Wahoo Fishing in the Gulf of Mexico

Wahoo have many names and are located all over the globe. But the Gulf of Mexico is one of the best places for hooking up with this bullet of a fish. The fish is found from Key West, Florida, all the way to Cancun, Mexico.

Wahoo are one of the fastest fish in the sea, with speeds of 60+ mph. They are built like a missile and use this to reach these incredible speeds. It is this speed that makes it one of the most desirable fish. Wahoo have a streamlined azure blue body with iridescent grey-blue stripes running vertically along their body. They have very sharp teeth, are voracious eaters, and have been known to take a bite out of a fisherman or two. Wahoo can get to be giant. They can top 8 feet in length and over 175 pounds. And Wahoo is a delicious fish with firm, sweet meat. All of this makes the Wahoo one of the world’s most sought-after fish, especially in the Gulf.

Wahoos are solitary most of the time, but they can run in small schools. You can find upwards of 100 in a school during the spawning season, but this usually only happens during that time.

Seasons For Wahoo Fishing

The Gulf of Mexico has Wahoo roaming the waters throughout the year, but different areas have different seasons. Full moons and a few days before and after are some of the best times to plan a Wahoo fishing trip. Here are the seasons of some of the cities located throughout the Gulf of Mexico.

Key West, FL

A premier fishing destination for all anglers, Key West is probably the best place in Florida to fish for Wahoo. You can catch them year-round in the Gulf, and they are not only in great numbers but also large.

Key West is one of the spawning grounds for the Wahoo, and at times hundreds are swimming in the waters off the coast. You can find them as close as several miles away at the reefs to 50+ miles offshore in the deep blue.

Fishing Season

The season or best time for Wahoo is November through February. This is the time that Wahoo frequent the many reefs in the area. But there is a second season in Summer, from June to August.

Destin, FL

Destin is another great town for Wahoo in Florida. There is “The Edge,” where the bottom of the ocean floor drops from 130 feet to 600+ feet in a manner of minutes. The beauty of Destin is that this drop is only about 25 miles from the docks so getting out there is a quick ride leaving you more time to go fishing. While this is one of the prime spots for large pelagic fish like Wahoo, they can be found occasionally in man-made structures just before the edge.

Fishing Season

The season for Destin is longer than in Key West. Here Wahoo are found from late May to September, when the baitfish are most plentiful.

Orange Beach, AL

In Orange Beach, an extensive reef system extends 50 miles out to the ledge, where the water starts to get deep. In the deeper parts of the reefs, you can find Wahoo roaming the reefs for smaller baitfish. While the reefs like “Soldier Key” and “The Great Florida Reef” do have Wahoo it is sometimes difficult to target them. To go after monster Wahoo, you have to go 100+ miles to the deep blue water.

Fishing Season

Like Destin, the season for Wahoo here is from Late Spring to Early Fall.

Venice, LA

Venice is known as “Tuna Town” because of its number of Tuna and availability year-round. It is also very well known by anglers everywhere as a great place to land huge Wahoo.

The fishing grounds are not very far from the docks, so you are fishing quickly. Venice has many structures, oil rigs, and “The Lumps, ” which are prime areas. And the beauty of Venice is that while fishing for Wahoo, you are bound to run into a large Yellowtail or two.

Fishing Season

January to March are the best times for reeling in this fun fish. The fishing is good to excellent for the rest of the year except October.

Galveston, TX

100+ miles off Galveston’s coast is the northernmost reef system in America, “The Flower Garden.” This system’s East and West ends are excellent areas to target large Wahoo. The water drops to depths of 220 feet and rises to 60 feet, trapping baitfish in the currents and making them easy pickings for Wahoo and other pelagic fish. Along with “The Flower Garden,” there is Stetson Bank, a small bank that drops to the same depths as “The Gardens.”

Fishing Season

The season here is November to February when the fish are coming closer to shore and from May to September as well.

Port Aransas, TX

Relatively new to the list of great places for Wahoo, Port Aransas has plenty of structures, with the Baker and Southern oil rigs just 35-45 miles from the coast. They can also be found at “The Dump” and the “Falcon” rigs about 50 miles out.

Fishing Season

The best times are from January to March, but November is also excellent for fishing. April to June is also good.

Cancun, MX

The fishing is year-round here and has a few areas with the best chance for some large-sized Wahoo. Isla Mujeres is an island about an hour’s drive from the docks and is a great place for all fish, including pelagic fish like Wahoo. You need to go about 20-30 miles off the coast to the Yucatan Channel, where the big boys are. Also off the coast of Cancun is the Mesoamerican Reef which stretches from the Cancun coastline to the Island of Mujeres and is home to all kinds of fish, including Wahoo.

Fishing Season

The season is from February to June with excellent fishing inshore and offshore, but November and December bring in decent numbers too.

Most Common Fishing Methods For Catching Wahoo in the Gulf of Mexico

There are a few methods for catching large-sized Wahoo. These are the most popular ones that most captains of fishing charters up and down the Gulf utilize.

Trolling

The technique that is the number one choice for catching Wahoo is trolling. Trolling is putting your line into the water while the boat is in motion. This movement attracts the big pelagic fish like Wahoo. You can use live bait like Mackerel, Mullet and Ballyhoos or artificial lures with crazy color combinations like Rum Cay Candy, Crooked Island Candy and San Sal Candy, to name just a few. Both high-speed trolling with six lines in the water and slow trolling work depending on the conditions and the captain’s preference. You can also troll around man-made and natural structures. When trolling, you want your bait at different levels of depth for the maximum chance of hooking one.

Jigging

Jigging is a widespread technique employed by fishermen fishing near structures and weed lines. Deep drop your bait to just below the surface or in deep waters to around 400 – 500 feet. Then reel it in as fast as you can. The quick movements down and up attract Wahoo. This is a fun way to catch the fish, but it is also a real workout, so be prepared for a real fight.

Kite Fishing

Whether drifting or trolling, kite fishing can be very productive and fun. Usually, you are not actually targetting Wahoo but rather Mahi Mahi, Sailfish or more giant billfish when hooking up with Wahoo. But the thrashing surface bait attracts Wahoo just as much as the other fish. Letting out some speedo baits really lures the Wahoo and even large Kingfish too. Some captains have said that during Sailfish Kite Fishing, some Wahoo would surface right near the boat, and they would throw chunks in the water and a line or two and bam, fish on!
Wahoos are fast and fun to catch and are found throughout the Gulf and the world. It is also a delicious fish found at many seaside restaurants throughout the Gulf. With its speed, it is one of the most desirable fish to catch, giving up quite a fight.

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