State-record dorado caught off Westport
Wade La Fontaine is an avid saltwater angler who has been going on trips off the Washington coast for more than 10 years chasing salmon, lingcod, halibut, and tuna.
Even with all that offshore experience, La Fontaine never expected the fish he landed last Friday, the new state record dolphinfish, also known as mahi mahi or dorado.
The 21-pounder with a brilliant yellow belly and blueish-green back was caught with Captain Keith Johnson aboard the charter boat Tunacious trolling plastic squid behind a spreader roughly 42 miles off the coast in 70-degree water.
Upon landing at the dock in Westport, the dolphinfish was checked by a state Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Fish Program biologist, then weighed on a certified scale at Ocean Gold Seafoods. La Fontaine’s Washington Record Sport Fish Application was then reviewed by a WDFW Regional Fish Program Manager and other staff, and certified Wednesday.
Dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus) are sporadically caught by recreational and commercial fishers targeting albacore tuna off the coast.
Most mahi mahi caught off our coast are smaller fish in the 6- to 12-pound range.
La Fontaine’s fish was 48 inches long and 40 inches to the inside fork of the tail — more reminiscent of large dolphinfish caught in warmer waters off southern California, Mexico, and Hawaii.
Peninsula Daily News
Peninsula Daily News
The charter reported the water temperature in the area of ocean where the dolphinfish was caught measured 70 degrees; exceptionally warm even for these warmer offshore waters.
Washington’s previous state record dolphinfish was 16.27 pounds caught by Albert DaSilva out of Ilwaco in 2013.
In Washington state, dolphinfish are listed within the “Other Food Fish” category and have a daily limit of 2 per person. Other Food Fish Refers to species that occur in our waters irregularly, usually in coastal areas during the summer months and also includes opah, swordfish, striped marlin, barracuda, white sea bass, bonito, California yellowtail, and pomfret.