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Wahoo Fast Facts

  • Wahoo are related to mackerels and are members of the fish family Scombridae.
  • Wahoo live in tropical and subtropical waters worldwide. During the summer, they may migrate into temperate waters.
  • According to the International Game Fish Association, the official record for the largest wahoo caught on hook and line is 158.5 lb (71.9 kg). However, uncertified reports indicate wahoo may grow as large as 200 lb (91 kg) or more.
  • Wahoo tend to be solitary, but they are occasionally found in small, loose schools.
  • Wahoo is a prized game fish due to its speed, fighting qualities, and excellent flavor.
  • Wahoo are among the fastest pelagic species (reaching speeds up to 60 mph) and are capable of capturing a wide range of prey, including various fishes and squid.
  • Wahoo are thought to be relatively fast growing. In one study, a wahoo that was tagged, released, and recovered ten months later had grown around 22 pounds in less than a year-from 11 lb (5 kg) to 33 lb (15 kg).
  • The giant stomach worm (Hirudinella ventricosa) is commonly found in wahoo stomachs, but the worm does not affect the portion of the fish eaten by humans.
  • Wahoo have been included in the FWC-FWRI Mercury Program, which investigates total mercury levels in the muscle tissue of various Florida fishes. The Florida Department of Health ( has issued a health advisory for wahoo in the Florida Keys and Florida Bay regions.
  • Wahoo are currently the topic of much scientific research in Florida. Scientists at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute are studying wahoo biology. Scientists at Florida Atlantic University are conducting a genetic study to investigate the relationship between individual wahoo from different parts of the world.
  • A recently approved management plan, developed by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council ( in conjunction with the Mid-Atlantic and New England councils, will set limits on commercial and recreational dolphin and wahoo catches in federal waters along the entire Atlantic coast.


Collette, B.B. and C.E. Nauen, 1983. FAO species catalogue. Vol. 2. Scombrids of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of tunas, mackerels, bonitos and related species known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. 2(125). 137 pp.

Hogarth, W. T. 1976. Life history aspects of the wahoo Acanthocybium solanderi (Cuvier and valenciennes) from the coast of North Carolina. Ph.D. Dissertation. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC. 107 pp.

Nash, A., J. Whiting, and B. E. Luckhurst. 2002. A pneumatic cradle for handling and tagging of wahoo and other large pelagic fishes. American Fisheries Society Symposium 30:189-194.

Overstreet, R. M. 1978. Marine maladies? Worms, germs, and other symbionts from the northern Gulf of Mexico. Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium MASGP-78-021. 140 pp.