Dolphin fish, also known as mahi mahi or dorado, are abundant worldwide and are the most often caught offshore gamefish. They are prized not only for their table fare, but also for their acrobatics during the fight, and for their neon colors that range from vibrant greens to blues to yellows. Nobody captures the dorado’s movements and colors like Guy Harvey does as evidenced by his painting titled “Bull Dolphin” where an excited mahi mahi is all lit up while chasing a school of flying fish.
Mahi mahi are known to be short lived and fast growing, but you will be surprised to know just exactly how fast they are capable of growing. My father Milt Shedd was the co-founder of SeaWorld Inc. where he served as its Board Chairman from 1964 until he retired in 1985. One of his early responsibilities was to coordinate the collection of fish for SeaWorld. On one trip he caught a number of small dorado weighing about 1.5 lbs. He put them in an exhibit of schooling fish that contained anchovies and sardines. The dolphin must have thought this tank was the dinner table, as food swam by them at all times.
One big bull dolphin lived for 18 months and when it died there was no guessing of its weight as it was taken from the tank to a scale. For years I have asked people including seasoned anglers, captains and marine biologists how much they thought the dolphin weighed after 18 months in the tank. Not once has anybody guessed high enough. In 18 months the 1.5 lb mahi mahi grew to an amazing 68 lbs.
While they can’t grow that fast in the wild where food is not so easily available and where they would have to burn more calories catching it, this does prove just how fast a dorado is capable of growing.