Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Magic of the Dorado

There is no fish that quite stirs up the soul - or the tummy- to me like the Mahi Mahi...known also as Dorado or Dolphin Fish (but less so, as it is often confused with Flipper) they are truly proof positive that the ocean is full of magic and mystery.  These fish cruise the worlds oceans en masse; they are the fastest fish in the water and seafaring wanderers throughout time have been graced with the presence of these fish in the farthest reaches of the ocean.  They are smart, fast, strong, curious, and very intelligent.  I don't know what it is, but there is truly something about the Mahi that illustrates a higher level of being...there is a wisdom in these fish that you just don't see in many others... but enough of the poetic mumbo jumbo...

We caught our first last week when we were passing on the "outside" from Allen's Cay to Norman's.  Despite the wind blowing 20-22 out of the east (making for a VERY bumpy ride) we decided to brave the ocean side and troll.

"I'm catching you a mahi mahi today" Scott proclaimed.

He rigged his offshore rod (thanks Brandon!) with a simple $11 cedar plug and out it went.  We knew enough to know to troll in deeper water, so we motor-sailed along the ridge where the water was about 200 feet.  We were cruising along at about 6 - 6.5 knots in a 4 foot swell and wind gusting to 25.  Not ideal.  I think I might have said something to Scott to the tune of "You had BETTER catch a mahi for this!".

No sooner had I said that when we heard the telltale whizzzzzzzzzzz of the line being taken out to sea.  Hearts started racing.

I was at the helm, slowed the boat and rolled in the jib as Scott got his fishing gloves on and prepared to reel in our catch.

After about 15 minutes of reeling in, we saw it jump magnificently out of the water.  It was electric blue, and I mean electric blue.  It was still too far away to tell, but for a second we thought we had caught a shark!  Scott continued to reel our fish in when he jumped again.  And then we knew - it was a mahi mahi. This time, though, he was bright yellow and vibrant green.  I couldn't stop saying how beautiful he was - he honestly took my breath away.

Scott continued to fight the fish until he was by the boat.  He was changing all the colors of a mood ring,  his emotions and his vigor showing through his scales.  Amazing.  We reeled him in, I grabbed the net* and the grain alcohol, poured some down his throat and we brought him on deck.

And then, almost instantly, all his color went away.  Just like that.  Gone.  Like his soul left him in that one final flash of a rainbow.  Incredible.

The sea was bucking and rearing so we got to safe harbor and Scott immediately got to filleting with what have now become known as "surgeon hands".

That beautiful fish fed six of us for 2 days.  We wasted nothing, and thanked him for what he gave us.  Nature surely does provide when you are in the right element.
Someone's happy.  This was taken once we were safely anchored.
*We now know you do not "net" a 45-50lb mahi mahi, you gaff it.  We learned this when his razor-like fins cut right on through our net.  Whoopsie.


Unknown said...

Wonderful post that captures the true nature of this beautiful fish. But you're right - use the gaff with these babies..............Al

Mid-Life Cruising! said...

Great pictures! We've not caught a Mahi Mahi yet, but they do appear to be one of the most beautiful fish, with the amazing green and yellow colors... and they taste great too!

Neophyte Cruiser said...

Beautiful fish, Scott! It's difficult to impress upon people the majesty and overwhelming beauty of these fish as they flash their electric-neon colors. It's not until you see it for yourself, in person, that you appreciate the descriptions put forth by others.

Bryan Rhodes said...

Can you post a picture of the lure you used? I'm headed for a charter in a few months.


Windtraveler said...

Brian, it was a cedar plug, very simple. Just google "cedar plug fishing lure" and you'll see it. Good luck!

skyfaith said...

Scott you are in for the Canada trip if it happens again! Great job. Fighting a fish like feels awesome and eating fish you caught and cleaned always taste better.

Laura and Hans said...

I'm jealous! I love Mahi and actually caught one years ago while deep sea fishing. But I don't think that can even compare to catching one off your own boat!

Jeff Olshesky said...

Out of all the posts, this one seemed to make me the most jealous.

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