Who said There was No Dorado?

It was a cloudy cool morning as we struck out from Rincon on what would be my first fishing trip. Oh, others had promised to take me, but somehow as the years and season drifted by and those promises too rolled on. I couldn’t believe my luck when Frank asked if I wanted to be the “third” to the party of three aboard the Mighty Silver Bullet.

It was choppy as we headed west on our morning adventure, out of the bay past a large rusty shrimp boat and the islands. There were only a few of us out there; the Mexican was still anchored to the shore as the reports of NO FISH were prevalent throughout the area. “They say that they’ve gone North,” said Frank. “The water may be too warm.”

Early on we spotted a large 2 1/2 foot turtle to our right. The green and yellow shell were still until we passed, and then it picked up some speed and we watched it swim away quickly.

The morning waves brought on a few dolphins to the side of the boat, then more. We saw a pod of about thirty play just 15 feet in front of the boat; their telltale fin high on the water’s horizon.

But there were no birds. Birds, I was told, would indicate where fish were. Certain birds liked Chula and others liked Dorado. But there were no birds. None.

We were quiet. Bill pulled out a tuna sandwich….and a banana. “Bananas are supposed to be bad luck,” said Frank. “Bananas and tuna sandwiches.” Bill glared at the lunch bag as if it were a dead Albatross.

It was getting on. No fish. On the radio, Whitey finally told us that he made a catch but he was substantially south of us. Fifteen minutes later Whitey’s buddy reported he caught a Dorado too. We continued. A few birds would appear then disperse. Flocks would congregate and then disappear. “They aren’t even selling Dorado in the market,” I told them, trying to justify our empty hull. “I tried about three places and they all said no.”

A line was tangled and Frank untwisted the knot and threw the line back out. A moment later he yelled, “Wait a minute…..we’ve got something…..” And she jumped. A beautiful bright blue and green dorado jumped to the rear of the boat some 10 feet away.

Each of us reeled in the excess lines and tied back the awning. Quickly. “She’s not the monster,” said Frank referring to one that got away earlier in the season, “but she’s a pretty good size. Probably 20 lbs.”

I was amazed. A fish my first trip out. Frank passed the fishing pole to me. “See how strong she is.” The pole was swayed towards the water and I could barely hold on never mind reel her in. I quickly passed the pole back, afraid of letting the ship down with my banana luck.

It took about 35 exciting minutes to pull her in. She swam round and round the boat and almost got away when she dove under the boat and tangled the line in the propeller. Frank and Bill quickly worked the line and made sure we weren’t going home empty. She repeated her trick again but this time the motor and propeller were up and there was nothing to get caught on.

She tired as she fought the line. Around and around the boat she swam, amazing us with the fluorescent colors and mighty strength. Bill brought out the net and on the second attempt, scooped her in head first. A big one; some 31 lbs.

High fives all around and joy.

Thanks, Frank. For the experience and opportunity. It was a blast and a memory I will cherish. Hey…..Sushi’s on me at 1.

About the Area

Bahía de Jaltemba is about 40 miles (60 KM) North of Puerto Vallarta in the State of Nayarit and has a number of small communities with a variety of accommodation ranging from spartan $30 per night to the luxury B & B for over $150. Rincon de Guayabitos and La Peñita have great camping and RV facilities – many with room for a boat for under $20 per night or $425 per month.

Getting There

Driving to La Peñita – Cross the border at Nogalas and drive down Highway 15 through 3 states to the City of Nayarit. (Approximately 1500KMS or just over 900 miles) From Tepic to La Peñita take Highway 200 south 80 KMS or 55 miles more.


Fly into Puerto Vallarta Airport. Either rent a car and head North on Highway 200, hire a taxi to la Peñita (approximately $50) or hire a taxi to the bus station ($3) and take a bus (approximately $15)

Facts About Dorado

Coryphaena hippurus Linnaeus, CORY PHAENIDAE FAMILY; also called dolphinfish, mahi-mahi, domdo

The Dorado is a type of dolphin though it shouldn’t be confused with the dolphin that is a mammal. It is not a porpoise, which is also called a dolphin. Dorado is cold-blooded fish- porpoises are mammals and are protected by law. Flipper this is not.

Dorado is roughly translated to mean Golden in Spanish refers to the golden hue that is sometimes seen on the sides

Also known as Mahi Mahi in Hawian meaning Strong Strong refers to the species amazing strength and acrobatic fight

World Record – 88lbs caught off Exuma in the Bahamas

Mexican Record – 85 lbs caught off Cabo San Lucas

Found in tropical waters around the world in waters 68 degrees although the preferred temperatures are 78 to 85

Dorado grow very quickly (1 year approximately 6 lbs, 2 years approximately 20 lbs, 3 years approximately 30 lbs, a lifespan of 5 years or less)

Usually bright florescent blue/green in the water with a bright blue pectoral fin in the water with yellow or golden spots on the sides. When the fish is removed from the water the colors change between green, blue and yellow; it often turns yellow and a muted grey after death

Matures males are usually larger than the females and are distinguished by a high flat forehead; females heads are more rounded. Males live longer and grow faster

Smaller fish travel in schools whereas older bulls and cows travel alone or in pairs, probably the remaining fish from the original school

Sexually mature Dorado spawn every six weeks and produce pin-size 400,000 eggs

Once hooked, Dorado run fiercely and can exceed 50 miles per hour in short bursts. Hooked Dorados often leap or tail walk.

Dorado feeds on fish that are sheltered; floating debris, such as weeds attract Dorado

Frigates, Man-o-wars and other birds feed on the fish driven to the surface by Dorados

Cooking Dorado

A delicious fish with firm flesh, delicate flavor and moderate fat A 4 -ounce portion of Dorados have approximately 100 calories, 18.5 g protein, 1 g total fat, 15 mg calcium, 1.3 g iron, 143 mg phosphorus, 416 mg potassium, 88 mg sodium, and 180 IU vitamin A.

It is a versatile fish and can be broiled, baked, sautéed grilled, fried or deep fried. All are sensational. If using on the barbeque, leave the skin on to hold the flesh.