Dolphin, Coryphaena hippurus, are also called Dolphinfish, Mahi Mahi and Dorado. They are not related to the porpoise which also is sometimes called Dolphin, those being a mammal rather than a fish. They are also called by names to indicate their size – peanut dolphin being the small, hand sized juveniles; bailers refer to fish in the two – 5 pound range where as the bigger fish are often called gaffers (due to the need for a gaff to get them in the boat).
Dolphin Fish (Mahi Mahi or Dorado)
The dolphin has bright turquoise, green and yellow patterns while alive but the colors fade quickly upon death. Its body tapers sharply from head to to tail and has irregular blue or golden blotches scattered over the sides. Adult males can be distinguished by their flat, extended forehead and are often called bull dolphin.
Dolphins are one of the fastest-growing fish. They are fast swimmers as well, with a top swimming speed of 50 knots. They spawn in warm ocean currents throughout much of the year, and its young are commonly found in sargassum weed. They are an extremely important fish both to the angler, commercial fisherman and to the pelagic food chain as well.
They are carnivorous, feeding on flying fish, crabs, squid, mackerel, ballyhoo and other small fish.
Anglers troll artificial and natural baits from large boats. Often when one is caught it will be held in the water at the back of the boat to attract other dolphins. Then anglers will “pitch” baits to the others in hopes of multiple hook-ups. This is called bailing and works best on the medium sized fish.