, it would surely put up a battle that you will never forget.

In the event that you catch a small dorado, it is advisable to release it and give the small ocean speedster a chance to grow. The male dorado, called “bulls” have big flat foreheads and they grow bigger than their female counterparts. Known as aggressive eaters, they can grow extremely fast and weigh anywhere between 50 to 80 lbs. in a span of five to six years. The biggest recorded dorado is 87 lbs. which was caught in the waters of Costa Rica in 1976.

Catching a dorado

Landing a dorado

If your heart is set on a dorado, here are some tips that may help you land one. Begin by getting a Cabo fishing charter and let the dorado hunt begin.

Fishing technique – Offshore trolling in Cabo is the ideal method for pursuing the dorado.  Jigging, casting and chunking are also effective in catching these ocean speedsters.

Lures – Trolling lures such as rubber skirts intended for billfish, trolled rigged plugs, and feather lures for tuna are effective on dorado.  You can also cast a popper or bucktail which the dorado finds hard to resist. Some anglers prefer to use lipless swimmers and conventional swimmers.

It’s a good idea to keep pre-cut chum that you can throw in the water when you spot a dorado.  Doing so can lure the targeted speedster near your fishing charter and give you an opportunity to deploy your baited hook.

Baits – The dorado is known for its gluttonous appetite but there’s still a chance that you might encounter a picky eater. Therefore, it’s an advantage to carry small live bait to entice stubborn fish. The best baits for the dorado are traditional bait fish such as the Pacific mackerel and sardines but larger dorado can swallow bigger baits.

Tackle – The dorado are often caught using heavy tackle meant for large fish such as marlin however, conventional medium weight tackle may also be used.  An angler who uses a lighter baitcasting rod and reel for a 30-pounder or more dorado might find himself/herself in for a tough wrestling match.

Watch out for loose kelp paddies, patches of sargassum seaweed, and floating debris such as wood because they may hold speedsters. Another sign is the sight of birds swooping down to feed off bits and pieces of bait fish resulting from a game fish feeding frenzy.  Zeroing in on these conditions and setting your spread can increase dorado strikes.

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