The Dolphinfish, or Mahi Mahi, is at home in the tropical and subtropical areas of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. In the eastern Atlantic, it roams between France and the mouth of the Congo, reaching as far south as Africa’s southern tip. Pacific numbers range from the coast of Oregon and California south to Peru and the Galapagos, as well as the Philippine Islands, the Sea of Japan, Taiwan, and the Sea of Okhotsk. Comfortable in either coastal or open waters, Dolphinfish also prefer to hang out offshore and in the open sea under floating objects, such as mats of seagrass. The greater abundance of Dolphinfish are found in the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Straits, and throughout the Caribbean.
Dolphinfish are immediately distinguishable by a few particular features. Adult males feature a large bony crest in front of a blunt head containing many small teeth, and both sexes have a single dorsal fin that extends from the eye almost to the tail. It is a colorful fish, featuring golden hues on the sides, metallic blue and/or green highlights along the sides and tail, with yellow and white undersides. These colors fade to a silvery, uniform blend soon after they are caught. Commonly weighing 30 pounds and about three feet long, the record for Dolphinfish was caught near Papagallo Gulf, Costa Rica, and weighed 87 pounds.
Dolphinfish feed on crustaceans, zooplankton, squid, and other fish, such as triggerfish, flying fish, juveniles of tuna, billfishes, jacks, and mackerels. It travels in schools when young, later choosing to travel alone or in pairs when fully mature. Agile and swift out of necessity, in order to escape Sailfish and other threats, the Dolphinfish is a successful predator which feeds mostly during the day, and is able to outrun and physically overcome most prey. Prized commercially and for sport, the Dolphinfish is an extremely popular target for anglers and many other folks. A great battler – fleet, strong, and determined – this is also one of the better-tasting fish, making it just as sought after at the dinner table as it is from the deck of a boat. Not only the dedicated angler enjoys Dolphinfish, but part-timers also, choose sunny, tropical environments to wet an occasional line.