What’s a wahoo?

Jerry Dilsaver

March 01, 2013 at 7:00 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

A brightly colored, ‘lit-up’ wahoo comes to the gaff on the charterboat Pelagic out of Morehead City.
Mike Webb
A brightly colored, ‘lit-up’ wahoo comes to the gaff on the charterboat Pelagic out of Morehead City.
Wahoo, acanthocybium solanderi, are one of the most-prized gamefish in the world’s oceans. No particular location boats a great concentration of fish, but the spring and fall catches off North Carolina rank with anywhere in the world. Wahoo might be more numerous in the fall, but the largest ones are typically caught during the spring.

Wahoo are the most highly regarded of the mackerel family. While related to king mackerel, wahoo are considered oceanic pelagic fish and are found farther offshore, usually along temperature breaks and weed lines at the inshore edge of the Gulf Stream. Occasionally, wahoo are caught closer in, incidental to some other fishing and primarily in the fall when the ocean water is at its warmest, but they are mainly caught in or adjacent to the Gulf Stream.

Wahoo are considered by many to be the most-prized of the mackerel family for the dinner table. The meat is light and mild and can be prepared in a variety of ways.

Wahoo are strong and very fast, which is a great part of their allure to bluewater fishermen. Their bodies are long and muscular, and they have a mouth full of small, razor-sharp teeth. Wahoo are occasionally caught using monofilament or fluorocarbon leaders, but wire leaders have a much-higher success rate. Wahoo respond well to ballyhoo rigged into lures trolled at 5 to 8 knots and a variety of high speed lures that can be trolled at up to 15 to 20 knots.

Wahoo average 25 to 50 pounds, but some individuals get much larger. The minimum size for an outstanding catch citation is 40 pounds. North Carolina’s state-record wahoo weighed 150 pounds and was caught off Ocracoke in 1994. The all-tackle world record weighed 184 pounds and was caught off Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, in 2005.



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