56.75kg, Gaudino, Mexico, 2002
Fiji, Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Indonesia
The long, streamlined shape of the wahoo is dominated by its oversized sickle shaped tail. Its silvery body is covered with tiny, practically invisible scales. It has a long nose that comes to a sharp point with two rows of razor sharp teeth. It lights up with brilliant blue stripes when excited.
FEEDING HABITS & HABITAT:
Wahoo are a true pelagic wanderer found throughout tropical and sub-tropical waters. One of the fastest fish in the water they rely on their speed to catch their prey of smaller fish and squid.
Being a true blue water species wahoo are found out of the normal areas frequented by spearos and really need to be specifically targeted. The easiest way to find wahoo is diving on off-shore FADs (Fish Aggregation Devices). These are buoys anchored off-shore usually in hundreds of metres of water by chain and often have palm fronds and other material wound into the top few metres. These FADs become an oasis in the desert and harbour smaller fish that in turn attract larger predators. FADs can be a bit hit or miss and are often completely devoid of life or sometimes they are absolutely buzzing. You'll usually know what it's going to be within the first few minutes of entering the water. They're usually most active first thing in the morning or late afternoon and you usually just give them a quick look at the start and end of your day.
You can also find natural FADs such as old logs or rubbish floating out in the blue water and these are always worth a look if you come across one.
Wahoo also patrol reef edges in very deep water but usually a bit further out than most divers will be. As a rule of thumb you need to be far enough off the wall that you can't see it anymore. Flashers and berley work well in these situations.
The wahoo swim very close to the surface so you need to keep your eyes peeled and look all around you not just down. The seem to especially like choppy conditions and will be right up just under the surface. They are a very inquisitive fish and will come right in close to check you out if they don't sense any danger. Out in these blue water environments you have no way of hiding yourself so you must hide your intentions and unthreatening body language is the key. Never approach the fish directly rather swim away from them or on a very slow intercept. Avoid eye contact as much as possible and try to appear totally uninterested in the fish.
By far the hardest part of hunting wahoo is judging distance and making a good holding shot. They are extremely soft fleshed and this coupled with their lightening speed means only the best shots will hold on. In blue water environments you have no frame of reference to judge distance and it is hard to tell whether you're looking at a big fish far away or a small fish up close. Keys to look for are the little details: Can you see its teeth? Can you make out the detail of its scales? The general rule is to wait until you're sure its within range and then halve that distance before you take your shot.
Because of their soft flesh it's important not to put any more pressure on the fish than you have to. In fact it's probably best to just let everything go altogether after you shoot and swim after your float. Their first run is the hardest and they usually don't go too far. There's nothing for them to tangle on out in the blue so bungee lines are a huge advantage and the stretchier the better.