Costa Rican Sportfishing Profile: Dorado
Dorado (Mahi-Mahi) or Dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus) is one of the worlds most popular gamefish. It’s almost prehistoric shape, incredible beauty, strength, and speed make it a particularly alluring catch worldwide. They are known to jump and run and can put up a tremendous fight. Once you hook one, look out for that neon glow and hold on for dear life. It is a heck of a ride! This species lives in tropical waters, grows in size very quickly, and has a lifespan of roughly 5-6 years. For these reasons Dorado have a very high metabolism which makes them very, very hungry fish!
The beauty of the Golden One:
It is difficult to put into words, imagery, or photographs (below) the shear beauty and splendor of Dorado. Dorado, Spanish for Golden, is likely the best representation outside of actually catching and seeing one in person. Their anal, caudal, and pelvic fins are yellow and their dorsal fin is blue-green. Because these fish look nothing like most other fish, it is a treat to land one, and examine how beautiful they are. Iridescent green to gold, with hints of blue and yellow, these fish change color, based upon mood. When they are excited, either hunting, or caught on the line, parts of their body glow a neon blue! However, the majestic colors of the Dorado begin to fade quickly when the fish is pulled out of the water. When you bring your catch ashore, it is difficult to convince anyone of it’s true splendor as it’s skin has usually faded to shade of gray.
The fight, size vs beauty!
Anglers across Costa Rica’s pacific treasure the opportunity to fight, and land a massive Dorado. Usually one or two of these beasts makes for a very satisfying day of fishing. If you can get your skipper to take you somewhere to fillet and eat your catch, it makes the day at sea even more worthwhile! Although it is available to catch all year long, in Costa Rica, it is more prevalent during the spring and fall months.
Males (otherwise known as “Bulls”) are very easy to discern from their flat forehead, and larger size. Typically, most fish over 25lbs will be male. The world record weight of the largest Dorado caught was 102 pounds, reeled in off the cost of Mexico. The second largest documented catch was an 87 pound bull caught off the pacific coast of Costa Rica, in the very same waters that our Charters fish. Females of this species typically weigh 25 pounds or less and have a rounder head . Check out some of the images of the 60+ pounders that we have reeled in.
Eating Dorado in Costa Rica
The culinary field loves Mahi-mahi! It is served as a high end (read expensive), light, but very tasty fish. In the 1980’s the fish began to get traction as a gastronomic delight, under the name Dolphinfish. Confused patrons of popular restaurants serving the fish created some backlash; many wrongly believed they would be served the porpois (the mammal, ie flipper). The fish was then marketed with its current name, Mahi Mahi. It has a very mild taste, and is flaky but firm chunks of meat. It is not very oily or “fishy”, and has a full texture. It’s flesh is pinkish with some red veins running through. Tough skin is removed.
Fantastic recipes and more about eating Dorado:
Here is a quick video on how to fillet Dorado:
Great ways to cook your Dorado (Mahi-Mahi):
For a brief overview of the fantastic sport fish of Costa Rica, please check out our “fish of Costa Rica page.”