The vibrant greens, yellows and blues found on dorado make it one of the most recognizable fish in the ocean. In their natural underwater state dorado are bright yellow, but when excited or hunting parts of their bodies seem to be glow a neon blue. After they pass their bodies turn a darker shade of green which makes their color transition more dramatic and rapid than any other fish in the ocean. This transformation has earned dorado the nickname “the most colorful fish in the sea.”
Dorado have as many names throughout the world as their bodies do colors. On the Atlantic they are often referred to as dolphin or dolphinfish while on the Pacific they are often referred to by their Hawaiin name, mahi-mahi. It is most often in Latin America they are referred to as dorado, which means ‘golden’.
Most dorado that are caught are in the 10-30 lb range, especially those found in large schools. Mature adults can weigh over 50 lbs with monsters weighing in at 75 lbs. Male dorado, referred to as bulls, are the exception among many pelagic species in that they are often bigger than their female counterparts. Bull dorado are also very distinguishable by their blunt, vertical forehead while females are more rounded.
WHAT THEY EAT: Offshore they feed on squid, flying fish, small bonito, mackerel, crabs and many other species of smaller or juvenile fish. Dorado are much easier to hook on circle hooks than billfish as they typically come into your spread in a frenzy ready to eat while many times billfish will whack your bait with their bills before eating.
WHERE TO FIND THEM: Dorado are found all over the globe in tropical and temperate seas. Although occasionally found inshore, they are a migratory pelagic species that often live in large schools. Although mature adults will roam the open waters, dorado are notorious for hiding out along current flows and trash lines where they use anything from trees to floating garbage as cover.