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Mahi Mahi 20” Fork Minimum Size

Is it just me or is the the 20” Mahi Mahi fork minimum size to keep, Just Flat Out Wrong?

We’ve been coming to The Keys since 1986. 

We moved here full time March of 2017. 

Ya, bad timing because we move to Cudjoe Key in March 2017. Even worse than Irma is the New first ever Mahi Mahi 2016 20” fork minimum size regulation. Last Sunday was a perfect example of our sadness & frustration since Irma hit September 10, 2017. 

We caught 15 Mahi. Went all the way out to 967’ of water, due South of Cudjoe Key. Flat seas were awesome. Some birds and weed-line help. Unfortunately,
ZERO Keepers.
6 were 19” but less than 20”
4 were 18” but < 19”
5 were less than 18”

Since Irma, for every 10 Mahi caught, on our average trip offshore, only 1 or 2 Keepers. 

Please reduce fork minimum size from 20” down to 19” (or even 18”!) to Restore a reasonable return on investment for Mahi fishing to be a little better than 0% to 20% keeper ratio the past 2 years. 

Do you agree?

Thank You,

Cudjoe Ken
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Replies

  • The Cat's EyeThe Cat's Eye Posts: 1,494 Officer
    They grow so fast that by the time they get up to  Upper Keys & Dade County the 19 inchers will be legal.!!
    Giimoozaabi
  • CaptDavidGonzalezCaptDavidGonzalez Atlanta/SarasotaPosts: 112 Deckhand
    Is it just me or is the the 20” Mahi Mahi fork minimum size to keep, Just Flat Out Wrong?

    We’ve been coming to The Keys since 1986. 

    We moved here full time March of 2017. 

    Ya, bad timing because we move to Cudjoe Key in March 2017. Even worse than Irma is the New first ever Mahi Mahi 2016 20” fork minimum size regulation. Last Sunday was a perfect example of our sadness & frustration since Irma hit September 10, 2017. 

    We caught 15 Mahi. Went all the way out to 967’ of water, due South of Cudjoe Key. Flat seas were awesome. Some birds and weed-line help. Unfortunately,
    ZERO Keepers.
    6 were 19” but less than 20”
    4 were 18” but < 19”
    5 were less than 18”

    Since Irma, for every 10 Mahi caught, on our average trip offshore, only 1 or 2 Keepers. 

    Please reduce fork minimum size from 20” down to 19” (or even 18”!) to Restore a reasonable return on investment for Mahi fishing to be a little better than 0% to 20% keeper ratio the past 2 years. 

    Do you agree?

    Thank You,

    Cudjoe Ken
    I remember well when snook had a 24" minimum. Seemed like we caught 23" fish every day after the rules change. Same thing with gag grouper changes. Maybe it just seems that way because prior to minimum lengths, none of us measured anything.

    Sad to say I don't think regulators in government consider return on investment for recreational fishermen when making rules. 
  • Grouper GeniusGrouper Genius Posts: 1,486 Officer
    I understand your frustration, but personally I never keep any less than 24”. Any smaller and the fillets are just little strips.
    2400 CC Sea Chaser-Yamaha F250-Bad **** Tower (SOLD)
    Grady White 306 Bimini 300 Suzukis
    Hurricane 246 FunDeck
  • Ken in CudjoeKen in Cudjoe Posts: 7 Greenhorn
    They grow so fast that by the time they get up to  Upper Keys & Dade County the 19 inchers will be legal.!!
    Cat’s Eye
    Agree.  You must live in Upper Keys or Dade County, LoL. 

    Doesn't help us lower keys folks have any filets for our efforts. 

    Before minimum size established, I probably kept 19” and maybe 18” Mahi. 

    And threw back < 18” ers
  • Ken in CudjoeKen in Cudjoe Posts: 7 Greenhorn
    Is it just me or is the the 20” Mahi Mahi fork minimum size to keep, Just Flat Out Wrong?

    We’ve been coming to The Keys since 1986. 

    We moved here full time March of 2017. 

    Ya, bad timing because we move to Cudjoe Key in March 2017. Even worse than Irma is the New first ever Mahi Mahi 2016 20” fork minimum size regulation. Last Sunday was a perfect example of our sadness & frustration since Irma hit September 10, 2017. 

    We caught 15 Mahi. Went all the way out to 967’ of water, due South of Cudjoe Key. Flat seas were awesome. Some birds and weed-line help. Unfortunately,
    ZERO Keepers.
    6 were 19” but less than 20”
    4 were 18” but < 19”
    5 were less than 18”

    Since Irma, for every 10 Mahi caught, on our average trip offshore, only 1 or 2 Keepers. 

    Please reduce fork minimum size from 20” down to 19” (or even 18”!) to Restore a reasonable return on investment for Mahi fishing to be a little better than 0% to 20% keeper ratio the past 2 years. 

    Do you agree?

    Thank You,

    Cudjoe Ken
    I remember well when snook had a 24" minimum. Seemed like we caught 23" fish every day after the rules change. Same thing with gag grouper changes. Maybe it just seems that way because prior to minimum lengths, none of us measured anything.

    Sad to say I don't think regulators in government consider return on investment for recreational fishermen when making rules. 
    Mahi is just such a large piece of the Keys Fishery. To go from no minimum size for ever, all the way up to 20” FORK measurement is big change. 

    All I'm saying is past 2 yrs, since moving here permanently, this 20” FORK minimum has lead to 0% to 20% Keep ratio vs probably a 40% keep ratio when there was NO Minimum size for Mahi Mahi. Just saying 18” FORK minimum is worth consideration. 

    Thank you. 

    Cudjoe Ken
  • Ken in CudjoeKen in Cudjoe Posts: 7 Greenhorn
    I understand your frustration, but personally I never keep any less than 24”. Any smaller and the fillets are just little strips.
    Hear ya GG...

    But,
    After 33 years fishing in The Keys, just feel like The New 20” FORK Mahi Minimum size may be off by 2”. 

    Zero keepers out of 15 Mahi landed = too strict.

     4 years ago, before moving here permanently, I would have kept 6 or 10 of the 15. These 6 to 10 would have been 9 to 15 lbs of Mahi filets vs ZERO filets. 

    Just sayin

    Do You Agree?
  • conchydongconchydong Pompano BeachPosts: 7,902 Admiral
    I have never caught a Mahi in my life as I have never been to Hawaii but I have no problem with 20" size limit for Dolphin. Let me say that I am a kill fishermen and not a C and R person but I have seen folks slay baby Dolphin that wouldn't yield much more than a Grunt especially when folks cut out all of the red. Keep looking and you will find a school of keepers.

    “Everyone behaves badly--given the chance.”
    ― Ernest Hemingway

  • The Cat's EyeThe Cat's Eye Posts: 1,494 Officer
    My biggest dolphin was a dorado in the sea of Cortez !
    Giimoozaabi
  • Grouper GeniusGrouper Genius Posts: 1,486 Officer
    I understand your frustration, but personally I never keep any less than 24”. Any smaller and the fillets are just little strips.
    Hear ya GG...

    But,
    After 33 years fishing in The Keys, just feel like The New 20” FORK Mahi Minimum size may be off by 2”. 

    Zero keepers out of 15 Mahi landed = too strict.

     4 years ago, before moving here permanently, I would have kept 6 or 10 of the 15. These 6 to 10 would have been 9 to 15 lbs of Mahi filets vs ZERO filets. 

    Just sayin

    Do You Agree?
    Well, I’m not sure when the 20” size limit was introduced. I’ve been fishing down there 3-4 times a year for the last 24 years and I thought there was a minimum all along. I could very well be mistaken. I was just there in May and caught a bunch of smaller dolphin that got tossed back. I have a thread on here from that trip.
    2400 CC Sea Chaser-Yamaha F250-Bad **** Tower (SOLD)
    Grady White 306 Bimini 300 Suzukis
    Hurricane 246 FunDeck
  • Ken in CudjoeKen in Cudjoe Posts: 7 Greenhorn
    I have never caught a Mahi in my life as I have never been to Hawaii but I have no problem with 20" size limit for Dolphin. Let me say that I am a kill fishermen and not a C and R person but I have seen folks slay baby Dolphin that wouldn't yield much more than a Grunt especially when folks cut out all of the red. Keep looking and you will find a school of keepers.
    19” Mahi is 1.25 to 1.75 lbs of fabulous filet. This vs store price of 8.99 to 18.99 per pound. After $60.00++ of fuel cost, $35.00++ of bait cost, is 15 Mahi caught with ZERO lbs of Filets good for Florida Keys Residents?
  • Grouper GeniusGrouper Genius Posts: 1,486 Officer
    I have never caught a Mahi in my life as I have never been to Hawaii but I have no problem with 20" size limit for Dolphin. Let me say that I am a kill fishermen and not a C and R person but I have seen folks slay baby Dolphin that wouldn't yield much more than a Grunt especially when folks cut out all of the red. Keep looking and you will find a school of keepers.
    19” Mahi is 1.25 to 1.75 lbs of fabulous filet. This vs store price of 8.99 to 18.99 per pound. After $60.00++ of fuel cost, $35.00++ of bait cost, is 15 Mahi caught with ZERO lbs of Filets good for Florida Keys Residents?
    Well, I see where this is going.

    2400 CC Sea Chaser-Yamaha F250-Bad **** Tower (SOLD)
    Grady White 306 Bimini 300 Suzukis
    Hurricane 246 FunDeck
  • SangsterSangster Central FloridaPosts: 98 Deckhand
    Use bigger bait that the baby's can't eat.
    Ryan

    1983 Wellcraft V-20 Fisherman
    2001 Evinrude Ficht Ram 225
  • Ken in CudjoeKen in Cudjoe Posts: 7 Greenhorn
    I use all baits. Ballyhoo, live bait, lures, etc...
  • Ken in CudjoeKen in Cudjoe Posts: 7 Greenhorn
    Obviously you are a meat fisherman, So how much would you like your PPP to be?
    $2?
    $5?
    $10?
    I get more pleasure then money can buy just being out fishing.
    I'm just happy to have something besides my wife to fight with.
    Meat fishermen sounds negative. Just love fishing with my wife, kids & friends.  Just enjoy the water, the hunt and if successful, eating fresh Mahi filets at the end of the day. 

    My biggest question is who selected the 20” fork minimum size for Mahi after not having any size minimum.  My personal experience the past 2 years since 20” law in place is, maybe they picked the wrong size based on what size Mahi we recreational fishermen catch here in the Lower Keys. 

    Just suggesting an 18” or 19” Fork size might be better and more fair than the current 20” Law is. 

    Do You Agree?

    With the Blackfin Tuna Minimum size being evaluated right now, what size is the right size for Blackfin Tuna? 20”? 18”? 16”?

    What size they tell us is right. RIGHT?

  • Grouper GeniusGrouper Genius Posts: 1,486 Officer
    Just by doing a very quick google search, 20” has been minimum for longer than 2 years. 

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/fl-xpm-2010-07-09-fl-dolphin-box-0709-20100709-story,amp.html
    2400 CC Sea Chaser-Yamaha F250-Bad **** Tower (SOLD)
    Grady White 306 Bimini 300 Suzukis
    Hurricane 246 FunDeck
  • Relax guys, we have a very strange Mahi season, maybe something to do with the changes in the Gulf Stream speed and volume

    Certainly not normal for this time of year to be swarmed by the chickens

  • 101grunts101grunts Posts: 122 Deckhand
    23" is my minimum size should be raised to 23"/24"
  • cftsmokecftsmoke JacksonvillePosts: 334 Deckhand
    I have never caught a Mahi in my life as I have never been to Hawaii but I have no problem with 20" size limit for Dolphin. Let me say that I am a kill fishermen and not a C and R person but I have seen folks slay baby Dolphin that wouldn't yield much more than a Grunt especially when folks cut out all of the red. Keep looking and you will find a school of keepers.
    19” Mahi is 1.25 to 1.75 lbs of fabulous filet. This vs store price of 8.99 to 18.99 per pound. After $60.00++ of fuel cost, $35.00++ of bait cost, is 15 Mahi caught with ZERO lbs of Filets good for Florida Keys Residents?
    I have never caught a Mahi in my life as I have never been to Hawaii but I have no problem with 20" size limit for Dolphin. Let me say that I am a kill fishermen and not a C and R person but I have seen folks slay baby Dolphin that wouldn't yield much more than a Grunt especially when folks cut out all of the red. Keep looking and you will find a school of keepers.
    19” Mahi is 1.25 to 1.75 lbs of fabulous filet. This vs store price of 8.99 to 18.99 per pound. After $60.00++ of fuel cost, $35.00++ of bait cost, is 15 Mahi caught with ZERO lbs of Filets good for Florida Keys Residents?
    Up here in NE Florida I spend way more than $60 in fuel on the trip out.  I wish I had those problems when the drop off is 55miles out.  I gave up doing the math the first time I visited the fuel docks- thank God the wife is kind.
    2005 Everglades 290 Pilot.  Twin 250 Verados.
  • Jack HexterJack Hexter New Port RicheyPosts: 5,097 Moderator
  • Westwall01Westwall01 Posts: 5,453 Admiral
    Kinda what I was thinkin
  • EnyarEnyar Posts: 101 Deckhand
    Glad to see others agree to toss back the peanuts.
  • pottydocpottydoc Port Saint JoePosts: 4,256 Captain
    Yeah, toss back the smaller ones and kill the big breeder fish. What a great idea. You guys are full of big talk. I’d like to see what you had to say if FWC came up.with a 22”-28” slot limit. If you really care about the dolphin population, you’d be all over that change. But I’ll bet instead, you would be calling for disbanding the FWC.
  • xeniaxenia Posts: 827 Officer
    I don't know why, but every mahi core I see imported from Brazil or Ecuador comes from fish averaging 15-20 lbs.  They deal in lbs over there, not inches, and in those waters they have huge fleets that purse seine them.  We have a serious problem off our coast when we can't even come up with a decent amount of fish that are over 20" on a species that grows so fast.  Whether it's here locally, or in distant parts, somebody is catching too many fish and not allowing fish of decent size reach our coast.  Heck, in many parts of the world a "schoolie" mahi is over 10 lbs.  I say make the size 30".  Anything smaller is not worth keeping!


  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 11,928 AG
    xenia said:
    I don't know why, but every mahi core I see imported from Brazil or Ecuador comes from fish averaging 15-20 lbs.  They deal in lbs over there, not inches, and in those waters they have huge fleets that purse seine them.  We have a serious problem off our coast when we can't even come up with a decent amount of fish that are over 20" on a species that grows so fast.  Whether it's here locally, or in distant parts, somebody is catching too many fish and not allowing fish of decent size reach our coast.  Heck, in many parts of the world a "schoolie" mahi is over 10 lbs.  I say make the size 30".  Anything smaller is not worth keeping!


    serious problem = rec fleet?
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • bocapup1bocapup1 Posts: 1,238 Officer
    Quit crying and fish harder.
  • pottydocpottydoc Port Saint JoePosts: 4,256 Captain
    Some of you guys are dreamers. I as here in the “good old days”, and if you think folks went out and caught tons of 30” and up fish most trips, you are sadly mistaken. Did we catch more than the average now? Sure, but there were a bunch less folks on the water then. If we are having a shortage of dolphin, or of bigger ones, the problem isn’t here, it’s way south
  • gruntkinggruntking Posts: 837 Officer
    Seriously, if you live in the Keys and can't catch legal dolphin consistently, that's a you problem.

  • Bigfish5Bigfish5 Posts: 421 Deckhand
    you dont need to keep dolphin smaller than 20 inches.   I AM A MEAT fisherman.   We eat mostly flounder and dolphin, but it is true dolphin are much harder to catch than back in the 90's.   I dont see how keeping 18 inch dolphin is going to help that.   

    Fish harder, you live in the keys for God's sake.  I only get a week a year down there and have no issues releasing 19 inch fish.
  • L8RBRAL8RBRA Posts: 750 Officer
    I am also a meat fisherman. As I do enjoy fishing regardless of the catches, I also like to fill the cooler with respect to the fishery as well. 4 months ago I had a big bull mahi using my jetski for shade. Right off of american shoal in 200+ft. They are there for sure. You live there. Dont be sad

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