Mahis, with their dazzling colors, are one of the most beautiful and tasty fish in the sea. They are pelagic and roam the open ocean, spawning year-round in the warm ocean currents. They reach sexual maturity quickly and spawn two to three times per year, releasing up to a million eggs. The good news is they are a fast-growing and abundant species which makes them an ideal target for conservation-minded hunters.
Spearfishing Mahis Good For Beginners
More good news—they are a perfect “starter fish” for anglers who want to give spearfishing a try. Most hook-and-line anglers are already experts at finding them, often looking for seaweed or floating debris. Whether you want to jump in because they are not biting, or you simply want to try something new, bluewater diving can be an exhilarating experience. When jumping on a weedline, you are treated to a beautiful sight of crystal blue water, bright orange Sargasso weed, and cute little jacks and sea creatures who will come by to check you out.
It’s even more spectacular when you see the brightly colored mahi show up. They swim at the surface, so you don’t have to be an expert freediver to hunt them. They are not overly wary, if you don’t spook them. I always tell people, “pretend you are a log, and let them come to you.”
Here are some tips for spearfishing mahis:
1. Use the right equipment. Even though you are at the surface, deeper water requires bluewater equipment with surface floatation (in case you spear a big one and it decides to go down). The float will do the work for you. Your local dive shop should be happy to advise you on the right set-up.
2. Use flashers and chum to increase your chances of attracting them. Dive shops carry ready-made flashers that hang from a float, or you can make your own (instructions online).
3. Move in a slow and relaxed way. Mahi are fast swimmers, reaching up to 55 mph, so if you do scare them, you will not catch them.
4. Extend your speargun slowly and take careful aim. If they are close and not moving fast, aim for the head (killshot). If they are far, aim for center mass.
5. As most anglers know, once on a line, mahis are fast, flashy and acrobatic. When speared, they sometimes make figure-eight moves, rather than swimming straight away from you like most other fish. Do not let them circle or make loops around you – just swim away from them and keep tension on the line.
6. Once a mahi is tired and ready to be subdued, hold it by the gills.
7. Once you’ve mastered spearfishing mahis with a speargun, you can try using a polespear for an added challenge.
Sheri is a world-record holder, host of Speargun Hunter, and producer of “The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo” in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Follow “Sheri Daye” and “The Blue Wild” on Facebook and Instagram.