The dolphinfish (also known as mahi mahi or dorado) is a very familiar species to most offshore lure fishermen. It’s an open water species and is a great light tackle sportsfish. But small dolphinfish are also a very common food item for many large pelagic species such as tuna, cobia, sailfish, marlin and so on.

Dolphinfish are one of the most colorful fish in the ocean, being flashy gold on the sides with a smattering of iridescent blue spots that give this species a striking appearance. It also makes them great fun to paint because the colors are so bright and vibrant.

The main features that you need to achieve to get that distinct “mahi mahi-look” are a metallic gold body with iridescent blue spots and a greenish tinge on the dorsal surface. The best lures to paint this color pattern on are flat sided lipless crankbaits, because these resemble the real dolphin fish in body shape. In fact, the lure that is shown in this preview video is a hand made western red cedar rattlebait that we make as a practice lure in the Crankbait Masterclass.

I’m showing the process for painting a “one off” lure in dolphinfish colors. If you were painting this color pattern often it would be a simple matter to make up some vacuum stencils, which would make the process much faster and more reproducible. But if you’re just making lures for your own use then this is a good way to paint small numbers.

custom painted dolphinfish lure

Full details of the painting process, plus a video tutorial, are included in

The Crankbait Masterclass.