Dorado Fish 101: Complete Diet, Care, And Fun Facts

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golden dorado

If you are a nature lover who enjoys the beauty in all flora and fauna around you, the contrasts of dazzling and subtle colors, and the vibrancy and dullness of life, then you cannot fail to be dazzled by a swimming Dorado.

Just picture an incandescent blue, green and golden streamlined beauty swimming at top speed in the blue of the ocean. Believe me, when I tell you that it’s a spectacular sight, one you will not forget in a hurry.

And, if you are also a fish taco lover, then you will agree with me that Dorado tastes as awesome as it looks. This saltwater pelagic fish is found in and is very popular all around the Tropical and subtropical regions of the world’s oceans.

So, what else is to know? Let’s find out.


What Is A Dorado Fish?


You would hardly come across another living thing which is known by so many different names. That too, in different languages.

This beautiful and vibrant-hued fish which is called Dorado in Latin America (meaning golden in Spanish), Mahi-Mahi (strong) in Hawaii, and Dolphin fish, all along with the English-speaking countries of the Atlantic belt.

Don’t confuse it with the Dolphins, which are mammals. It is a Saltwater fish most commonly found in the Tropical waters of the three major Oceanic regions of the world: Pacific, Atlantic, and the Indian Ocean.

image of a golden dorado

It has a compressed body with one long fin running from its head to tail. The tail fin is curved inward. Dorado fish has a beautifully colored body that changes color. While in water, its side is golden, its back is blue or green, and its tail is bright blue.

Once it is brought outside the water, it takes a yellow golden color, but when you put it away in your boat, it takes on a gray color.

Its maximum life span is 5 years, but very few live that long. The average length is one meter, weight 7-15 kg. It is carnivorous, feeding on small fish and crabs. It lives near the surface of the water and swims very fast owing to its slender body.

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Dorado Fish Fun Facts That You Should Know


  • In the scientific world, it’s known as Coryphaena hippurus.
  • It is called the most colorful fish in the sea, having an electric blue-colored back, shining silversides, golden body, and blue tail.
  • It is perhaps the only fish that changes color with the level of excitement it experiences. Normally it appears golden yellow when it is just swimming, but when it is chasing prey or is being chased, the hues of blues take over. When a chase is done, it turns dark green. And, when it dies, it turns gray.
  • Upon reaching maturity, there is a physical difference based on gender. Males have a forehead that is protruding out. While females have a circular-shaped heads.
  • It gets sexually mature at 5 months age when the females start laying eggs every 2-3 days all year round. Spawning is done in pairs.
  • It is a Pelagic fish found mostly near the coastline (swimming in pairs in case of adult fish). While the young swim in schools of about 50.
  • It feeds during the daytime on crabs, young tuna, and other small fish.
  • As for becoming food itself, it’s hunted by large Tuna, sailfish, and swordfish.
  • It is a prize catch for both the game fishers and the commercial ones. However, since it frequently reproduces around the year and matures quickly, its population size remains steady with the threat posed by overfishing neutralized.
  • Trolling for Mahi-Mahi is not very harmful to marine environments. But, longline fishing is discouraged by authorities as it puts sea turtles and other mammals at risk of bycatch.

The Diet Of A Dorado


Dorado is a carnivore as it likes to feast on other fish, invertebrates, larvae, and even zooplanktons. It normally eats during the daytime at irregular intervals. However, it doesn’t miss a sudden opportunity to gorge some more since it seems like a greedy fish with a healthy appetite.

Other than an occasional “free meal” in the form of bait which lures it to feed more, its feeding time is regulated by the weather conditions. Windy, cloudy weather with some rain thrown in is an ideal time for it to hunt. Such weather helps it find more prey to chase.

Since Dorado is found in Tropical regions, such stormy weather is a regular occurrence. Mahi-Mahi does have food preferences, but it does not waste the opportunity to feed on something different. It is an aggressive predator which swims very fast and chases a variety of ocean species.

This includes mammals like turtles. The regular feed of Dorado consists of smaller ocean fish such as triggerfish, but it also likes to feast on youngs of big fish like Dolphin, Tuna, and Mackerel.

It finds some invertebrates like jellyfish, crabs, and squids as palatable too. As you already know that it matures really quickly; this is made possible by the big appetite it has.

Because Mahi-Mahi pillages indiscriminately, it often ends up filling its belly with the trash entangled in the seaweed it feeds from.

Some of the Mahi, when gutted, their stomachs contain everything from plastic wrappers to light bulbs. So, that’s a red flag there all nature lovers must try and avoid by spreading awareness.

More reading: Salmon fish 101 – biography, tips, tricks & facts in 2022!


Where Can You Find Dorado (Mahi-Mahi)?


Mahi-Mahi, as has been mentioned earlier, is found in the tropical regions of all the world’s oceans and even the Mediterranean Sea. But, if you are interested in digging deep into specificity, you may look up for continent-wise country locations.

Schools of dorado fish are found in Mexico and Florida in North America, Costa Rica, and Panama in Central America. The Canary Islands and Cape Verde in Africa, Spain, and France in Europe, Australia, Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, as well as Tahiti and Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean.

image of mahi mahi dorado

Once you have decided on a general location, you need to know where to look precisely. Dolphin Fish (aka Mahi-Mahi) lives near the surface and mid-water level and does not go deeper than 80m.

You can find schools of these swimming in warmer water along the coastal line as well as in the open waters. You can spot them if you look carefully around the free-floating seaweeds in the area, as they’re often hunting small fish and larvae hiding underneath.


When is the Best Time to Fish for Dorado (Mahi-Mahi)?


Dorado is available abundantly all year round still; in some places taking a weather advisory is better, like in Australia, where Summer starts in December.

Since our Golden beauty is accustomed to temperate conditions, the ideal time for fishing in the southern hemisphere is in January and February. The weather at that time mimics the Tropical climate as it is humid and warm with a temperature drop of 20°F between day and night.

In Florida, on the other hand, it is better to go Mahi-Mahi fishing in June and July. In Central America, which is Tropical, any time of the year is fine for golden dorado fishing.

But the Mahi numbers decline in the dry season, which starts in December and ends in April. The numbers pick up again in the rainy season, starting in May. The rain flushes sea debris out, and the Golden girl loves to feast on the “delights” taking refuge underneath.


How To Catch Dorado? Mahi-Mahi Fishing.


There are three common ways to catch this fish. You can find relevant details as under.

Trolling:

In this method of fishing, you will have to ride a boat. A bait or lure is tied to the back of a moving boat with strings. It is supposed to entice the Mahi swimming nearby into biting one.

The advantage of this method lies in the amount of area a boat can cover, maximizing your chance of having a good catch. There are many gadgets and tools used to roll out the lures over a bigger area away from the boat.

This will ensure a number of lures trolled simultaneously to increase your odds of catching more fish. There are two types of lures you can use while trolling for Mahi-Mahi; plugs and surface lures.

Line of Sight Fishing:

Dorado is an agile fish that swims so fast that you will find yourself outrun by it if you are using the traditional reel. But insight fishing, you are on a boat stationed in the middle of the ocean, and you are dropping the bait via a fishing rod.

This method will work for you if you want to fish around floating debris on a stationary boat. You can drop your bait quite near the hidden Mahi and engage its attention. Since it’s a greedy fish, chances are it won’t pass on a free meal.

Cast and Spear method:

This method is used in commercial fishing as it yields sizable catches from the ocean. But it has a downside, that many sharks and whales get caught as bycatch, which puts the survival of these species at risk.


9 Tips And Tricks For Catching Dorado Fish.


  1. You must take along extra rods, baits, and other fishing gear. Do not waste time by planning to first spot Dorado and then plan to catch it. Be prepared to act fast with surplus supplies
  2. It is easier to hook Mahi on a circular hook.
  3. While you are on the lookout to spot Mahi-Mahi, try looking under the floating seaweeds, logs, and other debris. You might get lucky.
  4. If you are using ballyhoo for bait, and golden Dorado takes it, be ready to fight for your catch as it is one of the strongest fish.
  5. Dorado dolphins swim real fast, so entrap them as soon as you spot them. Don’t let them run away from your sight.
  6. If you are looking for this fish under a wreckage or debris, drop some pieces of fish so that it comes out to devour it. Once it starts eating the chunks, hook up the same bait and throw the rod in the water. You will definitely catch one.
  7. If you succeed in hooking one Mahi-Mahi, do not take out the golden fish immediately, as many others will surely be around. Your companion can throw in his bait at the same spot as well.
  8. You must cast them with a heavier lure because they are agile and strong and jump savagely, which could release the lure.
  9. Everyone will tell you that it is a pelagic fish, but do not restrict your search to the open waters only. They have been known to be caught along the shorelines too.

How To Spearfish Dorado Fish?


Spearfishing is an age-old method of catching fish by piercing the fish with a sharply pointed edge of a rod or spear. Primitive men, before the invention of nets and fishing rods, used to catch surface water fish by this method.

However, modern Spearfishing is a bit different as it is used not only to catch pelagic fish but underwater ones as well.

So the spearfishing gear now includes underwater sportswear and instruments like snorkeling and scuba diving equipment. Spearguns are of two types; slingshot ones and compressed gas spear guns.

image of a man spearfishing

Nowadays, not just spiky rods but tied-up projectiles are also fired underwater to impale fish. The use of spear guns extended the range of Spearfishing beyond shallow waters. In Some Places, diving aided by underwater breathing gear is employed to target deep ocean fish, which are then speared.

Spearfishing different species require different techniques and gears. For spearing Dorado, mostly a Polespear is used, which has a slip tip. When the Slip tip pierces the dorado, it gets separated from the pole and threads the fish between the tip and end of the spear.

Before Spearfishing, you must locate the golden Dorado first. You are likely to find it around the debris. Keep the target insight.

If you can hold your breath and dive down, the Mahi will follow you. Then get into the horizontal position and load the pole spear.

Target the first dolphinfish you find within your shooting range. Be mindful of the current in case your mark is off-target. Now take out the catch of the day, and head home to show it to your friends.


Dorado Spearfishing Tips: How You Can Spearfish Dorado?


  • Spotting Mahi-Mahi is easy as they usually hide underneath floating debris. You must be well acquainted with this idea till now. The moment you see it, take your Spearfishing and diving gear and dive in.
  • You should engage the attention of the passing Mahi by attaching an attractive lure to your speargun. This will bring it closer and within your firing range.
  • You should make use of a floating line which will help you go down deeper to shoot. This way, you can free your hand for your speargun and other gear. Consequently, you may also rise up to the surface quickly and hold onto your catch fiercely since a strong fish-like Dorado will run away with your speargun.
  • If you have trouble locating the golden dorado in the absence of floating seaweeds, then watch out for the birds flocking over a log. It usually means that the Dorado is not too far.
  • An extra hand can be helpful if only to throw bits of baitfish into the water to make the Mahi-Mahi curious.
  • An accompanying friend can also throw chunks of bait into the water to keep the Mahi around, especially after you hit one. So, you can have more to shoot at once if one is of your spear.

Are Dorado Fish Good To Eat?


We eat all kinds of fish, but how do we know which fish is better to consume compared to others?

Short answer, yes it is good to eat long answer read on;

If you are also wondering about it, the answer is simple; it’s the one which all sections of the population, young and old, men and women, children, healthy and sick, can eat in good quantities.

For that, the fish has to be more than just delicious. For starters, it should have a low level of mercury, as consuming fish in good quantities is difficult if you fear to poison. Pregnant women and young children are already cautioned against mercury poisoning.

image of Dorado Fish tacos

The good news is that Mahi-Mahi is low on mercury. It also contains Omega 3, which is good for your heart and fights inflammation. Dorado is high in protein which helps build your muscles.

It also contains Selenium, an important antioxidant, along with Vitamin B3, which is good for your skin and joints. More than anything else, it has a delicious taste. All those who have had Fish tacos made with it will vouch for it.


What Is The Best Way To Cook And Clean Mahi-Mahi?


Before Cooking the Golden Dorado, the first step is to clean and fillet it. Follow the coming steps, and you will be catering to the basics.

image of crusted mahi mahi fish

Cut behind the gills with your fillet knife. Keep moving your knife towards the head of the fish, then turn the knife around and retrace the cut from head to the tail, but this time down its back.

Slice along the backbone. Then cut down the side of Mahi-Mahi right where the bloodline runs till the tail. Now put it on the cutting board with the flesh side up, and cut a thick piece lengthwise.

To remove the skin, slide the knife between flesh and skin from one tip to the other. Do not forget to remove the bloodline area from the flesh. The Golden Dorado is now ready to be cut into pieces and cooked the way you prefer.

Mahi-Mahi tastes equally good whether you grill it, fry it, or broil it. I am sharing my favorite recipe to give your experience a kick start.

Ingredients:

  • 100g Mahi fillet
  • 3 Tablespoon butter cut into pieces.
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon crushed garlic paste
  • Some ground black pepper to taste.
  • 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice with a dash of lemon zest
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped coriander for garnishing

Instructions:

  • Sprinkle salt and pepper on the fillet.
  • Melt 1 tbsp butter in a frying pan over medium heat, and then add olive oil. If you add butter solely, it will give away smoke and turn brown. That’s the reason why it’s always recommended to add with it some oil.
  • Put fish in the frying pan and fry both sides until golden, and transfer to a plate.
  • In another pan, add the remaining butter. And toss into it some garlic. Saute until aromatic.
  • Stir in lemon juice and coriander.
  • Put the fried Mahi fillet back in the pan and pour the sauce over it.
  • Serve it with Fresh salad or baked veggies (whichever you prefer and enjoy).

Final Verdict:

Dorado or Mahi-Mahi is one spectacular fish known by many names. It is a pelagic, saltwater fish found in all the oceans but in tropical ecosystems. It’sIt’s a popular fish not only with the game fishermen but also ends up at the table of all the famous restaurants.

Looking at a golden dorado swimming in the ocean is a beautiful sight to behold because of its bright-colored body in the backdrop of clear blue water.

It is a strong fish that fights valiantly when caught, so one needs to hold their equipment well to prevent it from escaping. The ideal time for fishing Mahi-Mahi comes up in the summer season. It feeds on small fish as well as squids and crabs.

Dorado is a healthy addition to your diet as it is high in protein and omega3. It pairs up well with salads and grilled vegetables. So the next time you have your fish tacos, appreciate the effort that goes into catching this golden beauty.


Frequently Asked Questions

#1 – Where is the Best Dorado Fishing in Central America?

Dorado is your typical saltwater fish found in warmer waters. So Tropical and subtropical environments are more suitable for it.

Central America has more or less the ideal climate for Dorado. So, it is found in all the countries of this region. However, the most frequent sightings have been reported from Costa Rica and Panama.

#2 – What to serve with fish?

Since Mahi-Mahi is a tropical fish, the best side dish to go with it should also have a tropical feel. Try the Watermelon Feta salad with it.

This side dish balances the sweetness of watermelon with salty feta. Or pair it up with a bowl of chickpea and pomegranate with a dash of mint. You could also serve it with roasted vegetables like carrots, zucchini, and potatoes.

#3 – What kind of fish is a Dorado?

Dorado is a strong fish that lives close to the water surface. It is a saltwater fish found in tropical or subtropical waters all over the world.

It is brightly colored. Yellow, Golden, and Greenish are some of the colors you must have seen in pictures of Dorado Fish. It grows up quickly in its life span of 3 years on average.

#4 – Is dorado fish the same as mahi-mahi?

Dorado and Mahi-Mahi are one and the same fish. These are just two names that the Fish is called in two different languages.

In Latin America, it’s called Dorado, which in Spanish means golden. In Hawaii, it is called Mahi-Mahi, which in the local language means strong.

#5 – Is Mahi high in mercury?

Mahi-Mahi is considered to have low to moderate mercury levels. FDA guidelines say that a mercury level of 0.1PPM and below means the fish is low in mercury.

Mahi-Mahi has a mercury concentration of 0.178 PPM on average. So it is slightly above the low level. Hence safe for pregnant women.

#6 – Is mahi-mahi dorado regarded as a white fish or an oily fish?

If you see Dorado’sDorado’s nutrient charts, it becomes clear that it is an oily fish because it contains omega 3, a healthy unsaturated fatty acid.

As opposed to other oily underwater species (like Sardines and Salmon), it hardly contains one to two grams of fat per serving. So, you could say that it’s definitely not white meat, nor excessively oily.

#7 – Is Dorado a freshwater fish?

No, Dorado is a Saltwater fish found in the Tropical waters, that too in the Atlantic and Pacific. Oceans have salty water, and all fish have to keep the salt level in the body constant.

So, Dorado manages it by constantly releasing extra salt it had absorbed during respiration out through its gills and skin.

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