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Description: The wahoo has a long, narrow body, a long snout and a long dorsal fin. Its body is steel blue on top and pale blue on the bottom. There are 25 to 30 blackish-blue vertical bands that extend down the side to below the lateral line. Wahoo have no gill rakers.

Size: Wahoo grow to 6 feet and 100 pounds. 

Sometimes confused with: king mackerel

Habitat: The wahoo is an offshore, warm-water fish usually found alone or in small groups congregating near drifting objects like seaweed. In the western Atlantic, they range from New Jersey to Colombia, migrating through the Gulf Stream north in the summer and returning to the tropics in the winter.

Eating habits: Wahoo feed primarily on other fish like frigate mackerel, butterfish porcupine fish and round herring, as well as squid. They aggressively pursue and overcome their prey, capturing the fish with their strong jaws.

Life cycle: Wahoo are short-lived, grow rapidly and reach sexual maturity in their first year. Spawning along the southeastern United States occurs in the summer months.

Fishing tips: Anglers catch wahoo with boats trolling at high speeds over deep ocean waters. Many use heavy fishing lines rigged with artificial lures, such as brightly colored ballyhoo skirts on wire leaders. High speed plugs and lures are also used.

N.C. Saltwater Fishing Tournament

Award for harvest of fish, 40 pounds or greater.

See the list of weigh stations


Persons engaged in recreational fishing in North Carolina coastal waters are required to possess a Coastal Recreational Fishing License in accordance with G.S. 113-174.2.

Current Proclamations

Recreational Size and Bag Limits

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