The quick and oh-so-acrobatic mahi-mahi is notoriously difficult to catch, due, in part, to its unique coloring. The fish’s golden sides are marked with iridescent blues and greens, which, by catching the light, can quickly confuse even the most talented of fishers. Typically, the mahi-mahi catching process involves taking a boat to the edge of a reef and then tossing teasers into the water alongside feeding fish. This standard fishing approach is known for its physically strenuous nature, with many fishers pursuing mahi-mahi solely for the bragging rights.
As entertaining as a standard fishing session can be, another mahi-mahi approach is currently taking the world by storm: harpoon fishing. Although this Tahitian technique is incredibly effective, many fishers remain unaware of its existence. Still others insist on standard reel fishing even after experiencing the ease of spearing mahi-mahi with harpoons.
Harpoons: The Tahitian Answer To Mahi-Mahi Fishing
Mahi-mahi may be able to keep fishers at bay with their acrobatic capabilities and spectacular coloring, but they do possess a huge weakness, capable of making them a surprisingly easy target: when pursued, mahi-mahi do not dive — they swim near the surface! This means that, if they are chased by specially-designed poti marara fishing boats, the fish can easily be speared. While fishers from all around the world have struggled with their standard reel fishing techniques, Tahitians have gained the upper hand with their very clever pursue and harpoon approach. Finally, old school fishers are paying attention — and those able to successfully maneuver boats while spearing fish are reaping the rewards.
Oliver Emsallem’s Harpoon Effort
Determined to take on the traditional Tahitian approach to mahi-mahi fishing, surf photographer and American Fishing Tackle Company (AFTCO) pro Oliver Emsallem headed to French Polynesia for an exciting harpoon session. Always eager to document his exploits, he captured his recent mahi-mahi adventure, which was later released by AFTCO. Although he did not quite manage to spear the fish through the head — as is the preferred method of Tahitian fishers — Emsallem did impress viewers with his seemingly effortless catch. He made several impressive catches, showing off an especially large fish at the end. Emsallem was accompanied by a friend, but the best Tahitian fishers are able to spear mahi-mahi while simultaneously steering their boats — all on their own.
Will The Harpoon Replace Standard Reel Fishing?
Although the harpoon is believed by many to be the most effective means of catching mahi-mahi, it is not likely to replace standard reel fishing in the near future. Enthusiasts enjoy watching harpoon demonstrations such as the AFTCO featurette produced by Oliver Emshallem, but they also take great satisfaction in the struggle associated with mahi-mahi fly fishing. As long as the hard-won fly fishing catch remains a point of pride among fishers, the harpoon will merely be an interesting aside, as opposed to a primary means of fishing. However, for those who have tired of the usual fly fishing battles, Tahitian harpoon chases may prove refreshing.
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What do you think of the Tahitian approach to mahi-mahi fishing? Will it replace reel fishing for Mahi? Feel free to join the conversation and share your opinion!