Florida Gulf Coast Fishing: Catch a Mahi-Mahi!

Looking for an exciting fishing adventure? Try catching mahi-mahi off Florida's coast. These colorful fish, also known as dolphinfish, can weigh up to 50 pounds and put up a great fight. Use light spinning gear, heavy fishing lines, and bait like sardines or pilchards.

Hiring an experienced fishing charter is highly recommended for the best chance of success.

What is a Mahi Mahi fish?

Also known as dolphinfish, Mahi-mahi is a species of fish that lives in the deep seas. They can grow to weigh as big as 50 pounds on the Gulf Coast of Florida, however, it's common to catch them between 3 and 10 lbs.

Mahi are always eating and grow super fast, up to 5 inches a month!

They are also a highly migratory fish that lives under floating structures.

These fish are very common, but not many people have experience fishing for them due to their size and how deep they live.

The mahi-mahi are a member of the pelagic fish family. They are also known as dolphin fish which comes from their natural swimming pattern that resembles dolphins.

Man on a boat holding a mahi mahi, showcasing tips on how to catch mahi mahi with the ocean in the background

How common is Mahi-Mahi in Florida?

Mahi Mahi are very common during the summer months of the Florida coast due to our tropical climate and water temperature and the abundance of bait and food for them.

Where is the best place to fish in Florida? check here

What does Mahi-Mahi look like?

Man on a boat holding a mahi mahi, showcasing tips on how to catch mahi mahi with fishing rods and the ocean in the background

Mahi is a deep-sea fish that can grow up to six feet long and weigh up to 30-50 pounds.

They have very vibrant blue and green colors and are easy to see and they appear quickly and aggressively.

Their colors are also quite vibrant with blue, and green scales.

What does it take to catch a Mahi-Mahi?

To catch mahi-mahi you need to find the right type of gear and bait.

You can commonly find them under floating debris or weed lines and can sometimes suddenly appear while anchored.

When you catch a mahi-mahi, they put on a fantastic display and for this reason can be difficult to catch!

Gear needed for Mahi-Mahi Fishing in Florida

To target Mahi Mahi it is necessary to hire a captain with experience in targeting these fish and has the know how to trick and hook these beautiful gamefish.

Fishing Rod and Reel Combinations

You can use a fast action rod with an open-faced spinning reel.

It is best to use light spinning gear, again as stealth is the key to catching these beautiful fish.

Learn how to set up your fishing rod

Fishing Line

This should be heavy enough not to break if a Mahi Mahi jumps and takes off after being hooked and also be stealthy enough to trick the Mahi Mahi into eating the bait.

Use a line that is rated for deep-sea fishing with a minimum weight of 20-30 lbs.

Bait and Lures needed

Some good baits include sardines or pilchards. You also want lures like spoons or plugs as these draw in the mahi-mahi by showing them what they can eat!

Chumming the water when fishing for mahi is important as it will keep the school of mahi around and give you the chance to catch more than one!

Tips for reeling in a Mahi-Mahi

Once your line goes tight and starts pulling on your rod tip, reel up slowly while maintaining pressure until it reaches the surface of the water.

Now just bring this giant beast in!


If you can afford it, a fishing charter is the way to go as they will provide you with all the gear necessary to bring in these trophy fish.

If you are looking for a fishing charter in St. Petersburg, Florida that will give you a good chance to reel in Mahi Mahi, contact us today! Check out our fishing charter pricing.

We have the experience and equipment that makes us successful in targeting them!



For more photos of daily catches in St Petersburg, check out our gallery!