Best Lures for Mahi Mahi: 2021 Buying Guide

Kenneth ReavesEdited by: Kenneth Reaves
Michael DarmontReviewed by: Michael Darmont

Last Update:

The Rundown

Best Overall: C&H Lures Stubby Bubbler (click to see)
“One of the best ways to target mahi mahi is trolling noisy lures near the surface, making the Stubby Bubbler an ideal choice. You can use it with a strip bait or just on its own.”

Best Premium Option: Bost 63 Daisy Chains (click to see)
“Flying fish are the favored prey of quite a few offshore game fish, mahi-mahi included. Adding the Daisy Chains to your spread encourages strikes and brings a lot of attraction.”

Best Budget Option: Capt Jay Fishing Saltwater Jigs (click to see)
“The Capt Jay Jigs are excellent for getting the attention of deeper-holding fish. It’s a good choice for anglers to have on them when the weed lines are broken up”

Mahi mahi (or dorado, dolphin fish) is one of the prettiest and tastiest offshore game species you can target. While they favor deeper water around currents, they tend to spend most of their time at the top of the water column feeding smaller prey species like flying fish. So if you want to get into mahi mahi fishing, you’re going to need to know which lures give you the best chances of success in various situations.

The best lures for mahi mahi are brightly colored, flashy, and can be trolled or retrieved at speed. You also want to cover a decent amount of the water column, make a lot of noise, and get your lure right in the face of the fish.

Thanks to the fish’s popularity, there are a million different opinions and lures that promise to catch mahi mahi on the market. We’ve put this list together to help you make an informed buying decision and put you in a position to find success in various situations.

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Best Trolling Lures for Mahi

Our Top 7 Picks

Best Overall

Stubby Bubbler

C&H Lures Stubby Bubbler 

Best Overall Mahi Mahi Lure

A lightweight head doesn’t get caught in weeds

Fish anywhere in the spread

Best Premium Option

Bost 63 Flying Fish Tuna Mahi Daisy Chain

Bost 63 Daisy Chains

Best Premium Mahi Mahi Lure

Mimics flying fish school to enhance spread attraction

Attract mahi mahi with one of their favorite foods

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Best Budget Option

Capt Jay Fishing Saltwater jigs Speed Jigging Slow Jigging Pitching Lures,Vertical Jigging Artificial Lures Jigging Lure Fishing jigs (100g New Pink, 100g)

Capt Jay Fishing Saltwater Jigs

Best Budget Mahi Mahi Lure

Great durability

Perfect for fishing around broken-up weeds 

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Best Topwater Lure

Yo-Zuri R1154-CIW Bull Pop Floating Lure, Chrome Sardine

Yo-Zuri Bull Pop Floating Lure

Best Topwater Mahi Mahi Lure

Great for casting into schools and bringing fish near the boat

Extra-strong treble hooks

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Best Diving Lure

Rapala X-Rap Magnum 30 Fishing lure (Bonito, Size- 6.25)

Rapala X-Rap Magnum

Best Diving Mahi Mahi Lure

Able to avoid using planers to get a trolling bait deep

Deep-diving trolling lure or great floating casting lure

Best Spread Accessory

Sea Striker SSP3 Planer

Sea Striker Planer

Best Spread Accessory for Mahi Mahi Lure

Great for running drone spoons, sea witches, and feathered lures

Easy-to-use with a bit of practice

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Best For Rigging Lures

American Fishing Wire 0.020-Inch Diameter Rigging Wire with 14-Inch Copper (50-Piece)

American Fishing Wire

Best Rigging Wire for Mahi Mahi Lure

50 strands of wire

High-strength copper wire won’t rust out on you

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Best Lures for Mahi Mahi in 2021

  1. C&H Lures Stubby Bubbler
  2. Bost 63 Daisy Chains
  3. Capt Jay Fishing Saltwater Jigs
  4. Yo-Zuri Bull Pop Floating Lure
  5. Rapala X-Rap Magnum
  6. Sea Striker Planer
  7. American Fishing Wire

C&H Lures Stubby Bubbler

Best Overall: Perfect for fishing anywhere in a spread and great for running through weed lines.

Stubby Bubbler

KEY FEATURES

  • A lightweight head doesn’t get caught in weeds
  • Huge bubble trail
  • Fish anywhere in the spread

One of the best ways to target mahi mahi is trolling noisy lures near the surface, and the Stubby Bubbler is a great choice. You can use it with a strip bait or just on its own, and you won’t have to worry too much about weeds getting caught on the head. Overall, it’s an excellent choice for any anglers targeting mahi mahi.

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Lure Details

The 5 ½ inch length is excellent for mahi mahi and blackfin tuna in the areas you’ll be fishing. It comes in a few different colors, but pink and white are one of your best bets. It comes ready to be used right out of the package, with a 6-foot 100-pound monofilament leader and a 7/0 hook. 

The lightweight head not only creates a huge bubble trail and a ton of noise, but it’s great for running through and around weed lines since it won’t tangle and drag weeds on it. The skirt is made of mylar and will stand up to hits from fish.

How to Best Use It

The best way to use these mahi mahi lures is to fish a few of them in a spread. Ideally, fish at least two, along with some deeper running lures of a daisy chain for maximum effect. You’ll want to locate some floating structure, low-diving birds, or floating weed lines and troll them around those areas between 2 and 8 knots.

Bost 63 Daisy Chains Squidnation & Flying Fish

Best Premium Option: Attract mahi mahi with one of their favorite foods.

Bost 63 Flying Fish Tuna Mahi Daisy Chain

KEY FEATURES

  • Four flying fish with a skirt on the bottom
  • Mimics flying fish school to enhance spread attraction
  • Attracts a variety of pelagic gamefish, not just mahi mahi

Flying fish are the favored prey of quite a few offshore game fish, mahi mahi included. Adding the Daisy Chains to your spread encourages strikes and brings a lot of attraction when fished in the shotgun position. It’s an excellent choice for anglers looking to fish a variety of lures in their trolling spread. 

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Lure Details

The rig is made from 200-pound monofilament and has a 6/0 hook inside the 6.5-inch skirt at the bottom. The four flying fish are a great addition to help bring fish up from deeper water or enticing strikes in general. 

How to Best Use It

You can fish this rig either in the shotgun position or mid-distance if you use an outrigger. Fishing it alongside other lures like the Stubby Bubbler is best, but this rig will usually be the one that gets a bite first. 

Capt Jay Fishing Saltwater Jigs

Best Budget Option: Perfect for fishing around broken-up weeds and doesn’t waste gas trolling.

Capt Jay Fishing Saltwater jigs Speed Jigging Slow Jigging Pitching Lures,Vertical Jigging Artificial Lures Jigging Lure Fishing jigs (100g New Pink, 100g)

KEY FEATURES

  • Great durability
  • Great for getting the attention of deeper-holding fish
  • Choose the size and color you want

Capt Jay Fishing Saltwater Jigs do exceptionally well when you’re fishing for a variety of gamefish. They’re perfect for dropping down when mahi mahi are holding deeper than you can pitch out dead baits or reliably get a trolling lure down. It’s a good choice for anglers to have on them when the weed lines are broken up, or you’re marking fish deeper than you can get your other baits. 

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Lure Details

The jigs are made from high-quality, non-corrosive materials and hold up well to big strikes from fish. They come with either one or two assist hooks, attached with a heavy line for hooking any fish that bite.

The mirror finish reflects light, and the lures glow in the dark, helping increase their visibility in darker water. In addition, the 3D eye and color variety helps bring some attraction and a realistic look to the lures.

How to Best Use It

While mahi mahi spends most of their time near the surface, especially when feeding, they do prefer water that’s at least 150 feet deep. Sometimes they’ll hold deeper than the top 30 feet of water you usually catch fish in, making trolling or pitching baits to them difficult. They’ll do this most often around singular pieces of floating debris and small patches of weeds, and you can find better success with a jig in these situations.

Yo-Zuri Bull Pop Floating Lure

Best Topwater Lure: Fantastic casting distance and surface action make poppers a great choice to bring in mahi mahi.

Yo-Zuri R1154-CIW Bull Pop Floating Lure, Chrome Sardine

KEY FEATURES

  • Two sizes and ten color patterns
  • Extra-strong treble hooks
  • Great for casting into schools and bringing fish near the boat

Topwater lures are slowly getting more popular with many mahi mahi anglers. This popper from Yo-Zuri is perfect for anglers wanting to cast into a school or bring a school closer to the boat to hit pitch baits.

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Lure Details

The Bull Popper comes with extra-strong treble hooks and has a solid through wire construction. It’s balanced well to give you an excellent casting distance as well. These mahi mahi lures come in two sizes, 6-inch and 2-1/2 ounces, and 8-inch and 5 ounces, and ten-color varieties. 

The cupped head splashes and makes a ton of noise in the water, so it will stand out to fish even in a feeding frenzy. In addition to this, the patented power body is incredibly durable. 

How to Best Use It

You’ll want to find schools of mahi mahi around weed lines or under birds that are feeding on baitfish before pulling this out. Then, instead of trolling through the school, start pitching out dead or live baits and have one or two anglers casting the popper out into the school. Not only will the popper get bites, but the mahi mahi that chases it near the boat will find the baits you have thrown out as well.

Rapala X-Rap Magnum

Best Diving Lure:  Deep-diving trolling lure or great floating casting lure

Rapala X-Rap Magnum 30 Fishing lure (Bonito, Size- 6.25)

KEY FEATURES

  • Huge variety of colors and sizes
  • Great for casting or trolling
  • Able to avoid using planers to get a trolling bait deep

Some anglers only run surface baits in their trolling spread and can miss fish holding deeper. You can use a planer to get a lure deeper, but it’s easier to fish a lure with a dicing lip since there won’t be anything tangling your line. The X-Rap Magnum is the perfect choice for anglers looking for a good diving lure and a ton of versatility. 

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Lure Details

The X-Rap Magnum stands out thanks to its versatility in both uses, size, and patterns. For mahi mahi, a pink lure 6-1/2 inches, the 2.5-ounce lure is ideal. X-Raps have bright, flashy inserts that help mimic baitfish and attract your target fish. Coming with two trebles and a diving lip, the X-Rap is great for deeper trolling than you’d get out of a bubbler or other surface bait. 

How to Best Use It

The best place to use these is in a spread with surface lures. The deeper trolling X-Raps get down in the water to pull up deeper holding fish and get them to bite. With the right size, you can also use them as casting lures once you’ve found a school, tossing it in and hoping it gets picked up by a big mahi mahi.

Sea Striker SSP3 Planer

Best Spread Accessory:  Hold your lure at your desired depth with the right sized planer.

Sea Striker SSP3 Planer

KEY FEATURES

  • Comes in five different sizes for different depths
  • Great for running drone spoons, sea witches, and feathered lures
  • Easy-to-use with a bit of practice 

While we discussed avoiding them in the last entry, planers are extremely useful for keeping lures and bait down at the depth you want. These planers from Sea Striker are an excellent choice for any angler wanting to get a trolling bait down deeper and come in various sizes corresponding to different trolling depths. 

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Lure Details

Planers are pretty simple. The size of the planer corresponds to the lead weight attached to the front and how deep it dives in the water. Size one runs 5-12 feet deep, size two runs 10-20 feet deep, size 3 runs 12-25 feet deep, and size 4 runs 15-30 feet deep. There is a size 8, but that works more like an outrigger. 

If you want to use larger baits, go for a bigger planer, with sizes 3 and 4 are excellent choices for mahi mahi. 

How to Best Use It

You’ll typically attach your line to a snap swivel, which then connects to the ring on the planer. From there, you’ll attach a snap swivel with a 30-50 foot leader to the other side of the planer, which then runs down to your lure. You’ll want to use these when you want to get a skirted lure or rigged dead bait deeper in the water and keep it from running up to the surface.

American Fishing Wire

Best For Rigging Lures: Perfect for rigging up ballyhoo for mahi mahi and tuna, and mahi mahi bellies for swordfish, sailfish, and marlin.

American Fishing Wire 0.020-Inch Diameter Rigging Wire with 14-Inch Copper (50-Piece)

KEY FEATURES

  • 50 strands of wire
  • The 14-inch length is plenty for rigging
  • High-strength copper wire won’t rust out on you

A great way to target a ton of aquatic species is to rig up ballyhoo and other dead baitfish and troll them to mimic a school of baitfish. One of the easiest ways to do this is with American Fishing Wire, to hold the fish body and attach your hooks. For anglers who prefer using natural baits instead of artificials, it’s not only a good choice but an essential one. 

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How to Best Use It

Speaking of dead baits from our planer entry, these wires work great combined with whole ballyhoo and a planer. You can run multiple dead ballyhoos rigged up with this wire on planers to mimic a swimming school of ballyhoo. It’s a great way to use dead baits to troll for pelagic species like mahi mahi, also catching tuna, wahoo, and even sailfish and marlin. 

There are many ways to rig ballyhoo, so you can find a way that works best for you. Here’s a short guide for using the copper wire. 

You’ll want to twist the wire onto your hook and then through the eye or the hook. Then insert your hook through the gill plate of the ballyhoo on the bottom and into the cavity of the fish, eventually puncturing it with your hook coming out through its belly. Then take the copper wire, wrap it around the fish behind each gill plate, go through its eyes, once in front of the eyes, and then up through the jaw. This secures the fish and your hook while still giving you a lifelike presentation. If you have questions or want to do it a different way, there are many videos and guides out there.

Questions & Answers

What depth do you catch mahi mahi?

Mahi mahi is most commonly caught on or near the surface, especially around surface structures like weeds or floating debris. They tend to spend time in water between 100 and 30,000 feet deep but rarely sit deeper than 100 feet down. Therefore, you’ll typically want to fish surface lures and include a few deep diving plugs to reach mahi mahi running 30-50 feet down. 

How fast do you troll for mahi mahi?

The best trolling speed for mahi mahi is around 8 knots. However, you can usually troll between 5 and 10 knots and find success, so vary your approach when you aren’t getting bites. 

Where do you fish for mahi mahi?

Mahi mahi is found on the East Coast near the Gulf Stream and the West Coast of California, Mexico, and Central America. They migrate huge distances each year and spend a lot of time in convergent currents where the water is warmest.