Can You Eat a Wahoo? (Shocking Truth!)

Wahoo is a fish that is known more commonly to sports fishermen. While this fish is nowhere abundant, they are typically caught in the waters of the Gulf Stream, Bahamas and West Indies. As a prized game fish to most, a Wahoo is known for its narrow frame and incredible speed. Not only is the Wahoo fun to catch, but it is really delicious for eating!

As a member of the scombrid family of fish, which includes tuna and mackerel, the Wahoo also provides high-quality and desirable flesh that is highly demanded for many different cuisines. This may be of a surprise to the casual fisherman since we don’t frequently see this fish as a popular menu option at the local fish market or seafood restaurant.

Since Wahoo normally travel in very small schools, they are a difficult species for commercial fishermen to catch. The rarity of these fish as well as the limited supply make them an uncommon menu option. If you do happen to see this fish being sold, it is usually charged at a much higher price tag.

As one of the fastest and quickest species of fish in the sea, it is interesting to note that these fish can grow quite large. Some of the largest specimens recorded have been between 8-9 feet long. These fish can grow to a weight between 175-200 pounds. Because of their speed, they are able to dine on a wide range of foods that includes, but not limited to, squid and smaller-sized bait fish.

Wahoo are the ultimate reward while fishing. Not only do they reach extraordinary sizes but you do not need to travel hundreds of miles offshore in order to catch them. They are able to provide an entertaining and thrilling fight without the use of heavier fishing tackle.

Can You Eat a Wahoo?

With flesh that is comparable to that of the King Mackerel in both appearance and taste, the Wahoo is a terrific fish to eat. The Hawaiians actually refer to this fish as “Ono” which translates to “good to eat”! They have a firm texture and just enough flavor from their little fat content. For the few people that are fortunate enough to try this fish, it is usually an unforgettable experience and has been referenced as one of the best eating fish. As a member of the mackerel family, it tends to taste its best when grilled or baked. The meat is white, crisp and very flaky.

How do you Clean and Fillet a Wahoo?

Steps to Fillet a Wahoo

  1. You will want to clean the fish as soon as the Wahoo is caught – be sure to let the fish bleed out (by cutting the gills) and remove all of the entrails or guts
  2. Now, to begin filleting, insert the knife just above the spine and run it down along the dorsal fin line
  3. Next, make a cut just behind the pectoral fin. This step is critical for ensuring that you preserve as much meat possible for the fish fillets
  4. Then, make an angled cut behind the pectoral fin, cut along the belly all the way to the tail. Use the knife to cut down the spine along the dorsal fine line
  5. Now, you are ready to remove the fillets
  6. Starting at the tail, you will want to separate the bones from the fillets
  7. Slowly cut the flesh from the rib bones. For an easier time filleting, cut the pieces into small pieces rather than one long fillet
  8. After you have successfully cut your fillets, do not soak them in water. Lightly clean the fillets and store on ice. Maintaining the freshness of the fish is a very important final step

Are Wahoo high in Mercury Content?

Unfortunately, one if not the only negatives to eating Wahoo is that they contain high levels of mercury. Wahoo are part of the mackerel family which tend to have a moderate to high level of mercury within these species of fish. Wahoo have a higher level because of their diet. The more fish that they eat, the higher their levels will be. For safety reasons, it is essential that these fish are cleaned and gutted prior to cooking and eating.

What is the Best Method to Catch a Wahoo?

For the best success fishing, the ideal method for hooking a Wahoo is to troll over coral ledge areas. Most anglers prefer the use of wired line with either large feathers or oversized spoons. Live or frozen, the best bait for Wahoo is Spanish Mackerel which has seen its best success while trolling. You can use lighter tackle but certainly be prepared for a trilling fight. Other methods such as jigging, chunking and kite fishing have all produced successful results for hooking a Wahoo.

What is the Biggest Wahoo Ever Caught?

According to the International Game Fish Association, the largest Wahoo ever caught was 184 pounds. This prized fish was caught on July 29th, 2005 in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Many have come close to this weight, as it is becoming more common to see Wahoo exceed 150 pounds.

Is Wahoo Fish Expensive?

Given the lack of availability for commercial fishermen, Wahoo tend to be a more expensive fish, similar to the price of a tuna steak. These fish are difficult to find in large schools. Fish that travel in schools are easier for fishermen to catch in mass quantities with large fishing nets. Most, if not, all of these fish need to be caught on a rod and reel.


If you have the opportunity to try a fresh fillet of Wahoo, I strongly recommend that you do. Your tastebuds will welcome the texture and flavor of this fish. While the fish luckily isn’t endangered, they are still rare and difficult to find on a seafood restaurant menu. The Wahoo is an underrated fish that provides a great battle on fishing line as well as valuable nutrition for our consumption.

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