What’s super fast, very strong, and features stunning golden hues? The dorado or mahi-mahi fish! With top speed reaching up to 57 mph, this fast and vibrantly colored fish goes by other names such as dolphinfish and dolphin.
What is dorado fish? It gets its Spanish name “dorado” from the golden colors of its lower body, whereas “mahi-mahi” in Hawaiian means “strong.” This elusive fish is difficult to catch, which is why it is a sport fish favored by anglers who seek a great challenge.
Dorado Fish: A South American Native
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The dorado fish is native to the waters of the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans. They inhabit subtropical and tropical waters, which means you can find them in freshwater basins and rivers.
Famous South American countries known for their dorado population include Bolivia, northern Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil.
A Popular Sport Fish
Due to their quick reproduction rate, fast growth, and tendency to swim around the water surface, the dorado fish is popular throughout the year in their locations. In fact, it is prized as a sport fish as many anglers love it for its acrobatics and brute strength.
In fact, the largest known dorado, caught in Costa Rica in 1976, was said to have weighed in at 87 lbs. Most dorado caught nowadays will be between 15 and 30 lbs., but adult dorado can well be above 50 lbs.
What Makes Dorado Unique?
These sport fish have a long and slender build that provides them stealth and the ability to move in bursts of high speed during hunting.
Female dorado fish have rounded heads while the male dorado, called “bulls,” have protruding foreheads that go above the upper body, giving the dorado fish one of its distinctive features.
Their coloration is as interesting as their speed. You will see a vibrant greenish sheen on the back while the lower part of the body is a mix of gold and silver. The golden, greenish-blue iridescence that you see is due to the pigmented cells called chromatophores that are linked to the dorado’s nervous system.
That’s why the dorado is considered such a spectacularly beautiful fish. When out of the water, the dorado fish will undergo numerous color changes. Once dead, their golden skin turns yellowish-gray.
What Does Dorado Eat?
Dorados have a diverse diet and will eat anything. They hunt using their strong eyesight and speed. Known as opportunistic predators, they are known to feast on large schools. Crabs, mackerel, flying fish, tuna, and even baby turtles have been known to be part of the dorado diet.
Dorado Season is All-Year Long
Like most migratory fish, they will move to warmer waters when seasons change. For instance, during the summer months when sea temperature goes above 21℃, the dorado move to the northern part of the Red Sea. Southern California receives an influx of dorado during late July.
In Central America, the dorado number peaks during the rainy season when trash float from coastal rivers as dorado tend to hang around and hide under the accumulated trash. You can say that one man’s trash is another dorado’s favorite location!
Dorado Fishing Locations
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Dorados are commonly found in oceans or freshwater rivers. Having said that, they are also available for catch throughout the year depending on where and when you plan to go.
South American regions of Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Brazil, on the other hand, have Rio de la Plata.
A huge population of dorado can be found in Rio de la Plata, a basin that is the second largest drainage system in South America. Dorado hunters have wade and boat fishing opportunities in the basin where they use sinking and floating fly lines as well as tropical rated lines.
Tsimane in Bolivia National Park consists of three rivers known for their dorado — Pluma River, Agua Negra River, and Secure River.
Anglers hunting for this golden fish in Bolivia are in for a treat. You have the chance to fish in the dense jungles or near the Andes since Tsimane is inside the Bolivia National Park. Think great jungle adventures and challenging fly-fishing for dorado in the clear river waters of Pluma, Agua Negra, and Secure!
In Central America, dorado can be caught all year round, but the best months are January, November, and December. Costa Rica has its best months in June and July to catch adult dorado.