North Carolina Sea Grant
Mariner's Menu

Mariner's Menu

August 21, 2010 | Barry Nash

north carolina fisheries

Wahoo are common to the tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The top half of their body is steel blue while their bottom half is pale blue in color. They have a series of 25 to 30 irregular blackish-blue vertical bars on their sides and a large mouth with strong, finely serrated teeth.

Wahoo produce 560,000 eggs (for a 13.52 pound wahoo) to 45 millions eggs (for an 87.1 pound wahoo). The spawning seasons is usually May through October; however, wahoo are believed to spawn year-round in the tropics. Wahoo grow rapidly during their first year or two and reach maturity at two years.

Wahoo commonly attain sizes between 40 and 65 inches in length and have a life span of five or six years. This species are common in tropical waters year round but will migrate to northern latitudes during the summer season.

Wahoo are frequently found alone or in small, loosely connected groups rather than compact schools. They are voracious eaters and typically prey on mackerels, butterfishes, round herrings, scads, pompanos, porcupine fishes and flying fishes.

Wahoo in South Atlantic waters is managed by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, but are not regulated in the Gulf of Mexico. The population of wahoo in both the South Atlantic and the Gulf is unknown.

Atlantic wahoo has historically been a recreational fishery, but are caught commercially by longliners fishing for dolphin or other pelagic species. Commercial regulations include a trip limit of 500 pounds and a recreational limit of two wahoo per person per day.

For more detail on this species, go to

Contributed by Barry Nash

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