Are Dorado(Mahi Mahi) Fish Good to Eat

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A supreme delicacy at many restaurants, dorado, or Mahi Mahi is truly a superfood. Their colors will change in intensity to reflect their mood, which causes them to look magnificent in the water. They look pretty good on a plate also, but are they safe?

Are Dorado fish good to eat? Yes, these fish are a delicacy in many restaurants. Many people are concerned about the mercury content of tropical fish, but that is not a concern unless you are eating more than 1 to 2 servings a week.   

We’ll give you a little background on the Dorado and then help you catch them.  After all, before you can eat them, you have to reel them in.

About the Dorado:

The dorado is a ray-finned fish that can be found in temperate, tropical, and subtropical waters. They have a somewhat odd appearance due to their compressed head and a long single dorsal fin that goes from the head to the tail.

They will be unmistakable swimming around your boat due to the radiant colors of gold, blue, and green. They even change colors once they come out of the water, changing their hue several times until they become a yellowish gray when they die.

Should I Worry About Mercury?

Mercury content increases by how often a fish has eaten seafood that also contains mercury.  So a small fish, such as a salmon, contains little mercury and can be eaten as often as you like.  Larger fish, such as Pike and Shark, contain the most mercury.  Dorado falls somewhere in between, so the mercury levels are still relatively low.

The CDC recommends that you eat 6 servings a month of mahi-mahi.  You can check out a table that has more details about fish and mercury here.  As long as you don’t eat Dorado too often, there’s no need to worry about mercury poisoning.

Pregnant women and small children should stay away from this fish, however.

Here are some symptoms to look for if you are worried about mercury poisoning

  • Loss of coordination
  • Stinging sensations in the mouth and extremities
  • Impairments in speech or hearing
  • Muscle weakness
  • Peripheral vision impairment.

Is Dorado Healthy?

Here are some nutritional facts about the Dorado:

  • High in protein
  • High in omega 3-fatty acids
  • Full of essential nutrients and vitamins

And the following are benefits to be gained from eating fish such as Dorado

  • Fight inflammation
  • Reduce your risk of cancer
  • Stave of aging symptoms
  • Maintain healthy nerve and cell functions
  • Reduce your risk of heart disease

Sounds healthy to us.

How to Catch Dorado

You can use any type of medium-weight setup.  Make sure you have a strong reel for casting, such as a Shimano Trinidad 16N. Dorados are usually hooked when fishermen are out using heavier tackle for heavier fish like Marlin.

Sometimes you can even hook a Dorado that’s over 30 pounds with only a light saltwater baitcasting rod and reel, though this will be a struggle to pull in.

Tips on catching a Dorado:

  1. Make sure you have a few different rods and setups for when you are out on the water, it’s always fun to troll and line-of-sight fish in one day.
  2. If you’re trolling with a balloon, then you might accidentally catch a marlin.  Be prepared for a hard fight if this is the case.
  3. Dorados are fast, so don’t be scared to reel it in ASAP.
  4. Throw chunks of fish or squid near flotsam to get them feeding and then use the same bait with a hook. They will likely take the bait.  Just make sure that you leave the bail off the bait so that it sinks, and you can see the line zipping with a Dorado on the end.
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Special Techniques to Find Them

Dorado is an open-water species that are sometimes drawn to floating debris like logs. Make sure you look in your area for any floating object that could bring in Dorado. Any chum you have on hand would work great here, toss it near these objects and watch their activity increase.

Even though Dorado is Pelagic fish, they have been caught from the shore on rare occasions.

Any tropical location will be a good fishing place.  You will find all sorts of pelagic fish such as Marlin, Wahoo, and Dorado. Some world-record fish have been caught near Cabo San Lucas. Keep in mind that you can target debris from excessive rain because the Dorado will concentrate near it.

Spearfishing for Dorado

Dorado isn’t big fish, so you won’t need anything larger than 90cm, and make sure you have some sort of float line or reel attached.

Make sure you have the standard loadout of:

  • Gloves
  • Wetsuit
  • Mask
  • Fins
  • Weight belt
  • Snorkel

5 Spearfishing Tips

  1. When you first go out, make sure that you attach the line and lure without any hook on the end of your speargun so that the Dorado becomes curious, this will give you an easier shot.
  2. Use a powerful float line or reel because if you don’t, this strong fish will surely take your speargun for a ride.
  3. Remember to hunt near flotsam and debris for better chances.
  4. If there are birds nearby, then keep an eye on them because they will tell you if there are predatory fish nearby.
  5. If you are hunting with somebody else, make sure they throw some chunks of bait into the water to keep the Dorado around so that you have multiple chances after you hit the first one and get it off your spear.

Dorado Lures

Many Dorados are caught by using trolling lures such as rubber skirts, which are usually meant for Sailfish or Marlin. They also respond well to trolled plugs such as Rapalas. These are greedy fish, and you will be surprised by the size of the lures these fish respond to.

Cast these lures near floating debris or chumming, there is a wide variety that will work.  They will eat poppers very easily, but if they’re motivated, they will eat almost anything.

Be prepared–Dorado starts bucking wildly once they’re hooked, and a larger lure could come back at you with a high speed in some cases.

Dorado Baits

Dorado mainly eats fish, so traditional baitfish like Pacific Mackerel and sardines will work the best. Keep in mind that larger fish eat larger baits. Even though Dorados have small mouths, they can still consume large baits. If they are in a frenzy, however, they will eat nearly anything dead or alive.

How to Eat a Dorado

There are many ways to cook up Mahi Mahi once it is filleted and ready to be marinated. Keep in mind that these fish have moderate amounts of mercury, which means you shouldn’t eat too much in a day.

How to Fillet a Dorado Fish

  1. Cut the gill plate towards the head by using your fillet knife.
  2. Keep going towards the head and then reverse, following the backbone all the way to the tail.
  3. Reverse and cut deeper back towards the head.
  4. While slicing along the backbone, you should hear the sound of your knife rubbing up against the bones.
  5. Cut right down the center of the Dorado with your fillet knife, start at the bloodline, and finish at the trial
  6. Take the first chunk of dorado and lay its skin down on the cutting board.
  7. Take the bottom loin from the fish
  8. Flip the Dorado over and do the same on that side.
  9. Remove the skin from the meat by holding the skin and using your knife to slide it from tip to tip.
  10. Cut out the dark red bloodlines that you see on the fish meat. If you want to leave these in, just remember that you will lose the fishy flavor.
  11. Cut into appropriately sized pieces, marinate them, and then cook them in whatever way you like.

Garlic Mahi Mahi

Here is a great recipe for cooking up some delicious garlic Mahi Mahi:


  • (3 tbsp) Grass-fed butter Cut these into chunks
  • (1 tbsp) Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 mahi-mahi fillets of about 4 oz.
  • Garlic salt
  • Grounded black pepper
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 lemon, zest, and juice
  • 1 tbsp of freshly chopped parsley and some more for garnish.

How to make:

  1. Use a skillet over medium heat and melt 1 tablespoon of butter that was cut into pieces along with olive oil. Keep stirring these until they are sufficiently mixed.
  2. Use a cutting board to season the Mahi Mahi with salt and pepper. Cook until golden, this will only be about 3 minutes on each side. Put onto a plate afterward.
  3. Use an empty skillet and add the rest of the butter. Wait until it is melted and add garlic. Keep cooking until it’s fragrant, which will be about 1 minute. Stir in some parsley, lemon juice, and zest. Put the Mahi Mahi fillets back on the skillet and pour the sauce.
  4. Finish with some more parsley garnish, and it is ready to be served.

The Takeaway

Dorado is excellent fish to eat, and since they are so big, they can last you quite a while. By keeping a lookout for the behavior of birds, where the flotsam is, you will have a much better chance of tracking these giant fish and catching them.

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