Best Times & Seasons to Catch Mahi-Mahi in Cabo San Lucas

Today we discuss Best Times & Seasons to Catch Mahi-Mahi in Cabo San Lucas. Cabo San Lucas, located at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula in Mexico, is a renowned fishing destination known for its diverse marine life and exceptional angling opportunities.

One of the most sought-after game fish in these waters is the magnificent mahi-mahi, also known as the dolphinfish or dorado. With its vibrant colors, acrobatic fighting spirit, and delectable flesh, the mahi-mahi has captured the hearts and imaginations of anglers from around the world.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the best times and seasons to target mahi-mahi in the waters around Cabo San Lucas. Whether you’re a seasoned deep-sea fisherman or a novice angler, understanding the optimal conditions for catching these elusive creatures can significantly enhance your chances of a successful and memorable fishing trip.

Best Times & Seasons to Catch Mahi-Mahi in Cabo San Lucas:

The Mahi-Mahi: A Fascinating Fish

Mahi-mahi, scientifically known as Coryphaena hippurus, are pelagic fish that thrive in warm, tropical and subtropical waters around the world. These vibrant creatures are renowned for their stunning appearance, with iridescent greens, blues, and golds that seem to shimmer and change as they move through the water.

Mahi-mahi are known for their impressive size, with adults typically ranging from 3 to 6 feet in length and weighing between 15 to 60 pounds. They are also renowned for their incredible speed and agility, making them a thrilling target for anglers. These fish are voracious predators, feeding on a variety of smaller fish, squid, and crustaceans, which contributes to their impressive growth rates and fighting prowess.

The Seasonal Mahi-Mahi Migration in Cabo San Lucas

The migration patterns of mahi-mahi in the waters around Cabo San Lucas are closely tied to the region’s seasonal changes and oceanic conditions. Understanding these patterns can help anglers maximize their chances of encountering and catching these incredible fish.

Spring (March to May)

During the spring months, the waters around Cabo San Lucas begin to warm, and the first waves of mahi-mahi start to arrive in the area. This is often considered the “early season” for mahi-mahi fishing, and anglers can expect to find smaller, younger fish that have recently joined the migratory schools.

The spring season is an excellent time to target mahi-mahi, as the fish are actively feeding and are generally more aggressive in their pursuit of prey. Anglers can expect to find mahi-mahi in the 10 to 30-pound range during this time, with the occasional larger trophy fish mixed in.

Summer (June to August)

As the summer months approach, the waters around Cabo San Lucas continue to warm, and the mahi-mahi migration reaches its peak. This is the prime season for catching these incredible fish, with larger, more mature specimens joining the schools.

During the summer, anglers can expect to find mahi-mahi in the 20 to 50-pound range, with the occasional fish exceeding 60 pounds. The fish are highly active and are known to put up an incredible fight, making for an exhilarating angling experience.

Fall (September to November)

As the summer heat begins to subside, the waters around Cabo San Lucas start to cool, and the mahi-mahi migration begins to wind down. This is the “late season” for mahi-mahi fishing, and anglers can still find success, but the numbers of fish may start to dwindle.

During the fall months, anglers can expect to find mahi-mahi in the 15 to 40-pound range, with the larger fish becoming less common as the season progresses. However, the fish that are still present are often highly aggressive and can provide an exciting challenge for anglers.

Winter (December to February)

The winter months in Cabo San Lucas are generally considered the “off-season” for mahi-mahi fishing, as the majority of the fish have moved on to other areas. However, it is still possible to catch the occasional mahi-mahi during this time, particularly in the early winter months.

During the winter, anglers may find smaller, younger mahi-mahi in the 10 to 20-pound range, as well as the occasional larger fish that has remained in the area. However, the overall fishing pressure and success rates are typically lower during this time of year.

Factors Influencing Mahi-Mahi Presence and Behavior

In addition to the seasonal migration patterns, several other factors can influence the presence and behavior of mahi-mahi in the waters around Cabo San Lucas. Understanding these factors can help anglers better anticipate and target the fish during their fishing trips.

Water Temperature

Mahi-mahi are highly sensitive to water temperature and prefer warm, tropical waters. They are typically found in waters ranging from 70°F to 85°F, with the optimal temperature range being around 75°F to 80°F.

In Cabo San Lucas, the water temperatures tend to be warmest during the summer months, which coincides with the peak of the mahi-mahi migration. As the water cools in the fall and winter, the fish may become less active and more difficult to locate.

Baitfish Availability

Mahi-mahi are opportunistic predators and will feed on a variety of smaller fish, including flying fish, ballyhoo, and small tuna. The presence and abundance of these baitfish species can have a significant impact on the behavior and location of mahi-mahi in the area.

When baitfish are plentiful, mahi-mahi will often congregate in areas where they can easily feed, such as around floating debris, seamounts, and other underwater structures. Anglers should keep an eye out for signs of baitfish activity, as this can often indicate the presence of mahi-mahi in the area.

Current Patterns and Upwellings

The currents and upwellings in the waters around Cabo San Lucas can also play a role in the distribution and behavior of mahi-mahi. These fish are often found in areas where warm and cold currents meet, as this can create nutrient-rich upwellings that attract baitfish and other prey.

Anglers should pay attention to changes in current patterns and be prepared to adjust their fishing strategies accordingly. For example, mahi-mahi may be more likely to congregate near the edges of currents or in areas where upwellings are occurring.

Lunar Cycles

The phases of the moon can also have an impact on the feeding and activity patterns of mahi-mahi. During the full moon and new moon phases, the fish may be more active and aggressive, as these periods can coincide with increased baitfish activity and spawning events.

Anglers may find that they have more success targeting mahi-mahi during the full moon and new moon phases, as the fish may be more readily available and more willing to strike at lures and baits.

Techniques for Catching Mahi-Mahi in Cabo San Lucas

With an understanding of the seasonal patterns and environmental factors that influence mahi-mahi in the waters around Cabo San Lucas, anglers can employ a variety of techniques to increase their chances of success.


Trolling is one of the most popular and effective methods for catching mahi-mahi in Cabo San Lucas. This technique involves towing lures or baits behind a moving boat, allowing anglers to cover a large area and target fish that may be actively feeding on the surface or in the upper water column.

When trolling for mahi-mahi, anglers should use a variety of lures and baits, including flashy, brightly-colored lures, live baitfish, and rigged ballyhoo. It’s also important to pay attention to the boat’s speed and the depth of the lures or baits, as these factors can significantly impact the effectiveness of the presentation.


Chumming, or the practice of throwing chopped-up baitfish or other chum into the water to attract fish, can be an effective technique for targeting mahi-mahi in Cabo San Lucas. This method can help create a feeding frenzy and draw the fish closer to the boat, making them more likely to strike at lures or baits.

When chumming for mahi-mahi, anglers should use a variety of baitfish species, such as sardines, mackerel, and anchovies. It’s also important to distribute the chum evenly throughout the water column, as mahi-mahi are known to feed at different depths.

Live Bait Fishing

Live bait fishing can be a highly effective technique for catching mahi-mahi in Cabo San Lucas, particularly when the fish are actively feeding. This method involves using a variety of live baitfish, such as ballyhoo, sardines, or small tuna, as the primary attractant.

When live bait fishing for mahi-mahi, anglers should use a sturdy, well-balanced rod and reel setup, as the fish are known for their powerful runs and acrobatic jumps. It’s also important to use a leader material that is strong enough to withstand the fish’s sharp teeth and powerful movements.

Sight Fishing

Sight fishing, or the practice of visually locating and targeting individual mahi-mahi, can be a thrilling and challenging technique for anglers in Cabo San Lucas. This method involves scanning the water’s surface for signs of the fish, such as their distinctive dorsal fins or the presence of baitfish activity, and then casting lures or baits in their direction.

Sight fishing for mahi-mahi requires a keen eye, quick reflexes, and the ability to make accurate casts. It can be particularly effective during the summer months when the fish are most active and visible on the surface.

Tips for a Successful Mahi-Mahi Fishing Trip in Cabo San Lucas

To maximize your chances of a successful and enjoyable mahi-mahi fishing trip in Cabo San Lucas, consider the following tips:

  1. Time Your Trip Properly: Plan your trip during the peak mahi-mahi season, which is typically from June to August, to increase your chances of encountering large, trophy-sized fish.
  2. Choose the Right Fishing Charter: Research and book a reputable fishing charter that has experience targeting mahi-mahi in the Cabo San Lucas area. Look for charters that use high-quality equipment and have knowledgeable, experienced captains and crew.
  3. Bring the Right Gear: Ensure that you have the appropriate fishing rods, reels, line, and terminal tackle to effectively target mahi-mahi. Consider using heavier gear, as these fish are known for their powerful runs and jumps.
  4. Stay Flexible: Be prepared to adjust your fishing strategies and techniques based on the current conditions, such as water temperature, baitfish activity, and weather patterns. Mahi-mahi can be unpredictable, so it’s important to be adaptable.
  5. Practice Proper Fish Handling: If you’re planning to release any caught mahi-mahi, be sure to handle the fish with care and minimize the time it spends out of the water. This will help ensure the fish’s survival and maintain the health of the local population.
  6. Enjoy the Experience: Mahi-mahi fishing in Cabo San Lucas is not just about the catch – it’s about the entire experience. Take the time to soak in the stunning natural beauty of the area, enjoy the camaraderie of your fishing companions, and savor the thrill of the fight when you hook into a trophy-sized mahi-mahi.


Cabo San Lucas is a world-class destination for mahi-mahi fishing, offering anglers the opportunity to target these vibrant and exciting game fish throughout much of the year. By understanding the seasonal patterns, environmental factors, and effective fishing techniques, you can increase your chances of a successful and memorable mahi-mahi fishing trip in this remarkable corner of the world.

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a newcomer to the sport, the waters around Cabo San Lucas are sure to provide an unforgettable and rewarding fishing experience. So pack your gear, book your charter, and get ready to hook into the mighty mahi-mahi – the adventure of a lifetime awaits!

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