By Caitlyn Gatrell – Reading Time: 7 minutes
Picture a day on the water, surrounded by smiling faces, beautiful blue seas, and plenty of action. And action means bait flickering on the surface and schools of varying species underneath trying to secure their next meal! In the clear blue water, your eye catches something speeding past below. Something long with blue and gray colors, covered in wavy stripes… That’s just the start of what Wahoo fishing in Florida looks like.
These fish are known for their incredible speed and tough fights. Anglers from all around come to the deep waters out of Florida in search of these speedy beasts. They’re fast, they’re tough, but most of all, they’re hungry. If the sound of this excites you, then you’ll want to keep reading to find out how you can catch one of these speed demons.
Florida Wahoo Fishing Rules and Regulations
Not only is Wahoo an exciting fish to catch, but it’s tasty too! There’s a large variety of delicious recipes and well-known Florida restaurants named after this species. That gives you an idea of how popular and favored it is.
And, if you’re a seafood lover, the good news is that you’re allowed to harvest this species. The season is open year-round with no closures. There also is no minimum or maximum size limit for keeping your catch. The only thing to keep in mind is that the daily bag limit is set at two per person.
The only other regulation to abide by is the need for a Florida fishing license if you’re heading out alone. You need a current saltwater fishing license in order to fish for Wahoo, and to harvest them. There’s a variety of simple ways to purchase one, such as online, by phone, or in person.
However, most people will try Wahoo fishing in Florida aboard a fishing charter. And, if you’re on a licensed fishing charter, you won’t need a license. The captain’s permit will cover all on board.
So, now you know. Head out with a guide or get out on the water with a guide. Either way, you’re ready to go.
Best Wahoo Fishing Bait in Florida
Like all species, there are certain treats that are just irresistible to a creature. Knowing the preferred bait of a Wahoo will increase your chances of successfully catching one. Both live bait and artificial lures are used to get a Wahoo to bite. Let’s dive in!
Wahoo are carnivores and therefore target a lot of meaty species. Smaller bait fish, such as blue runners, bonito, crabs, squid, and octopus are all common meals for Wahoo. Use these fresh and alive, or opt for dead or cut bait, and troll them behind the boat.
Artificial lures with flashy bright colors and lots of movement best capture the attention of Wahoo. A couple of good examples include Double O’ Large, Torpedo Lantern, Chin Weighted Mullet, Yo-Zuri Bonita, and more. Each one is unique in its own style and color, but they all have one thing in common – they attract Wahoo.
When’s the best time to go Wahoo fishing?
You should be aware that Wahoo are not the biggest fans of warm temperatures. Therefore, the more the sun comes up, the further they’ll dive to get away from the heat. This means you’ll need to wake up extra early to get out to Wahoo feeding grounds before the sun rises. That early morning bite is always hot.
While you can catch Wahoo year-round in Florida, they tend to wander. That means there are different seasons depending on where you are in the Sunshine State. In the lower Keys, for example, the prime time for catching Wahoo is fall through winter. In Miami, the offshore waters are most productive during the summer months. On the Gulf side, you’ll need to head further out to reach cooler waters. The spring and fall months, therefore, bring the best Wahoo fishing in the Gulf.
Despite being miles offshore, the tide also plays a factor when Wahoo fishing in Florida. Many experienced Wahoo anglers swear by fishing around incoming or outgoing tides during the new and full moons. The tides reach extra lows and highs around this time, swinging bait back and forth. During an outgoing tide, bait is heavily taken offshore where hungry Wahoo await.
Top Wahoo Fishing Spots in Florida
Wahoo love to be in cool, open, and deep waters. But they also tend to hang around areas with drop-offs or structures. You can find them around wrecks as well. All in all, there are plenty of popular locations in Florida for Wahoo fishing. Here’s my pick of the best:
On the east coast, Miami gives direct access to the Atlantic Ocean. Traveling a bit offshore, you’ll enter open waters where various species will be traveling by. Not too far offshore, you’ll find the Gulf Stream channel. This deep cut brings in many critters, both big and small. Wahoo will be present here, on the hunt for some food.
The Keys are known for many things but fishing may be their most significant. This area is a hotspot for many species, with individuals coming from across the world for the chance of hooking some intense game fish – Wahoo being of them. The best option is to head all the way down to Key West and fish the deep waters there. There are plenty of small fish around that attract driven Wahoo.
Stuart, FL, is another city where you can easily make your way to the deeper waters of the Atlantic Ocean. During the summer, trolling lures can bring in feisty Wahoo who fly through the waters trying to catch their next meal.
In the Gulf of Mexico, oil rigs provide a home for many sea creatures. While you may have to travel quite some way away, you’ll have a good chance of locating some Wahoo here during the summer months.
These locations are the prime areas where you will see Wahoo in Florida. But, pretty much all along the Atlantic side, as long as you can reach deep depths, your chances of seeing a Wahoo already increase. Deep cuts, strong currents, and any nearby structure will up those chances even more!
The Gulf of Mexico is a little trickier because you have to travel far to reach deeper waters. But it’s far from impossible to find Wahoo. Once you reach those waters, you’ll have good chances as well. Of course, the bait you supply makes a difference, as well as the time of day and weather conditions. If you follow everything mentioned in this article, you’ll have the edge over most other anglers.
How to Catch Wahoo in Florida
There are two common methods used for Wahoo fishing in Florida, trolling and jigging. Each technique has its own purpose and depends on the area you’re fishing in. For example, trolling is best done in open waters, while jigging is better suited for deep waters with surrounding structures. Let’s take a look at both
Experienced anglers recommend trolling your bait or lure 150–400 feet from the boat at a speed of at least 10 knots. It’s a good idea to have varying lines at different depths as this allows you to cover more ground. This is especially true if you don’t have a fish finder, as it’ll be hard to tell how deep the fish may be swimming.
However, Wahoo will be attracted to boats and floating debris, so there are opportunities for them to feed at the surface. The fish will show off incredible speed as they race through the water to reach their bait.
Jigging refers to the method of using a heavy sinker paired with a hook. The hook is disguised to look like a bait fish or squid with a plastic cover and varying colors. You drop this all the way down to your desired depth and you jerk the rod tip over and over. This makes the bait look realistic under the water. Some make a sound to further attract the fish. This method is helpful because Wahoo can reach great depths, and you need something to reach down there.
Suggested basic tackle for Wahoo fishing includes 50 lb reels, 100 lb braidс, heavy sinkers (usually at least 10 ounces), a 300 lb leader, swivels, and perhaps even a wire leader. There are options for spinning and conventional reels, as well as electric reels. A variety of rods are made to suit all your Wahoo fishing needs, depending on what reel you’re using and what method of fishing you’re engaging in.
Wahoo Fishing FAQs
Wahoo Fishing in Florida: More than Just Bycatch
By now you understand the ultimate power these fish carry and why fishermen all over love them. Their unique color patterns, incredible strength, fun fights, and delicious taste are among the many reasons why you should try catching one!
So what are you waiting for? Start planning your Wahoo fishing trip to Florida! Fishing Booker can be your first step in finding the best charter for you. When you’re ready, take a look and get your fish on!
Have you ever been Wahoo fishing in Florida? Where did you land yours? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
The post How to Go Wahoo Fishing in Florida: An Angler’s Guide appeared first on FishingBooker Blog.
This article originally appeared here and was republished with permission.