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How Big Do Wahoo Get? (Average and Record Sizes)

How Big Do Wahoo Get? (Average and Record Sizes)

Wahoo are amazing game fish found in all of the world’s tropical and sub-tropical waters. 

They are big, super-fast hunters that fight incredibly hard and don’t give up easily. 

Undoubtedly, the wahoo is one of the oceans’ most magnificent big game species. But just how big do wahoo get? 

While they have an average size of 3 to 5 feet and 15 to 40lb, wahoo can reach a maximum length of about 8 feet and a maximum weight of 180 to 200lb. The biggest wahoo ever caught weighed an incredible 184lb. 

Keep reading this article and find out everything there is to know about the wahoo’s average, maximum, and world record size. 

What Is the Maximum Size of Wahoo?

Wahoo (Acanthocybium solandri) are fairly large and fast-growing saltwater predators. They’re often compared to or mistaken for barracudas (even though the two species aren’t related) but can grow much bigger than them. 

I caught wahoo many years ago together with my wife during our honeymoon in the Maldives, and learning about their incredible size surprised us both. The ones we caught measured around 3 to 4 feet, which we thought was enormous then.

But as it turns out, they can grow much bigger than that! 

Wahoo can reach a maximum length of about 8 feet and a maximum weight of 180 to 200lb.

The fish we caught back then weighed around 15 to 25lb. I can’t even imagine how strong a 100lb+ wahoo must be! Let alone a giant of 150lb or more. They really are powerful and fast fish!

What Is the Average Size of a Wahoo?

a couple fishing for wahoo in the maldives
Me and my beautiful wife Tania with 2 wahoo

Luckily, the average size of wahoo is much closer to the sizes we managed to catch back then!

An average wahoo typically measures between 3 and 5 feet in length and about 15 to 40lb in weight. 

Now, in my book, that’s a pretty awesome average size! Wouldn’t you agree? 

The reason for the wahoo’s relatively large average size is its super-fast growth. In fact, I don’t know any other saltwater species that grows this rapidly. (More on this further down in the article)

Of course, sizes do vary from region to region! In some areas, wahoo might have an average size of 5 feet and 30 to 40lb. 

In other areas, the fish might be much smaller and have an average size of around 3 feet and 10 to 15lb. 

Several factors will determine the fish’s average size in any given area. Some of them include:

  • water temperature
  • water depth
  • turbidity
  • amount of available food sources
  • food competition
  • predation
  • population genetics
  • fishing pressure

What Is the Biggest Wahoo Ever Caught?

This is a really interesting section of the article because the All-Tackle world record wahoo is a regular giant! 

Once again, if people have a hard time telling the difference between barracudas and wahoo, this record will certainly clear things up, as the biggest wahoo ever caught is almost twice as big as the world record barracuda.

Alright, let’s get to it, then! The current world record wahoo is a huge fish of 184lb. It was caught off Cabo San Lucas (Mexico) by angler Sara Hayward in 2005. 

I can’t even imagine how strong a 180lb+ wahoo must be, not in my wildest dreams! 

Incredibly, Sara caught this monster on an 80lb test line (for which she also holds the current world record). 

Given how insanely strong and fast these fish are, this was a job well done! 

Where Are the World’s Biggest Wahoo Found?

a group of saltwater anglers fishing for giant wahoo in the Florida Keys
Courtesy of Robert Steven Catroneo

There is no one location answer to this question, as wahoo migrate a lot, and big specimens can theoretically show up in any tropical or sub-tropical water in the world. 

However, there are several locations and regions that frequently produce big wahoo. 

Many of them are known and popular sport fishing destinations that are fished and visited by thousands and thousands of anglers every year.

These are the following:

  • Bahamas
  • Florida Keys
  • Hawaii
  • Mexico
  • Cuba
  • Costa Rica
  • South Africa
  • Mauritius
  • Maldives

So if you’re looking for some big wahoo action, make sure to check out these incredible fishing destinations!

How Fast Do Wahoo Grow?

a massive wahoo in a cooler on a boat
Courtesy of Robert Steven Catroneo

As mentioned above, wahoo are an extremely fast-growing fish species. 

They reach sexual maturity at age 1, and by then, males usually measure around 2.8 to 3 feet and females around 3.3 to 3.5 feet.

Their weight at this age is between 10 and 20lb, which is an incredible growth rate for a predatory fish species.

What’s even more astonishing is that their weight increases even faster after that first year. 

While their annual growth after age 1 is about 0.5 feet, their weight can increase by 20 or more pounds per year. 

Being able to gain that much weight in such a short time implies that wahoo must be excellent and super-fast hunters. 

What Is the Lifespan of a Wahoo?

Now you are, of course, wondering about the wahoo’s maximum age. If they can pack up 20 or more pounds per year, how is it that they can only weigh a maximum of around 180 to 200lb?

The answer is simple: they have an extremely short lifespan. On average, wahoo only live 3 to 6 years, and their reported maximum age is a mere 9 years

In some regions, their reported average lifespan is even shorter than that; 1.3 to 1.8 years. 

No wonder they reach sexual maturity that fast and grow so rapidly!

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Featured image courtesy of Glyn Sorensen