Mahi Mahi

June 8
Outside the reef: We are catching lots of yellowed eyed red snapper, red grouper are biting and so are reef sharks. I’ve caught four Mahi mahi in the past week. Hillyboo caught six in one day.
Inside the Reef: I caught a 15 pound cubera snapper right under Roberto’s parasail boat at Fidos dock. I know I am not supposed to fish there but this fish had been taunting me everyday for a week and I just couldn’t resist. Barracuda are biting as usual and so are mutton snapper and porgy.
Flats: Bonefish, Barracuda and Permit are all being caught on the flats.

Mahi mahi are an excellent pelagic sportfish both in their beauty and fight. The coloration of Mahi mahi is the most vivid, iridescent blue and green you can possibly imagine. The genders are differentiated by the large bulbous head on the males, whereas females have a slender head. Mahi mahi live only four years but grow to enormous size, the largest ever caught was in the Bahamas and it weighed 88 pounds. Juveniles, in the two to three pound range, travel in schools of up to 30 fish where adults usually travel in groups of six or smaller.

We don’t really see the smaller juvenile schools of mahi mahi here in Belize; the Mahi mahi we get here are adults over twenty pounds. This is the month where I catch these fish everyday. Mahi mahi feed very close to the surface on everything from flying fish to jelly fish. This month Mahi mahi can be found under weed lines or any type of flotsam. You can catch them trolling, drifting and even fly fishing. Mahi mahi is the only pelagic fish locally that is caught regularly in summer months by sight casting.

Mahi mahi are huge, and bring a lot of fight for avid fishermen...Captain Dilzon has had a heck of a time catching this fish, but it sure is a lot of fun!

I am very effective at catching Mahi mahi by slowly trolling live sardines at the surface in about 500 feet of water. Once I get one on I know that that fish on my line will be followed by several other excited Mahi mahi all the way to the boat. That’s when I break out the light spinning tackle or fly rod and begin sight casting with unwieghted live sardines at the following fish. Once I get one on the line I can always hook up several at once. I remember one time this happened when sideman “Carne Dulce” was down with a severe “goma”, forcing me to fish alone. So there I was; I had two Mahi mahi on two separate lines. So what did I do? I held two rods between my toes on each foot and reeled with both of my hands while I drove the boat with my teeth and held the gaff between my ears. I landed both fish and they were at least 50 pounds apiece! I was proud. I was sore all over my body for days, because it took every appendage I had except one to land those two big monster Mahi mahi.

These fish fight by making a series of long explosive runs with multiple acrobatic leaps skyward to shake the hook. Since you catch these in groups, you’re in for an exciting half hour of fishing once you hook the first one.

As I write this, sideman “Carne Dulce” is refueling Reef Hunter. Later, I’ll be busy- busy rigging baits. We are readying ourselves for some serious offshore Mahi mahi action. If you want to see what real big Mahi mahi look like, drop by Fidos around four in the afternoon, enjoy a few nice cold Belikins at the bar, then walk on down to the dock and I’ll show you what big Mahi mahi look like.

Captain Dilzon Murcia is the project manager for Island Ferry and owner operator of Dilzon Charters, a sport fishing charter business. To catch the fish featured this week, and other large fish, call Dilzon at 620-6118 or drop by the Island Ferry office and schedule your next fishing adventure.

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