Dorado (Mahi-Mahi): How to Catch, Clean, and Cook

The Dorado fish, also commonly known as the Mahi Mahi, is one sought-after catch! The amazing mix of fluorescent yellow and green colors across its many scales makes it easily one of the most eye-catching fishes you could possibly reel in. 

With an incredible color palette and a truly impressive size, it’s no real surprise that the Dorado has become something of a celebrity in the fishing world. 

As with any specific type of fish, of course, there are only certain places where you can effectively find the Dorado consistently, and there are specific ways in which you can reel it in.

We assume you’re reading this now because you want to improve your chances of catching the elusive Dorado, right? Well, you’ve come to just the right place. We’ve scoured numerous resources to show you the best way to reel in your very own Dorado!

female angler holds fresh caught mahi mahi

And, once you’ve caught yourself a perfect Dorado, we’ll also show you how you can clean it and then cook it, to prepare perfect meals that will amaze your taste buds.

Read on below to get started in finding and catching the Dorado to wow your fishing buddies!

What Is The Dorado?

The scientific name for the Dorado is ‘Coryphaena Hippurus’, which refers directly to the family to which the Dorado belongs: The Coryphaenidae. It is one of only two that fit into this family, the other being the Pompano Dolphinfish.

In fact, both are referred to as ‘Dolphinfish’ due to their size. However, neither of these two species share any relation to dolphins, unlike most common assumptions.

The Dorado is most easily identified by its golden color, which is accented by green and blue patches across the scales. This gives it a very vibrant look that makes it very easy to identify. They also have very compact and barrel-shaped bodies, with only the heads protruding from the overall body shape. 

In terms of weight, Dorados tend to weigh in at around 7 kilograms to 13 kilograms. Many Dorado have been caught that exceed this weight, with some of the biggest weighing in at around 18 kilograms! 

Where Can You Catch The Dorado?

You can most easily find the Dorado situating itself around tropical off-shore waters. You’ll most likely find them in the open waters, and very often near coastal areas. So you don’t have to go too far off land to find one of your own. 

Dorado tend to prefer slightly warmer waters, and they are often found all across the world, across circumglobal waters. You might be more likely to find them just off of the coast of a country with plenty of warm air, and thus plenty of warm seawater. They have most commonly been caught around the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. However, they have been known to pop up elsewhere fairly often.

The Dorado can usually be spotted from a boat by looking towards the middle of the waters. They reside a lot closer to the surface of the water than other fish, and this is often due to the fact that they are on the hunt for smaller fish to feed on.

How Do You Catch The Dorado?

There are many different things that you can do to improve your chances of luring in the Dorado fish. Amongst these are things such as choosing the correct rods, reels, and baits, as well as the correct techniques to increase the likelihood of reeling one in.

Let’s start towards catching your Dorado by looking at some of the best equipment you can get to help you there.

What Equipment Should You Have To Catch The Dorado?

There are many varying lures, reels, rods, and baits that you can choose from to increase your likelihood of catching a Dorado. But how are you supposed to choose the perfect combo? That is quite a tall order, so we’ve done the difficult part for you. Read below to find out some of the best equipment you can use to hunt for the Dorado.

Which Rod Should You Have To Catch The Dorado?

Dorado fish can vary slightly in terms of size and weight. As we mentioned earlier, some Dorado fish can weigh as little as 7 kilos, while some can weigh well in excess of 13 kilos.

In order to catch slightly smaller and lighter Dorado fish, you should aim to use a rod such as the StarRods 7.5 foot inshore rod. This rod offers great sturdiness and is capable of putting up a fight against even some of the toughest fish. When we tested it, we were thoroughly impressed. 

Regardless of whether you are catching a larger or smaller Dorado, you should generally aim to grab yourself a rod with a great sense of strength and with enough resistance to pull in fish that exceed 13 kilos. This way, you’ll be prepared for Dorados of any size or weight. 

Which Reel Should You Have To Catch The Dorado?

Any good fishing rod needs a good reel to go with it. They’re like bread and butter. Where it counts, you truly cannot have one without the other. Thus, if you are planning to catch a Dorado, you need to ensure that you have a reel with comparable durability and strength to the rod you are using. 

One of the best reels for your money is the Penn Battle II reel. This reel features an incredible build that not only does wonders for wrestling against the toughest of fish, but also looks great doing what it does.

It is built to fight against fish of incredible sizes, to make them feel much smaller than they are. It offers precise, to-the-moment control, so that you can always stay on top, and reduce the risk of your line snapping. 

Speaking of fishing lines…

What Fishing Line Should You Have To Catch The Dorado?

Much like with both the reel and the rod themselves, you need your fishing line to be incredibly sturdy, and to have a great tensile strength to allow you to reel in fish of incredible size and weight, without snapping. 

One of the best fishing lines we’ve come across is the AKvto Premium Monofilament line which has an incredible sense of resistance that allows it to survive under the harshest of conditions. The line can maintain its integrity in saltwater for long periods, so you can cast out and wait for that perfect catch to grab on.

It will also stand up to intense fights with even some of the strongest fish, thanks to the incredible nylon materials that make it up. And, should the line snag on an underwater rock or other danger, it will maintain its strength to come out totally unscathed, so not even nature can stop you from getting that prize catch!

Perhaps best of all, this line can also allow your bait to cut through the water much quicker, while also hitting the exact layer of the water column that you are searching for. This makes it much easier to capture the Dorado, as they tend to prefer to stick towards the middle of the water.

Whichever line you choose in the end, you should make sure that it has the right stuff for the job. You will want it to have enough strength of its own while also allowing you to utilize your own strength to get the best catches possible. 

What Lure Should You Use To Catch The Dorado?

If you’re aiming to attract some Dorado to come out and bite your bait, you will need to grab yourself a lure that has a convincing and enticing look. Most Dorado fish are caught with trolling lures, which are designed to look and move like dying fish, flapping around on the surface of the water. 

Keep in mind that we mentioned earlier that Dorado fish tend to hunt for prey around the surface of the water, where smaller fish tend to congregate.

A dying fish of considerable size at the top of the water would be particularly enticing to a Dorado, hence why trolling lures work so well in such a case. 

Trolling lures are very common and very easy to use, so you won’t have to pay an extortionate amount to grab one of your own. As long as it convincingly moves about on the surface of the water, then it should do the job amazingly. 

What Bait Should You Use To Catch The Dorado?

Bait may seem like a largely unimportant decision when it comes to fishing, but with the right bait, you can catch an incredibly varied range of fish. Certain fish thrive on certain diets and thus are enticed by entirely different baits. 

Luckily, Dorado bait is not hard to get a hold of, as Dorados tend to thrive on diets of smaller fish. Thus, baits made from smaller fish such as sardines work very effectively, as they will entice the Dorado over. Dorados also have rather small mouths despite their large size, so you must make sure to consider that your bait is not too big.

However, many who have caught Dorados of their own have been surprised to find that Dorados have particularly voracious appetites, and will often go for fish that are too big for their mouths, so you should also be fine with larger baits!

What Are Some Of The Best Techniques To Use To Catch A Dorado?

Now that we’ve gone through some of the best equipment you can have, and what you should look for in it, why don’t we now take a look at some of the best techniques you can utilize to help you to catch that Dorado you’ve been dreaming of catching. 

How Do You Troll For Dorado Fish?

One of the most popular and most recognizable methods for catching fish of any kind is trolling. Trolling is a method that involves slowly dragging a lure across the upper surface of the water to create the illusion of a dying fish. 

This entices fish over to catch a bite, especially those that reside towards the upper half of the water column, and fish that survive on diets of smaller fish.

Trolling is also a perfect method for catching a Dorado. As we have mentioned, Dorados tend to reside towards the middle of the water column, and towards the top. This means that they are highly susceptible to being tricked by the trolling method.

In order to use the trolling method, make sure that you have a trolling lure attached to the end of your line, and then cast out into the waters of your choice. Allow the lure to sit atop the water, and it will appear to larger fish below the water as though it were a dying smaller fish. 

You can also occasionally reel the lure in slightly, to further sell the illusion. The trolling technique also works at certain depths under the water, so you can use it to capture Dorados that are hiding a little bit deeper than usual.

Trolling can also work by having your boat drive forward slightly, while you drag the lure behind. This really helps to create the illusion of a dying fish, which becomes truly irresistible to a Dorado or other large fish.

How Do You Spearfish For The Dorado Fish?

While spearfishing may not be anywhere near as popular or conventional as trolling for different types of fish, it is still a very effective method. 

You can either use a speargun or a harpoon to shoot your spear straight towards your catch, or simply spear it with your own two hands when the moment strikes. 

Dorados often tend to swim about in packs of five of their own kind, so you should make a point of looking out for that iconic green and yellow color scheme floating beneath the water’s surface. Once you have found some, using the spearfishing method makes it much easier to pick out the largest one in the pack, so that you can always get an impressive catch every single time. 

You can choose to spearfish either from your boat or directly under the water. This makes it a highly active and involved method that requires some physical strength and dexterity.

However, this contrasts quite greatly with the more ordinary trolling method, which is more relaxing and methodical in its approach.

How Do You Use Line Of Sight Fishing For The Dorado Fish?

The Line of Sight method is great for allowing you to precisely target the Dorado fish when you spot it. If you spot a pack of dorado fish, or you notice flashes of the distinct Dorado color palette, simply cast your lure out towards that area. Upon seeing movement, the fish might initially disperse in a panic, but they will eventually be enticed by the slight movement of this new shape.

As we have mentioned before, Dorado fish tend to be very voracious, and love to eat whatever they can get their mouths on, so it won’t be too long before you find one of them tugging on your lure. 

If you want to really attract the Dorado using the line of sight method, you should make sure that you have some kind of chum attached to your lure, whether it is alive or dead. Dorados love snacking on these, so they definitely will not be able to resist getting caught on your line eventually.

What Else Can You Do To Maximize Your Odds Of Catching A Dorado Fish?

While all of the above-mentioned methods have their own benefits when it comes to catching the Dorado fish, there are also plenty of other things that you can do to maximize the odds of catching the Dorado. 

One of the best things you can do is prepare ahead of your fishing adventure, to ensure that you have everything you need.

If you are planning on luring in the fish with rods and reels, you should aim to have two distinct versions prepared ahead of time. This way, you can be prepared to switch between the line of sight and trolling methods on a whim.

Say you were coursing through the water on your boat and you notice the distinct colors of the Dorado. All you need to do is whip out your line of sight rod which already has bait prepared, in order to quickly make a catch when the opportunity presents itself. And then you can just as easily switch over to your trolling rod to continue on with more relaxed and laid-back fishing. 

You should also make sure to keep in mind that the Dorado is an incredibly strong and fast fish. As soon as it notices that it has been hooked, it will begin to pull very quickly. Thus, you need to be ready to react at a moment’s notice, so that your fishing line does not completely unspool. 

When a Dorado is pulling on your line, don’t be afraid to reel it in with some speed and force, as you will need both to be able to stand a chance of pulling the fish in more effectively. 

You can also look out for other objects or signals floating about in the water to let you know that Dorados are nearby. Look for smaller things such as Flotsam, especially when fishing in the pacific ocean. These help to signal that there may be Dorado nearby and that you might be near a great hotspot to make a good catch. 

Once you come up to a spot that looks to be populated with plenty of Dorado, start by throwing some chunks of food into the water to attract them over first.

This will get them to begin feeding and congregating around a single spot. It will also create a false sense of safety for the fish, so you can then cast in your lure, and catch one of them.

Remember that Dorados tend to stick to their packs, so you can use this to your advantage by grabbing one Dorado with your rod, but allowing it to stay in the water. The other Dorados will try to stay as close to the hooked fish as possible, so you can then hook multiple of them at the same time with a little bit of assistance.

cooked Mahi Mahi fillet on bed of rice

How Do You Clean A Dorado After Catching It?

Congrats! You’ve now caught yourself a fresh Dorado that truly looks amazing. After you’ve taken some incredible photographs to show off its size, you likely want to do something with what you’ve reeled in, right?

One of the best things you can do with the Dorado after catching it is, of course, cooking it! 

But, first, you need to clean it up. Many fishers aim to keep fish alive for a while after catching them, as dead fish can begin to spoil very quickly, and thus need to be kept on ice. If your fish is still alive, try to keep it that way until you come ashore. If it is dead, you should aim to clean and prepare it as soon as possible. 

You can start cleaning by cutting the Dorado from the anal orifice and then slowly dragging the knife up to the base of the mouth.

This will give you access to the fish’s organs. Slowly pull them all out, until the inside of the fish is completely emptied out. You may need to use a spoon or another device to scoop out some of the internal organs.

You can then, from there, chop off the head. You can also rinse the fish with plenty of fresh water, in order to clean off any small amounts of dirt.

Now the Dorado is ready to be fileted.

How Do You Filet A Dorado Fish?

Start from where the head of the Dorado meets the rest of the body. Insert your knife and cut downwards along the backbone, until you reach the tail.

From there, you can begin to cut a bit deeper and head back along the cut you just made, back towards the head. You should be able to feel your knife hitting the backbone as you go.

From here, grab your filet knife, and make a cut from around the center of the Dorado all the way to the tail. This cut should meet the first cut you made as you head down to the tail. This gives you a clean filet that you can then remove from the body. Lay this filet down elsewhere with the skin facing down. 

Then, all you need to do is flip the rest of the fish over, and repeat the process again on that side. 

Once you have two distinct and large filets, simply begin taking the skins off. Carefully run your knife between the flesh and the skin, until the skin comes off cleanly. Try to cut as close to the skin as possible, so that you don’t waste any of that precious meat. 

How Do You Cook The Dorado Fish?

There are so many ways that you can cook the Dorado fish once you have fileted it. 

One great method for cooking the Dorado is to prepare it like a steak. Dorado filets are very large, and thus they can benefit greatly from ordinary steak cooking methods.

You can fry the steaks for around 2 to 3 minutes on each side until the outer edges turn a sort of crispy golden brown. This is a perfect time frame, as it ensures that the Dorado cooks fully, but does not run the risk of burning or becoming incredibly dry and dissatisfying. 

You can even bake or grill your Dorado filets with numerous additional extras, such as a tangy lemon sauce, or with plenty of garlic and greens to create amazingly mouth-watering dishes that are also incredibly good for you. 

Your imagination is truly the only limit when it comes to cooking the Dorado. Try experimenting to see what exciting Dorado recipes you can come up with. You never know, you may be on to the next viral recipe idea! 

To Conclude

The Dorado is truly a worthwhile fish to spend your time trying to catch. It might pose somewhat of a challenge, especially for newer fishermen, or those with little experience, but the results are truly amazing.

It can be cooked in thousands of ways to create amazing dishes, and even catching a photo with the fish in hand is impressive enough thanks to its large size and dazzling color.

As long as you have the right stuff, the correct amount of patience, and the right desire, the Dorado fish will be yours in no time! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Dorado The Same As Mahi-Mahi?

Yes! The Dorado fish is the same as the Mahi Mahi. They are both just separate names used to refer to the same fish. The scientific name for the Dorado or the Mahi Mahi is ‘Coryphaena Hippurus’.

Are Dorado Fish Good To Eat?

Definitely. The Dorado fish has plenty of meat on its bones, which means there is plenty to cook. You can make delicious steaks, or even fry, boil, or bake a Dorado to access a whole range of amazing flavors. 

What Do Dorado Fish Taste Like?

The meat of the Dorado fish has a very distinct taste that has a slight sweetness to it. It goes delightfully with acidic flavors or roasted or baked with plenty of garlic or greens to draw out its flavor. It’s definitely a fish to savor, should you get the opportunity to taste it for yourself!

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Tommy Bull
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