Yellowtail fish tips - Fishing for Yellowtail How-To - Yo-Yo, Live Bait or Surface fishing for Yellowtail (Jack not tuna species of fish)

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Dorado Mahi-Mahi Tips, Dorado Fishing, Dorado Dolphin Fish - Fish Species - Jigs, Live-Bait fishing tips for Dorado Mahi Mahi

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Dorado Description

Dorado (or Mahi-Mahi as they are called some places or dolphin fish as they are called in other places) are one of the world’s most popular gamefish.   This article focuses on the Southern California and Northern Baja Dorado fishery. Dorado or Mahi Mahi are brightly colored, hard fighting, acrobatic fish when hooked. They are one of my favorite big gamefish to eat.  Dorado are abundant in most tropical area and because they are a fast-growing, short-lived fish they feed often. They die of old age around 5-6 years and attain a maximum weight of around 90lbs.

Dorado or Mahi Mahi can change the intensity of their colors which usually fades almost immediately after they are brought on board a boat.  Male Dorado or Mahi Mahi, often called “Bulls”, have a large distinctive flat forehead.  They grow bigger than the females, which are called “Cows”.  Most fish over 25lbs or so will be male. Dorado fishing is like a trip to the rodeo - hang on for the ride and prepare for some wild acrobatics.

Check out this short video of awesome action on Dorado, Marlin, and Tuna in Puerto Vallarta:

Late Summer Southern California Dorado Fishing

Around mid-July every year Dorado make their way into the warmer waters off Southern California and the Pacific Ocean comes alive with gamefish action, a seasonal rare treat for local angler's. Local sportfishing vessel's and private skiff's run trips targeting tuna, Yellowtail, Dorado and other big gamefish species. Usually boats "paddy hop", fishing loose kelp paddies or any other floating objects or trash in the water as these typically are holding Dorado. Signs of these areas holding Dorado and other gamefish usually have birds working the area feeding off bait balls (small bait fish that group into a large school in the shape of a ball) caused by bigger gamefish in a feeding frenzy. These are prime conditions for a shot at hooking a Dorado for the focus of this article but other gamefish as well including Yellowtail, Yellowfin Tuna (Ahi), Bluefin Tuna, Big Eye Tuna, Wahoo (Ono) or even a whopper Sun Fish.

Dorado Tackle

Any medium weight conventional set up should work fine.  A Shimano Trinidad 16N is a good reel for casting.  I like my Daiwa Sealine 20 or 30 or my old Shimano Calcutta 400 on my G-Loomis rod with 20# line I use for light tackle baitcasting and flipping plastics. Sometimes it takes a long cast with small, live anchovy and little to no weight so proper technique is crucial. Bottom line is match the tackle to the conditions and using a lake pole spinning outfit WalMart special is not the best choice for a 40-50lb "Bull" Dorado or Mahi Mahi. I've seen it happen far too much, beautiful trophoy gamefish lost to frayed line, poor knots, or even a broken pole from using that favorite trout pole. On a often crowded open party sportfishing boat this also creates a problem for other anglers because of the likely tangles it potentially causes as well. My point is be prepared for anything when targeting offshore big gamefish. Unfortunately, Dorado are often hooked when trolling with heavy tackle meant for larger fish such as Marlin and so they are totally outmatched and really don't get a chance to show what they are made of.  This is one of the great tragedies of sportfishing.  If you hook a 30lb+ Dorado on a lighter saltwater baitcasting rod and reel you are in for quite a fight.  Click here for tackle recommendations .

Dorado Techniques

Dorado are an open water species that often associates with floating debris such as logs.  If you are in an area with Dorado any floating object is worth a look as it may concentrate the fish.  If you have anything to chum with that can really get them going.  They are considered a pelagic fish but I have seen them caught from shore on rare occasions.

Dorado Lures

Most Dorado are caught on trolling lures such as rubber skirts meant for Marlin or Sailfish or feathers meant for Tuna.  They also hit trolled plugs such as Rapalas.

If Dorado are concentrated in an area, either through chumming or because there is a piece of floating debris, a wide variety of lures may be cast to them.  My favorite is a popper, which they will readily eat.  If they are fired up they will pretty much eat anything.  Whatever you cast to them, make sure you watch out with heavier lures as Dorado jump wildly when hooked and the lure could come flying back at you at a high rate of speed.

Dorado Baits

Dorado mostly eat fish so traditional baitfish such as sardines and Pacific Mackerel work well.  Larger fish will eat larger baits.  Dorado have relatively small mouths but it always amazes me how they can somehow still engulf relatively large baits.  When they are fired up they will eat almost anything.

Where to get the big Dorado

Any tropical location where there is good fishing for other pelagics such as Marlin or Wahoo should have some Dorado.  Some world-record fish have been caught in the Cabo San Lucas area so that would be a good bet.  After rain flushes debris in the water is a good time to go Dorado hunting as the debris will concentrate them.


Avet and Accurate Conventional Fishing Reels Great For Southern California Sportfishing

Accurate Boss Conventional Fishing Reels are one of the most popular Southern California angler fishing reel picks for Tuna and Big Game fish - Search or browse for the new Boss Fury single star best price point reel!

Best Fishing Reels Accurate & Avet for San Diego Tuna, Yellowtail & Dorado

The Accurate Boss Single Speed Boss Series X Single Speed or for turning bigger game fish the BX-2 Series. Both Accurate Boss 400x, 500x or 600x have huge 6:1 ratio great for popular Southern California - San Diego deep "Yo-Yo" technique where dropping deep and cranking in at blazing speeds trigger the Yellowtail bite. Spend the money for an Accurate or Avet one piece aluminum body work horse reels for San Diego game fish like we witnessed in 2015!

Accurate Boss Valiant Fishing Reel

A favorite reel for local tuna and Yellowtail is Accurate Boss Valiant, a saltwater fishing reel every Southern California angler needs in their mix of tackle. Help support if you buy one of these reels by making purchases from Amazon. I've searched and selected my local favorites for San Diego and SoCal sportfishing where diversity and several rod/reel combos come in handy when on a moments noticed you hook-up a 100#-200# class Bluefin Tuna show up at the side of the boat just five miles off San Diego as visiting and local San Diego, CA anglers have been blessed with this 2016 summer.

Multiple Rod/Reel Combos Rigged and Ready!

Big events happen fast and unforgiving when tuna fishing - the key is to be ready seconds after you hear the angler or deckhand yell hook-up! - If you can have multiple rod/reel fishing combos you can be ready for any change in conditions or fish target when that precious moment hits on troll when an angler yells, "HOOKUUUPPPP!" The boat then does what's called "slide" into nuetral and immediately the Captain calls out to the deckhand how much live bait to pitch to keep the tuna on the surface and biting angler lines who should already have a bait or jig in the water. The other scenario is "paddy-hopping" trolling tuna feathers or jigs while glassing (binoculurs) for loose or stranded kelp paddies along the way. For Dorado or Mahi-Mahi in Hawaii a floating cup or paper plate is all needed for a whole plethora of game fish to be lurking below waiting for a jig or bait to land close by. Timing and teamwork is essential in successfull this style of stand-up hook and line fishing Southern California pioneered. When the Captain calls out on com what size fish are being marked under the boat, the listening angler then picks up and casts the saltwater fishing rod/reel combo right for the bite. Having multiple setups all ready to go is awesome and can mean the difference between that bucket list 150# class Bluefin Tuna I mentioned earlier just five miles from San Diego ending up in proud pics and on the plate that night over a beer telling the story how glad you are you invested in all this top-quality saltwater fishing tackle this guy Rob at suggested he get! lol jk of course again I just love helping fellow anglers land those hard to get once in a lifetime fish.

On the same 5am to 5pm offshore trip you can hook up a 20-30# class Yellowtail on the Yo-Yo Iron Jig, a bucket-list San Diego 2016! 150# Bluefin Tuna on a light Tady 45 surface iron, a 50# White Sea Bass or a 50# class Halibut on live squid or a personal favorite of mine (Rob Mailly Owner, a old timer slow-growth lunker elusive Calico Bass while flippin' 3-6' plastics using either my Shimano Calcutta 400

or for lower price and unbelievable casting distance my Daiwa Sealine X SLH20! I sell all fishing tackle I mentioned here and truly part of my personal tackle (I chose fishing tackle over a snappy car and wife, lol jk of course) Here's the best deals on Amazon I found for the Boss Valiant BV-300, Daiwa Sealine Series, Avet and Shimano...I haven't left out the first and very best most trusted fishing reel ever made - Penn's Jigmaster 500. My father taught me as a little kid fishing local 3/4 day Coronado Island's trips to learn how to cast a conventional (bait casting) reel using a Penn Jigmaster 500 and a rent rod. He said "son if you can learn to cast a inexpensive old die-hard like a Penn 500, every saltwater fishing reel you cast from now on no matter how expensive and full of features will be a piece of cake and envy of other anglers. It's all about picturing a pendulum and not how hard you cast but proper technique that takes years to perfect for most. Also thumb pressure and controlling backlash which newer high-end saltwater fishing reels like Accurate and Avet have engineered into their respective products. That's another article I will cover.

Link to buy Accurate Boss Valiant BV-300 for $399 at Amazon! Accurate Boss Valiant BV-300 - Link to Buy Now at Amazon for a great deal at $399 w/free shipping

Shimano Calcutta Series - Best Fishing For Yellowtail

I love this old school reel! Although demands more frequent cleaning and maintenance, it's well worth the relatively good bang for the buck solid live bait or plastics flippin' reel I personally used my Calcutta 400. If you like throwing the plastics (plastic swim baits) this is a solid reel for the job and smooth as silk drag for burning Yellowtail.