Everyone remembers’ the sheer speed of that long first run when a wahoo is hooked. Fishing line cutting through the water as the rachet screams and it’s no surprise because wahoo are one of the fastest fish in the ocean. After some research I’ve learnt that wahoo have clocked at an impressive 75km/hr. As a fighting and table fish wahoo are at the top of the list. It’s fair to say that the majority of wahoo caught off Mooloolaba are by marlin lure fishermen and are not always welcome because they destroy expensive trolling lures. Wahoo can grow huge, with fish over 50kg recorded. The largest caught in Australian waters was 46kg, which is still a very big fish. Any wahoo over 20 kilos is considered a good fish. Our best so far is 30kg
Distribution in Australian waters is right across the Northern Territory down into northern New South Wales on the east coast and down to Exmouth on the west coast. Wahoo swim singly or in small, loose aggregations rather than large schools. Migrations are thought to be extensive; wahoo range over the tropical and sub-tropical waters of the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The pointed snout is the easiest way to identify wahoo. As well, the tail is much less crescent-shaped than those of its cousin the mackerel and it has a longer and higher dorsal fin.
Tackle and bait
Given that wahoo are generally found in the same waters as yellowfin and marlin, targeting them with light lines is not a good idea. As a bycatch encountered when mackerel fishing, 6-10kg line will do just fine, but out wide 15kg-plus is the norm – though this really doesn’t give the poor old wahoo much of a chance to show its turn of speed. Trolling lures, especially high speed metal heads, are the favoured way to target wahoo. Jet heads and other heavy trolling lures in red/black, orange/black and pink/white colour combinations are proven winners. Rigged baits such as garfish and slimey mackerel will catch wahoo and swimming baits seem to be preferred to skipping baits.
As I indicated previously my preferred way to target wahoo would be trolling high-speed lures that hang in the water at ten knots-plus. Wahoo tend to either like the lure right in the prop wash or the one way out the back, so a pattern of five lures with four positioned in and around the prop wash and the fifth 50 to 70 metres back makes a good starting point. If there’s room for a Halco Giant Trembler drop one of those in the lure pattern as well for fish that are swimming a bit deeper.
Any current line in 50 metres or more could be worth a look or simply troll around crab floats, debris or a FAD. Once you have located wahoo, note the location and keep working the area because there’s a good chance you will find some more. They don’t form big schools away from coral reefs but a good spot could still produce three or four fish so it’s worth the effort.
Hopefully this gets you started and in time you may land a prized fish like this one caught last year. Happy hunting!!!!!!!