Understanding Wahoo Fish

The first time I laid eyes on a Wahoo, I was fishing in the Bahamas as a jr. angler. I figured my Wahoo was a by-catch or lucky catch. This was the common understanding amongst many offshore fishermen. I knew that there was much more to this fishery and set out to learn all I could about the Wahoo.

According to "The Biology of Wahoo in the Western Central Atlantic", a study done by Marine Biologist, the Wahoo was once thought to be closely related to the billfishes. However, a recent molecular study confirms that the Wahoo is a Scombrid, not an Istiophorid, being closely related to the Mackerels

There is very little known in the scientific community about the Wahoo and their feeding patterns. Funding and published information is scarce and very few groups study this species. Throughout the last decade or two, fishermen have provided valuable data that has helped many get a better understanding about the Wahoo's patterns. In turn, these findings have helped fishermen throughout the World target the Wahoo with a high rate of success.


Wahoo love to school up around structure. Good places to target Wahoo are around weed lines, ledges, shelves, wrecks, upwellings, rigs, and reef lines. Large structure, such as the continental shelf in the Bahamas, should be high speed trolled in a zig-zag fashion. Wahoo will stack up just off the shelf in the deep water. The same technique holds true for reef lines off the Fl coast. If your structure is offshore and isolated, such as a wreck or mountain, wahoo will school up on the up current of the structure. This is were the water is clean. Find the clean water around the structure and you'll find your Wahoo.


Dictating the time of bite per tide is essential in order to target Wahoo. Just like many inshore species, offshore species such as the Wahoo, feed upon the tides. Learning the tides per your fishing structure allows you to narrow down "the bite" within a couple of hours. The tides and bite will fall back every 45 mins or so per day. Follow the tides and follow the Wahoo bite each day of the Wahoo season.

In the Bahamas and Florida, Wahoo feed on the outgoing tide. They will ambush bait just as its falling off the shelf or reef lines. In places like the Kwajaleins - South Pacific, Wahoo will feed close to the Atoll on the incoming tides. The water is to hot inside the lagoon at low tide. But as the cool water on the incoming starts to move inside the lagoon, the Wahoo start to feed. Learn these tide correlation's for your area. Your Wahoo catch will surely increase.

Sun and Moon

Tides are affected by the sun’s gravitational pull. The moon’s gravity affects them too. Although the sun is 27 million times larger than the moon, it is also 400 times further away. So the tidal force caused by the Sun is 50% less than the tidal force of the moon. Also, moon phases affect tides. During the full and new moon, also referred to as spring tides, the tides are 20% larger and during first and third quarter moons, also referred to as neap tides, the tides are 20% smaller. The spring tides are the Wahoo's prime feeding time. Depending on your geographic location, moon phase and tide times might vary but the correlation will always be the same. Learning this correlation per location is the key. In the Florida/Bahamas region, during the full and new moon, the strong outgoing will always be first tide in the morning. The moon is a good indicator as to the time of your tides. The tide is a good indicator as to the time of the bite.

After you collect the Wahoo Data needed, Log all your findings per catch. Create a book, mark your maps or use your chart plotter. Log all Wahoo correlation's you find. Log the structure, location of catch, the time of tide and the moon phase. After a short time, you will have a wealth of Data and a grasp on how to target the Wahoo.

Anthony Canton