Wahoo is a highly prized gamefish known for its incredible speed, sharp teeth, and impressive fighting ability. In Southeast Florida, catching a wahoo can be an exhilarating experience, as these fast and powerful fish are known for their impressive speed and challenging fight. In this article, we’ll look at some background info on these fish, and then how to catch them.
- Appearance: Wahoo have a distinctive appearance that sets them apart. They have a long, streamlined body with a pointed snout and a mouth filled with razor-sharp teeth. Their body is covered in small, overlapping scales that can change color depending on their mood and surroundings. The back is typically deep blue, while the sides and belly are silver.
- Size: Wahoo can grow to impressive sizes. While average sizes typically range between 20 to 50 pounds, larger specimens can exceed 100 pounds. The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) all-tackle world record for wahoo is around 184 pounds.
- Habitat: Wahoo are found in warm oceanic waters around the world, often preferring tropical and subtropical regions. They inhabit offshore waters and are frequently associated with underwater structures such as reefs, drop-offs, and floating debris.
- Speed and Hunting: One of the most remarkable traits of wahoo is their incredible speed. They are known for their burst speeds of up to 60 miles per hour (97 km/h), which makes them one of the fastest fish in the ocean. Wahoo are opportunistic predators that use their speed to ambush their prey. They often feed on smaller fish, squid, and other fast-moving marine creatures.
- Migratory Behavior: Wahoo are known to be migratory fish, following warm ocean currents and moving between different regions in search of food and suitable habitat. This behavior can lead to seasonal fluctuations in their presence in specific fishing areas.
- Conservation: Due to their popularity among anglers and their relatively low reproductive rates, wahoo populations are managed to ensure their sustainability. Fishing regulations, such as size and bag limits, help protect these fish from overexploitation.
- Culinary Use: Wahoo meat is highly regarded for its firm texture and mild flavor. The flesh is pale and can be prepared in various ways, including grilling, broiling, baking, and pan-frying. The high oil content in their meat contributes to a delicious taste.
Wahoo are remarkable gamefish known for their speed, power, and striking appearance. Their challenging fights and delectable meat make them a sought-after target for anglers looking for an exciting and rewarding fishing experience.
If you're looking to get out on the open water, then let’s look at:
How to Catch Wahoo
- Location and Timing:
Wahoo are commonly found in warm oceanic waters around the world. They often inhabit offshore areas near reefs, drop-offs, and underwater structures. In the United States, wahoo can be found in Southeast Florida, the Florida Keys, the Gulf of Mexico, and some other parts of the Atlantic coast.
- High-Speed Trolling:
Wahoo are known for their incredible speed, so high-speed trolling is one of the most effective methods for targeting them. Use specialized trolling lures designed to mimic the baitfish they prey upon. These lures often have a sleek shape and can be trolled at speeds of 8 to 15 knots or more.
- Lure Selection:
Wahoo are attracted to flashy and fast-moving lures. Choose lures with shiny, reflective surfaces and vibrant colors. Popular lure types include jet heads, diving plugs, and weighted skirted lures. Some anglers also use rigged ballyhoo with skirted trolling lures.
- Depth and Presentation:
Wahoo can be found at various depths, but they often patrol deeper waters. Adjust the depth of your lures based on where you believe the fish might be holding. Downriggers and planers can help you present your lures at the desired depth.
- Boat Speed and Spread:
Maintain a consistent and high trolling speed to entice wahoo. Use outriggers or downriggers to spread out your trolling lines, creating a wider "strike zone" for the fish.
- Wire Leaders:
Wahoo have sharp teeth, so using wire leaders is essential to prevent them from cutting through your fishing line. Use high-quality stainless steel wire leaders that are about 6 to 12 inches long.
- Live Baiting:
While trolling is the most common method for catching wahoo, some anglers also have success with live bait. Live bonito, goggle-eye, or small tuna can be used as baitfish to attract wahoo.
- Be Prepared for a Fight:
Wahoo are known for their lightning-fast runs when hooked. Be ready for an intense fight and ensure your reel's drag system is properly adjusted.
- Safety Precautions:
Wahoo have powerful jaws and sharp teeth, so handling them requires caution. Use appropriate tools like dehooking pliers and gloves to safely handle the fish once caught.
- Weather and Moon Phase:
While not as critical as some other species, paying attention to weather conditions and moon phases can still have an impact on wahoo activity. Many anglers believe that wahoo are more active during the full moon and during periods of low light.
Remember that wahoo fishing can be unpredictable, and patience is key. It's important to follow local fishing regulations, keep safety in mind, and respect the ocean environment while pursuing this challenging and exciting gamefish. Looking for a new boat? Check out the listings at Waterfront Yacht Brokerage.