Key West Wahoo


Wahoo is the fish that's fun to catch and to say. In fact, you simply can't say Wahoo without smiling! Under the sea, the Wahoo are exceptional predators who are also extremely fast swimmers. This why hooking a Wahoo is a sought after trophy for many anglers both pro and amateur. In other words, if you can bring in a Wahoo you've really made an amazing catch.

The Wahoo Basics

You'll find Wahoo at many tropical and sub tropical spots around the globe. Hitting speeds of up to 50 mph puts the Wahoo at the top of the list of "fastest fish in the ocean." It's not uncommon for a hooked Wahoo to go off on a long run. If you've ever gone after Marlin or Yellow Fin Tuna then you'll know how the Wahoo operates.

The Wahoo Feeding Patterns

Centuries of evolution have left the Wahoo with sharp eyesight and even sharper teeth. They like to feast on various baitfish and squid. Their preferred method of attack is a surprise lunge from under their prey. The nature of the Wahoo is to swim on their own. However, in waters off Key West they are known to group up with several fish and not that far from shore.

What Makes a Wahoo Unique

The average Wahoo can grow up to eight feet and tip the scales at one hundred and eight pounds. To catch a glimpse of their iridescent blue coloring and vertical blue stripes across those silvery sides is to see a thing of beauty. At first glance you might think the Wahoo is actually a King Mackerel or Spanish Mackerel. Those species are indeed related but the Wahoo truly stands alone and once you spot that large blade-like tail you know you're in for an incredible catch.

Where to Find Wahoo

Over the years, hooking a Wahoo was often seen as a "surprise catch." You were lucky if you landed one but never set out to achieve that goal. However, recently guides have discovered that Wahoo do indeed have a pattern when it comes to feeding and trolling. Large catches have consistently occurred off the shelf in south Florida. This requires a bit of a time commitment to get to these remote grounds but one that could surely be rewarded for the effort. It also appears that wind isn't an issue for the Wahoo. Calm seas or a little 20-knot worth of chop won't make a difference.

The good news is that Wahoo catches have been reported from the Atlantic side and from wreck-sites in the Gulf. It might all come down to an issue of speed rather than depth if you want to bring a Wahoo in on heavy tackle.

First light seems to be the optimum feeding time for the Wahoo. With the right bait, you might just find that shutting down the engine and letting the Wahoo come to you will be the best way to score. The Hawaii word for Wahoo is "Ono" and that means "tasty." As you serve up the Wahoo filets for dinner you're sure to have a great tale to tell.