7 Best Mahi Mahi Lures + Buying Guide

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Mahi Mahi are some of the most peculiar fish in the ocean. They have a distinct appearance that’s quite unlike any other species with their lime-green coloration that are known to shift and change into electric blue or vibrant yellow. They are known as mahi mahi, but are also called dorado, dolphinfish, mahi, or a few other names depending on the specific region you’re fishing in. 

These fish are one of the most sought-after species on Earth by sportfishing anglers who target them for their incredible beauty, as well as their delicious filets. Mahi are known to be voracious eaters and have an appetite for generally anything they can find along the upper portion of the water column in the open ocean. 

If you’re looking for the best lures to use when it comes to fishing for mahi mahi, we’ve compiled this article to help serve as a handy guide. In addition to listing our top 7 picks for the best mahi mahi lures, we’ve also included a buyer’s guide to help you in searching for the lures that are just right for your next offshore fishing adventure. 

Mahi Mahi Fishing Overview 

There’s really no other fish like mahi mahi in the world. They are actually one of the fastest-growing species in the ocean and biologists have concluded that they can grow as much as 50 pounds in one year in the right conditions. Anglers like to target them for their meat, as well as the opportunity to get a photo with these illustrious fish, but avid saltwater fishermen know the mahi to be one of the most aggressive species in the sea. 

Mahi Mahi are one of the few fish species that are probably on every anglers’ bucket list to catch at some point in their lives. They are usually found a few miles offshore near any type of cover they can find. It’s not uncommon to spot a small school of mahi mahi swimming around a single log floating in the water, or even a patch of weeds or other material.  

These fish typically feed on virtually anything they can find in the upper portion of the ocean’s water column. Their appetite often consists of small bait fish that swim in schools or try to stay near various types of debris in the water, as well as squid, shrimp and anything else they come across in the water. In some parts of the world, mahi mahi can grow to well over 60 pounds and the world record is listed as an 87-pound behemoth that was caught off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica in 1976. 

Many anglers like to use live baits when fishing for mahi, but it’s common to have success with artificial lures as well. There are many schools of thought when it comes to the best techniques for catching mahi mahi, but it’s best to try trolling or pitching lures at them once you have located a school of mahi or a piece of debris that has mahi swimming around it. 

If you’ve ever caught a mahi mahi, you’re probably well-acquainted with the nature with which these fish species fight and attack their prey. It’s sometimes common for mahi to go into a sort of feeding frenzy which can result in an angler catching many different fish in a very short amount of time. In order to have the best chance at accomplishing a feat like this, you need to be equipped with an assortment of solid mahi mahi lures that are proven to work in many different circumstances. 

Here are our top selections for the best mahi mahi fishing lures you’ll find in today’s fishing industry, as well as some pro’s and con’s associated with using them. 

7 Best Mahi Mahi Lures

1. Kmucutie Trolling Lure Set 

kmucutie 6.5inch 6pieces Rigged Trolling Lure Marlin Tuna Mahi Dolphin Durado Wahoo Octopus Skirted...
  • lure Size: 6.5 inch ( about 17cm) . 6 popular colors.
  • Package: 6 pcs Mixed colour lure/bag. Six colors on the picture.
  • Hook: 7/0 high carbon steel hook

Mahi mahi usually spend the majority of their day in search of any type of prey they can find at the surface or just below it. In many cases, their favorite menu items are fast-swimming squid or other creatures that the mahi mahi has to chase down and catch. It’s this reason why a dorado will often go after any fast-moving, brightly-colored lure such as the Kmucutie Trolling Lure Set. 

The Kmcutie Trolling Lure Set is our top pick when it comes to catching mahi because it works throughout the year in virtually any part of the world where you might find these colorful fish. Some anglers might argue that there are other trolling lures or chuggers out there that are a better overall option than the ones in this set, but the fact that you get 6 different color options is a big reason why this lure combo set is so valuable. 

Each one of these squid-like lures comes in a 6.5-inch body that’s fully-rigged and ready to go with its own leader line already attached. These individual lures are made with a PVC skirt that’s brightly-colored to draw the attention of hungry mahi mahi and are the perfect trolling lure. The head portion of each chugger lure is fitted with a lead weight, which makes it easy to cast the lure if needed. 

Pros:

  • Comes in a set of 6 chugger lures
  • Different colors 
  • Durable carbon steel hooks
  • Pre-rigged for quick and easy use
  • Can be used trolling or casting 

Cons:

  • Can be damaged after being bitten

2. C and H Stubby Bubbler 

C&H RRSB-8 Rig & Ready Stubby Bubblr, 5-1/2-Inch, Pink/White/Pink Mylar
  • Highly effective for use in general fishing
  • Comes in pink, white and pink Mylar
  • CandH lure designs are tested in the water for years before they are offered to the public

The Squidnation Slammer Chugger C and H Stubby Bubbler is a lure that’s very similar to the Kmcutie Trolling Lure chugger set in many ways. While these two lures have a lot of similarities, some anglers will likely opt for the C and H Stubby Bubbler simply because it’s made of slightly better quality. The Stubby Chugger is more expensive, but there are a number of benefits from selecting a lure like this as opposed to going with a more affordable set. 

These chugger lures are 5.5 inches long and can be fished close to the boat in the wake, or farther behind if you choose. The Stubby Bubbler is well-designed so that it produces noticeable bubbles as it runs through the water, whether it’s being trolled behind the boat, or if you want to cast it at a piece of debris or weed patch in the water. 

Unlike the other chugger lures we’ve mentioned, this one is more lightweight, which means it can be fished in and around weed beds and it’s less likely to pick up debris on the hook than a heavier lead weighted lure. This is another one that comes pre-rigged and can be quickly and easily tied on when time is of the essence. 

Pros:

  • Comes in a variety of colors
  • Excellent bubbling action
  • Lightweight for running closer to the surface
  • Pre-rigged for quick and easy use

Cons:

  • More expensive than other chugger lures

3. Squidnation Slammer Chugger

Squidnation Slammer Chugger 10 Pack (Pink)
  • Squidnation Slammer Chugger head diameter is 11mm, length is 3″. Big enough to move water when...
  • This tiny bait enhancer tracks true and won’t jump around in rough seas, but it’s still big...
  • The small diameter won’t hamper billfish bites, and makes this a great way to entice fish

The Squidnation Slammer Chugger makes a very strong case for being the overall best mahi mahi lure on the market today. This one comes in a set of 10 different lures and is a smaller 3-inch model as opposed to most of the competitors’ lures that are 5 inches or more. Many anglers use these chuggers to catch a variety of other types of saltwater game fish species, but they are excellent when it comes to mahi mahi fishing. 

The Slammer Chugger is small enough to be easily cast out around various types of cover and is also designed to have great tracking so that it isn’t affected by rough water as it’s being trolled. One of the only potential downsides to this one is that the Squidnation Slammer Chugger lures do not come with a hook installed already like the other chugger lures do. 

These can be used with a 7/0, 8/0 or 9/0 hook size and come in a variety of 7 different color varieties that include pink, black, blue, blue/silver, neon green, purple/black and red. The Slammer Chuggers are a great choice if you want to use a variety of different hook sizes and are an exceptional value when compared to most other chugger style trolling lures used for mahi mahi fishing. 

Pros:

  • Small and lightweight lure
  • Great chugging action 
  • Designed for excellent tracking in rough or calm seas
  • Comes in pack of 10

Cons:

  • Do not come with hooks installed

4. SHIMANO Butterfly Flat-Fall Fishing Jig

SHIMANO Butterfly Flat-Fall Fishing Jig, 200G, Chart White
  • Shimano Butterfly Flat-Fall Jigs are a totally new concept of Butterfly Jigging technique
  • Drop the jig down to the bottom; then crank it up 30 feet off the bottom and free spool
  • Or cast the jig and let it fall while free spooling; wait for the bite; then jerk and repeat

There are no shortages of different jigging lures that are intended to be used to catch mahi mahi, but it’s hard to find one that’s better than the Shimano Butterfly Flat-Fall Fishing Jig. This unique and versatile jigging lure is an outstanding choice of lure for anglers who like to use different techniques when the fish are not interested in trolling lures. 

The Shimano Butterfly Flat-Fall Fishing Jig is very well-made and comes in 7 different color combinations that are made to resemble some of the most commonly-found bait fish species that fish like mahi mahi like to feed on. This lure is designed with rear/center weight balance that allows it to fall to the bottom quickly with an erratic, swinging motion that helps attract bites on the way down. 

The Shimano Butterfly Flat-Fall Fishing Jig can be purchased in 6 different size options that allow the angler to select the one just right for their own needs. The smaller  3.75-inch model is great for going after smaller mahi that can be caught in larger numbers while the largest 5.3-inch version is well-suited for trophy-sized dorado. 

Pros:

  • Excellent durability compared to other butterfly jigs
  • Highly reflective appearance helps to attract bites
  • Produces distinct swinging motion as it falls 

Cons:

  • Small hooks sometimes result in missing strikes

5. Yo-Zuri 3D Inshore Twitchbait

Yo-Zuri 3D Inshore Twitchbait Slow Sinking Lure, Mullet, 90mm/3-1/2
  • All new flat sided lipless twitch bait with internal 3D prism finish
  • Perfectly balanced for quick starting action
  • Saltwater grade hooks and split rings

When mahi are feeding on schools of small bait fish, most anglers will reach for certain types of live bait to catch the fish they’re after. However, a hard lure like the Yo-Zuri 3D Inshore Twitchbait is also an excellent choice and can be fished in a variety of ways to catch mahi mahi and many other types of sportfish species in the ocean. 

This lure is made to have a distinct twitching action that mimics the movements of a wounded, confused or dying bait fish, which most mahi mahi find to be irresistible. It’s a fairly heavy lure that sinks faster than most other hard plugs commonly used to catch mahi in open waters. This faster sinking action means the lure will reach the optimal depth you want quicker instead of having to wait longer for the twitchbait to sink down. 

The Yo-Zuri 3D Inshore Twitchbait comes in a variety of different color patterns and combinations, but my personal favorite is the mullet pattern since a small mullet is a favorite menu choice for mahi in southern Florida. You can fish this lure in an erratic twitching motion with slow or fast speeds to produce bites. 

Pros:

  • Internal prism for added light reflection
  • Heavy lure sinks faster than most other saltwater plugs
  • Easy to cast
  • Well-suited to be thrown around debris or cover 
  • Very realistic appearance 

Cons:

  • Not easy for beginners to use

6. Ancient Mariner Tackle MAHI Magician Daisy Chain

Tuna Bullet- MAHI Magician w/ Daisy Chain for Tuna, Mahi, Wahoo, and Marlin
  • Big-game trolling bullet with daisy chain with three, 4.5-inch double-skirted and weighted teasers...
  • Reflective blue insert with wobbly, black eyes that look rearward when moving through the water
  • Lure comes with a black nickel, 8/0 Mustad hook stiff rigged with hook protector and inline beads

Daisy chains are an excellent choice of lure to catch mahi mahi at certain times of the year in offshore waters. There are plenty of different versions of this lure you can choose from, but it’s hard to find one that’s better than the Ancient Mariner Tackle MAHI Magician Daisy Chain. This daisy chain is more of a lightweight version of the popular setup that includes a 9-foot leader that’s made with 150 pound test monofilament line. 

Each individual MAHI Magician daisy chain comes with 3 different 4.5-inch squid-like lures that are double-skirted for extra action when trolling through the water. Each squid lure contains a reflective blue insert that’s fitted with eyes which are designed to wobble and move backward as it is being pulled. Each one also comes with an 8/0 size hook that’s made of black nickel material and also comes with red, inlined beads and a hook protector. 

Pros:

  • Durable components 
  • Double-skirted 
  • Reflective blue insert in each squid 
  • Wobbly eyes for more realistic appearance 

Cons:

  • Expensive 

7. Halco Roosta Popper

Halco RP135#H69 135 Roosta Popper
  • Product Type: Fishing Hook
  • Item Package Dimensions: 17.78 L X 5.842 W X 0.254 H (Cm)
  • Country Of Origin: Indonesia

There’s no other lure that’s quite as much fun as a good topwater popper when it comes to fishing for mahi mahi or other saltwater fish species. The Halco Roosta Popper is our favorite choice of saltwater popper that’s commonly used to catch tuna, mahi mahi and other species across much of the world. The Halco Roosta is 5.3-inches long and can be purchased in 7 different color combinations that are designed to look like certain bait fish species that mahi mahi like to feed on. 

These lures produce a very large splash as they are popped across the surface and come with two durable treble hooks that ensure you won’t miss any fish that strike at the Roosta. The Halco brand makes these poppers in many different sizes, including a larger 195 version that’s almost 8-inches long and can be purchased in a variety of color patterns that are made to resemble fish like bonita, striper, yellowfin tuna and others. 

Pros:

  • Easy to use 
  • Quality lure 
  • Can be used to catch other saltwater species 
  • Highly-realistic detail compared to other saltwater popper lures 

Cons:

  • Hooks are not as durable as poppers made by other brands 

Mahi Mahi Lures Buyer’s Guide 

When it comes to buying a good selection of lures for your next mahi mahi fishing trip, there are a few key points you’ll need to keep in mind. There are various styles of lures you can use to successfully catch mahi mahi, but it’s best to look for the highest quality products if you want the best chance to catch the fish you’re after. 

Realistic Detail 

Some lures will have much higher levels of realistic detail compared to others that are used for catching mahi mahi. Many lures that are specifically used for trolling often lack the intricate detail a jigging lure or diving crankbait might have. This is mostly because the fish won’t get a very good look at lures that are trolling through the water and are more likely to strike out of instinct rather than examine their target more closely. 

If you’re using a plug, popper or other type of lure, it’s a good idea to go with one that packs in greater details instead of selecting a more affordable lure that is poorly-made. The faster you troll these lures, the less you’ll need to worry about having a high level of detail. 

Size

Bigger is not always better when it comes to the best mahi mahi fishing lures. There are some instances where having a smaller lure is more advantageous than using one that’s considered to be larger in scale. If you’re going after trophy-sized mahi, it’s generally acceptable to use larger lures, but if you’re simply trying to catch your limit of fish, it’s sometimes better to use smaller, more lightweight lures. 

The obvious reason for this is because smaller-sized mahi sometimes won’t strike at an overly-large lure, but there are other reasons why a lighter lure is a better choice in some cases. If you’re casting a lure around a weed bed, logs or other types of cover where mahi are known to hold up around, it’s usually better to have a more lightweight lure that won’t be easily snagged on weeds or other material in the water. 

Smaller, lighter lures are also better for keeping your bait up at the top of the water column near the surface. Be sure to also pay close attention to the hook size you’re using with certain kinds of mahi mahi lures. A hook that’s too large might result in missing a number of strikes from hungry fish that are too small to fit the lure or hook inside its mouth. 

Match the Hatch 

Depending on where you’re fishing for mahi mahi, it’s wise to do plenty of research and find out what the fish in the area like to eat. There will always be certain kinds of bait fish that will effectively catch fish throughout most of the world, but in some regions, there are unique species that might be a favorite prey item for mahi. 

I usually like to ask anyone at the local bait shop or even consult local fishing guides and anglers to ask if there are any specific types of lures that tend to work better at certain times of year when it comes to catching mahi mahi. In a lot of cases, this is the best way to gain useful information related to fishing in different areas at various times of the year. 

Last update on 2022-01-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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Donny Karr

Donny Karr is a Tournament Angler and writer whose work has been featured in magazines for nearly a decade. He enjoys bass and crappie fishing in the lakes around the south-eastern United States, as well as trout fishing in the streams and rivers of the Appalachian mountains. He enjoys keeping up with the latest news and gear items in the fishing industry and is always looking forward to his next outdoor adventure. Donny has written for Georgia Outdoor News, The Outdoor Trip, Man Can Outdoors, Global Fishing Reports, and Bassmaster.