How to catch Dolphin Fish (Mahi Mahi)

About: Mahi Mahi, also known as Dolphin Fish, are a fast growing Pelagic fish. Commonly found in warmer water, but occasionally have been caught off the coast of Victoria and South Australia by tuna fishermen.

Dolphin fish can grow up to 35-45 kilos and up to around 180cm.


The further south you fish, the more critical role the currents play. So keep an eye out on the sea surface temperatures and look for those warm spots.


Mahi Mahi will be found chasing bait fish in the open water but tend to hang around floating debris like driftwood or sea weed. There are man made items which are put out to achieve the same effect these are called FADs (Fish Aggregating Devices). There are some FADs which are put out every year and the GPS marks are released.


Mahi Mahi chase all sorts of bait fish, so consider using Pilchards or Garfish as a start. Live bait is best if you can source it. Yakka’s are awesome and so are smaller Slimy Mackerel. If there are a lot of birds about make sure you cast out the live baits nice and low to avoid them from getting stunned when they hit the water. This way they’ll swim straight away and avoid a bird from snatching them


Some of our favorite lures for Dolphin Fish include the following:

Richter Soft Oscars (best all round)

Richter Soft Grassy (best light tackle)

Pakula Mosquito

Bonze Karma (heavy tackle favorite)

Links are to eBay deals.


Since you may come across some larger specimens, or even a big Tuna or Billfish, make sure you use some quality tackle. You can use either overhead or spin outfits. Something like a 15kilo rod with 30lb line is an ideal starting point. Dolly’s are known for their aerial antics, so having a quality rod will help keep the line tight and avoid the fish spitting the hooks.


Tie a double in the end of your line using a plait or Bimini knot and then put some quality 60lb leader on the end either by tying it on or better yet invest in a wind on leader. Whether you use lures or bait, the same outfit can be used.

If you are using bait, try rigging a running sinker with a set of ganged hooks on the end. This way you can rig a whole Pilchard and cast it and let if slowly sink.


If you are targeting the FADs, make sure you don’t motor right up to them. Try being as stealthy as possible to avoid spooking the fish.

Try using some very small skirted lures, like the soft grassy, if you’re not getting any action. You need to try match the hatch and often a small lure can catch the biggest fish.

Use quality hooks, especially when it comes to ganged hooks. These fish pull hard and will straighten most cheap, low quality hooks.