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Fort Lauderdale Mahi-Mahi Fishing

Posted in Fish

I have been fishing for mahi-mahi off the coast of Fort Lauderdale since I was a kid. I am blessed with fantastic memories of catching them with my father and grandparents. My dad was obsessed with catching as many as he could and he used to "work" the fish box at superhuman speeds. He would unhook everybody's fish as fast as he could so that he could get the bait back into the water for the next fish to bite on it. It worked extremely well and we used to go home with large numbers of these beautiful fish. I still laugh at my grandmother's antics in those days. Every time she swung her fish into the box, my grandfather would get a flopping wet mahi-mahi over the head and shoulders. This happened every single time and I am sure she did it on purpose.

What makes Mahi-Mahi fishing in Fort Lauderdale so exhilarating?

Mahi-mahi fishing involves extreme speed and phenomenal power; they reach nearly 50mph underwater. They are also usually swimming in schools. We regularly have a mahi-mahi on all of our lines and it is not uncommon to catch thirty or forty of them in a single trip. They are also the acrobats of the marine world and will leap and jump in a wonderful display when hooked.

What do Mahi-Mahi look like?

These dolphinfish are incredibly beautiful. Extremely colorful, their backs usually have magnificent green and blue hues, their sides are gold and their bellies often a bright yellow. They have a blunt-shaped head and an elongated body that tapers elegantly into their tail.

How big is Mahi-Mahi?

These awesome fish can get pretty big. They range in size from a few pounds and can weigh over 50lbs when fully grown. Juveniles travel in massive schools but when they reach between ten and twelve pounds, they prefer to travel alone or in pairs.

Where are Mahi-Mahi found in Fort Lauderdale?

They are found in the open ocean; usually concentrated around weed lines, floating debris and schools of bait fish. You do not have to travel far offshore to find them. They swim freely in waters ranging anywhere from 100ft to over 2 000ft deep. We keep an eye out for frigate birds. They feed in the weed lines and alert us to the location.

What baits are used for Mahi-Mahi?

These powerful fish will readily eat whatever you present them with. Although live and cut bait works best, you can easily catch them on lures as well. One of their greatest qualities is their willingness to bite. Once you have located them, they are pretty easy to catch. I typically use small lures, strip baits or live ballyhoo.

What tackle is used to catch Mahi-Mahi?

Incredibly fast, mahi-mahi is also extremely powerful and loves a good fight. This is why using lighter tackle is best because you can feel the strength of these fish better. Heavier tackle can be used but it removes the sporting element. I personally prefer tackle in the 20lb-30lb range.

What methods are used to catch Mahi-Mahi?

We usually troll hooked fish and when we find a school of mahi-mahi we entice them close to the boat. Then we whip them into a feeding frenzy with chum and cast small live baits and chunk baits into their midst. Many people love to catch them on flies once we have attracted them to the boat.

What are the regulations for Mahi-Mahi fishing in Fort Lauderdale?

There is a set limit of ten mahi-mahi fish per angler. They must measure at least twenty inches from the tip of the nose to the fork of the tail.

Do you have a favorite recipe for Mahi-Mahi?

If they are big enough then you can take them home for dinner. They are probably one of the tastiest fish that roam the Atlantic Ocean.

Sesame Crusted Mahi –Mahi with Soy Shiso and Ginger Butter Sauce

Ingredients

  • 3 Minced Shallots
  • 6 Mahi-Mahi Fillets
  • 2 Teaspoons Minced Fresh Ginger Root
  • 1 Juiced Lemon
  • ½ Cup Dry White Wine
  • ½Cup Heavy Cream
  • ½ Cup Unsalted Butter, Chilled and Sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 4 Shiso Leaves
  • Course Kosher Salt
  • Ground White Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 4 Tablespoons White Sesame Seeds
  • 4 Tablespoons Black Sesame Seeds

Method

Step 1

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (or 220 degrees Celsius).

Step 2

  • Over medium heat; combine ginger, lemon juice, white wine and shallots in a saucepan.
  • Cook until the liquid has been reduced to roughly 2 tablespoons.
  • Add heavy cream and stir continuously until it comes to a light boil.
  • Reduce the cream by half and make sure that it does not burn.
  • Stir in soy sauce.
  • Transfer mixture to a blender.
  • Blend on low while adding the butter slowly - a few slices at a time – until the butter has all been emulsified.
  • Tear or roughly chop the shiso leaves.
  • Add the leaves to the blender and blend for another ten seconds.
  • Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
  • Keep the sauce warm

Step 3

  • Heat oil in a large sauté pan, over high heat.
  • Season both sides of the mahi-mahi fillets with kosher salt and pepper.
  • Mix the black and white sesame seeds together and place in a flat dish.
  • Put only the top side of each fillet into the mixture and use your hands to press the seeds into the fish to ensure it sticks.
  • Make sure that the pressed top sides are evenly crusted with seeds.
  • When the oil starts smoking, add the fish sesame seed side down.
  • Pan sear the fish for roughly 30-45 seconds per side.
  • Transfer fish to a baking sheet or tray.
  • Cook in the oven for between five and six minutes.
  • Serve sesame crust side up and add ginger butter sauce.