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Dorado (mahi-mahi) Fishing in Summer

A way to enjoy angling during those hot months of summer

Chapter 12: Dorado (mahi-mahi) Fishing in Summer

When the water temperatures rise in summer, it's generally not considered a good season for fishing, but if you can locate schools of small fish and use them as bait, you may find good fishing in many places. In this edition, I would like to introduce you to a type of fishing you can enjoy during the summer along the Enshunada Coast in central Japan.

Catching the large and carnivorous dorado

In Japan, when the rainy season ends and we start to get the real summer heat, the water temperature begins to rise and fishing in Lake Hamana becomes more difficult. When this time of the season comes, the octopus fishing I introduced in Chapter 7 comes to an end. But, with the change of season also comes a change of fishing opportunities as schools of Japanese anchovy come closer to the shore near the mouth of Lake Hamana, and with them comes the chance to catch a variety of migratory fish that follow the anchovy schools into these waters. Because the fishing grounds are out at sea some distance, you need a larger boat than the ones used on Lake Hamana, but if you can get one, it's possible to enjoy going after exciting game fish by following the flocks of birds hovering over the schools of small fish. This time, from among the migratory fish that can be caught in the waters off the Enshunada Coast in this season, I want to introduce dorado (also known as mahi-mahi or dolphinfish) fishing, which offers a chance of getting a big trophy with relative ease.

The dorado [not the same as the dorado in Brazil covered in Chapter 3] is a large carnivorous fish that can be found in warm waters all over the world. Many of you are probably familiar with it because of its unique coloring and shade. The dorado can grow to a size of up to two meters in length, but the ones found in the waters off the Enshunada Coast are usually in the range of 70 cm to one meter. The biggest attraction of dorado fishing is that you can catch it using a topwater plug. You can fish for them near the surface using poppers, floating or sinking pencil baits and the like. When a school of dorado sights the bobbing lure and chase it, they break the water surface with a great splash and a colorful flash of their body colors as they strike in a dramatic display that is as exciting as any kind of summer angling can be. You can also get strikes using lures like a metal jig, but for a fun angling experience, I recommend the topwater approach.

Our boat this time was the Yamaha "UF-26 CC"
Lures for catching dorado

Follow the flocks of birds

For this fishing trip, I went with some fellow Yamaha Motor employees. We used the 26-ft. Yamaha "UF-26 CC" center console boat previously sold in Japan and set out for the waters offshore from Lake Hamana. On this day there were large schools of Japanese anchovy where the currents meet not far from the shore, and here and there we could see flocks of birds over the schools. As the lure, I chose a popper—my preferred standard. We chased the bird flocks until I could start to cast into the midst, and though I got a good number of chases, the relatively small size of my lure at about 5 cm meant I wasn't getting any successful hits. Seeing this, I decided to switch to a pencil bait lure and use an action that took it below the surface. As soon as I did, a dorado broke the surface and struck at my bait.

That day the weather suddenly turned bad and we decided to return to port earlier than planned to stay on the safe side. Still, it was a very satisfying fishing trip and all of us managed to land at least one fish.

Dorado is a fish that you can find in waters all around the world, and if the conditions are right, it's a relatively easy fish to catch. It's a target that I recommend even for children and novice anglers. If you give it a try, I'm sure you will find it an exciting way to enjoy fishing from a boat.

Birds flocking over the fish
The dorados we caught
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