Mahi Mahi Fishing

Mahi mahi is also know as Dradu in the local Curacao language. This is a highly popular fish and not just for its great taste! The dradu is also a great sportfish that puts a a good fight and rarely comes by its self. They live in schools of sometimes 20 or more fish. Usually its one or two males and the rest are female fish. Mahi mahi are seasonal to our island of Curacao. They visit in December and in the beginning of January and the you usually catch single fish. The main season is in March and April when they school and return from their spawning grounds of the coast of South America.

The current IGFA all tackle record is 39.91 kilograms (88lb), caught in 1998 in Exuma, Bahamas. Catches average 7 to 13 kilograms (15 to 29 lb), and any mahi-mahi over 18 kilograms (40 lb) is exceptional. Males are larger than females.


Our biggest mahi was 28 kilos and we caught it in April 2015.

Mahi mahi are also known as dorado or dolphin fish. However, they are not at all related to dolphins. Dolphins are space-breathing mammals, whereas mahi mahi are water-breathing fish, distantly related to perch. They are good food fish, similar to flounder, tilapia and other whitefish.


A typical fishing technique in Curacao is to take the boat to the edge of a reef in about 120 feet (37 m) of water and troll near a line of floating sargasso weed . Mahi-mahi often congregate around marine debris such as floating boards, palm trees and fronds, often found in association with such weed lines. Sargasso sometimes holds a complete ecosystem from microscopic creatures to seahorses, small crabs, juvenile triggerfish and other bait fish. Frigate birds dive for the food accompanying the debris or sargasso. Other fish may be present in the area. Experienced Curacao fishermen can tell what species are likely around the debris by the birds’ behaviour.


Mahi-mahi typically are taken by trolling ballyhoo on the surface with 30 to 50 pound line test tackle. Once a school of Mahi are encountered, casting with small jigs or Fly casting using a bait-and-switch technique can be successful. Ballyhoo or a net full of live sardines tossed into the water can be used to excite the mahi-mahis into a feeding frenzy. Hookless teaser lures can also be employed in the same manner. The teasers or live chum are tossed into the water, the fly is thrown to the feeding mahi-mahi. Once hooked, mahi-mahi are acrobatic game fish displaying spectacular blue, yellow and green colours

Wahoo Fishing

The wahoo is the second fastest fish in the worlds oceans and a ferocious predator. In Curacao we call it Mula. It can reach speds upto 60 miles per hour and therefor you know when a wahoo hits your bait because that first run is super fast. Our record now stands at 31 kilo caught in February 2015.

The body is elongated and covered with small, scarcely visible scales; the back is an iridescent blue, while the sides are silvery, with a pattern of vertical blue bars. These colors fade rapidly at death. The mouth is large, and both the upper and lower jaws have a somewhat sharper appearance than those of king or Spanish mackerel. Specimens have been recorded at up to 2.5 m (8 ft) in length, and weighing up to 83 kg (180 lb). Growth can be rapid. One specimen tagged at 5 kg (11 lb) grew to 15 kg (33 lb) in one year

Wahoo tend to be solitary or occur in loose-knit groups of two or three fish, but where conditions are suitable can be found in schools as large as 100 or more. Their diet is made up of other fish and squid. Double or even triple hits from wahoo occur in Curacao and cause absolute chaos on the deck.


The flesh of the wahoo is white, delicate, and highly regarded by many people. They are the most common biggame sport fish caught on our charters in Curacao. We can catch them year round but the best time is in December and January. Fast trolled tuna skirts or whole skipjack tunas are their favorite.

Marlin Fishing

Marlin fishing is considered by some game fishermen in Curacao to be the pinnacle of offshore game fishing due to the size and power of marlin and the relative rareness and vulnerability of this species. In the past, before the way was eased by modern technology, it required skill to capture or kill marlin.

Fishing styles and gear used in the pursuit of blue marlin vary. We in Curacao mostly use 50lbs class reels and 50/80 lbs rods The Curacao marlin here average around 200 lbs. The main methods use atrtifical lures, rigged natural baits, or live bait.



Blue Marlin are aggressive fish that respond well to the splash, bubble trail and action of a well presented artificial lure.

Probably the most popular technique used by blue marlin crews worldwide, artificial lure fishing has spread from its Hawaiian origins. The earliest marlin lures were carved from wood, cast in drink glasses, or made from chrome bath towel pipes and skirted with rubber inner tubes or vinyl upholstery material cut into strips. Today, marlin lures are produced in a huge variety of shapes, sizes and colours, mass-produced by large manufacturers and individually crafted by small-scale custom makers.


A typical marlin lure is a small (7-8 inch), medium (10-12 inch) to large (14 inches or more) artificial with a shaped plastic or metal head to which a plastic skirt is attached. The design of the lure head, particularly its face, gives the lure its individual action when trolled through the water. Lure actions range from an active side-to-side swimming pattern to pushing water aggressively on the surface to, most commonly, tracking along in a straight line with a regular surface pop and bubble trail. Besides the shape, weight and size of the lure head, the length and thickness of skirting, the number and size of hooks and the length and size of the leader used in lure rigging all influence the action of the lure: how actively it will run and how it will respond to different sea conditions. Experienced anglers can fine tune their lures to get the action they want.

Lures are normally fished at speeds of between 7.5 to 9 knots. These speeds allow quite substantial areas to be effectively worked in a day’s fishing. A pattern of four or more lures is trolled at varying distances behind the boat. Lures may be fished either straight from the rod tip (“flat lines”), or from outriggers.


Natural baits

Rigged natural baits have been used by sport fishermen seeking blue marlin since the 1930s and are still popular. In Curacao we usually use flying fish or ballyhoo as bait. Rigged natural baits are sometimes combined with an artificial lure or skirt to make “skirted baits” or “bait/lure combinations”.



Live Bait

Live bait fishing for blue marlin normally uses small tuna species with skipjack generally considered the best choice. As trolling speed is limited by the fact that baits must be trolled slowly to remain alive, live-baiting is normally chosen where fishing areas are relatively small and easily covered. Much live-baiting in the blue marlin fishery Curacao, takes place near FAD (Fish Aggregation Device) buoys and in the vicinity of steep underwater ledges.












Barracuda Fishing

The barracuda is a rayfinned fish known for its large size and fearsome appearance. Its body is long, fairly compressed, and covered with small, smooth scales  Some species could reach up to 1.8m in length and 30 cm in width.

Barracudas around 1 m in length are common in Curacao waters. They love Fresh tuna baits being trolled at slower speeds and close to shore.


In most cases, they are dark green, dark blue, or gray on their upper body with silvery sides and chalky-white belly. Coloration varies somewhat between species. For some species, there are irregular black spots or a row of darker cross-bars on each side. Their fins may be yellowish or dusky. Barracudas live primarily in oceans, but certain species such as the Great Barracuda lives in brackish water.

Barracudas are at the top of the food chain on the reefs of Curacao. Although in many parts of the world this fish cannot be eaten because of a bacteria the lives in the fish here in Curacao we do not have that bacteria and Barracuda is a popular dish in all the restaurants.

Tuna Fishing

The tuna is one of the most economically important fish in the world; hundreds of thousands of tons are taken by commercial fishermen worldwide every year. This species has a wide range: it’s found in a thick band around the equator throughout the world, inhabiting warm seas from the US-Canada border latitudes in the north to Australia in the south, and frequents depths from the surface down to 100 fathoms – a full 600 feet. They visit the waters around Curacao mostly during the winter months.  Yellowfin tuna are heavy-bodied silvery fish with blue-black backs, white-spotted bellies and bright yellow dorsal and anal fins. They sport saw-toothed rows of yellow finlets from those fins to the tail on top and bottom, as well as a broad yellow stripe from eye to tail on their sides. They can get up to nine feet long and 400 pounds, and the smaller ones are often confused with a close relative, bigeye tuna. These heavyweights of the deep are eating machines, chowing down squid, skipjack tuna, smaller yellowfins, mackerel, pilchards and crustaceans at a prodigious rate. A yellowfin that is 18 months old can weigh eight pounds; a four-year-old can be as big as 140. Fish in the 90-100 pound range are common in Curacao.
Their sport fishing value is also high: their speed and fighting ability, their sheer size potential, and their palatability have made them a favorite game fish among saltwater sport anglers. Add that to the fact that they’re common, easy to find, and eager to take a hook, and you’ve got a prime candidate for a Curacao fisherman’s favorite.


You gear and bait

Yellowfins are fierce fighters; even small yellowfins can put a strain on our gear. We at Fish Charter Curacao  use a 50-pound class, two-speed trolling reel (such as a Shimano TLD 30 II or TLD 50 II LRS), a broomstick-thick rod, and line in the 25-50 pound test range at least. Expect the fish, whatever its size, to test your gear’s mettle, and yours as well. We need to use strong leaders, and if you opt to use live or dead bait, you’ll need huge No. 9 or No. 10 hooks (about 3 inches long, and wickedly barbed) baited with squid, skipjack, mackerel, ballyhoo, or other baitfish. Yellowfins will also go for artificial lures, some of which are larger than most freshwater fish. We use plastic squids behind a bird like teaser to draw them up.


How to catch a big one

If you’re serious about catching yellowfins in Curacao then you have to venture out to Klein Curacao. Where they can sometimes be spotted from far away, because they cause a lot of surface disturbance. Although the larger fish may be loners, they usually feed messily at the surface in large schools; one observer has said that a feeding yellowfin school looks like “a fish blender.” Often seabirds will be hanging around above them, taking advantage of the scraps, so their presence can be a strong indication of feeding yellowfins. However, you’re more likely to find them in the company of dolphins (the mammals, not the fish). Yellowfin schools often hang around below pods of dolphins, making it difficult to net them without catching the dolphins too. This is why commercial yellowfin fishermen rarely use nets nowadays.


Tuna usually bite better in low lighting conditions, especially if they’re not feeding at the surface, so late afternoon is a good time to go after them. Once you’ve located your prey, you can try two popular methods: drift fishing or trolling. Drift fishing uses cut bait, some of which is thrown into the water as a “chum line” to attract their attention. This is called “chunking.” You can also cast with live bait. Whatever your method, if you decide to go with live baitfish, hook them sideways through the nose, under the dorsal fin, above the anal fin, or through the breastbone. You can also try trolling at slow speeds (5-9 mph) using either live bait or artificial lures, such as strip baits, large spoons, skirted lures, and plugs. Don’t worry – the tuna are more than fast enough to keep up with the boat. When you troll, you should let out a quarter of your line behind the boat; a hundred yards or more is excellent.

When yellowfins hit, they hit hard, usually hooking themselves with no help from you, and yanking the line off the reel at a rapid rate. If the line becomes slack, the fish is probably swimming toward the boat; reel in the slack rapidly, and make sure the hook is set. Always keep the line tight. A truly large fish might give you the fight of your life, battling for as long as several hours before it wins – by snapping the line or leader – or you do, by getting it up to the boat. If it’s a relative small fish, you can probably lift it over the side yourself; it it’s a truly large specimen, we use a gaff, a stout curved hook on a heavy pole. The gaff is hooked into the gill slits or the side of the fish, and the fish is hauled aboard. The really big ones might require several gaffs and several people to bring them on board.


You’ve got one, now what!?

Yellowfin make great eating. Whatever you decide to do, get your yellowfin on ice right away so it stays fresh for either your filleting knife or the taxidermist’s. If you decide to eat the fish, you should bleed it by making six-inch slits on either side and let the blood drain out before icing it. Yellowfin tuna is a firm, dark-red meat with a strong flavor, and tastes mighty good whether it’s cooked or eaten raw. Although it’s not held in as high regard as bluefin tuna, the Japanese adore yellowfin for sushi or sashimi and most of the best yellowfins caught commercially are snapped up on the docks by Japanese buyers. Hawaiians also favor yellowfin, which they call ahi, and eat it both cooked and in a spicy, sushi-like dish called poke (pronounced pokey). Because it’s so versatile, it can be prepared as steak fillets, broiled, fried, baked, you name it. We always have Soy Sauce onboard and we often cut up the caught tuna for Sashimi for our guests. You can’t get it any fresher than that.