Wahoos – Wonderful and Wily

There’s something about jumping into the blue abyss that gives some people the creeps. For many, there’s an eerie sense of vulnerability knowing that “something” could materialize from any place at any time out of the deep blue. For others, the excitement of being able to hunt different species propels them to set aside any doubts about venturing off the reef and into new territory.

Spearfishing in water that is hundreds or thousands of feet deep is a completely different feeling than reef hunting. For one, looking through your mask into deep blue water can be disorienting when there is nothing for your eyes to focus on—no reef, no cover, no frame of reference. But just when you begin to wonder why you are floating around in this vast sea of nothingness, you suddenly become aware of another presence—a wahoo is floating beside you! No matter how hard you are looking, you never see them coming in; they just materialize out of nowhere.

Sheri Daye swims in a big wahoo. Photo by Vaeamuni Kama

Wahoos are one of the most coveted fish for bluewater hunters. That is because they are stealthy, good-tasting, and way smarter than you are. They can solve differential equations, calculate the exact range of your speargun and read your mind. Their elusive nature and narrow body shape provide a challenging target even for the most experienced of hunters.

Here are some tips for hunting this wary species:

  1. Use the right equipment. Bluewater spearguns have longer range and detachable terminal equipment, including a shaft with slip-tip, float line and surface floatation. Do not use a reel gun unless you want to get spooled in seconds and lose your gun.
  2. Use dangling flashers and chum to increase your chances of attracting them.
  3. When you become aware of their presence, do not move a hair as they will disappear if they detect any change in your body language.
  4. Do not look at them directly; they do not like eye contact. Use your best acting skills to imitate an innocent turtle who has no interest in wahoos.
  5. Use a throw flasher to bring them in closer, within the range of your speargun.
  6. Dive in with a slow and soft descent, with your eyes and head turned elsewhere.
  7. If you have done everything correctly and they are still hanging around, extend your speargun slowly and take careful aim, because you will get one chance.
  8. Unless you are extremely confident you can get the kill shot, aim for center mass where your chances of hitting the target are highest, but not too far back or too low as a gut shot will result in a tear-off.
  9. Let the wahoo complete its initial run. The burst of energy with the spear, line, and float in tow is impressive, but the fish will tire quickly and to the point where you can pull it in by the float line.
  10. Once you have your fish in hand, gloat, take pictures, show off, grill and eat!

P.S. – Bluewater spearfishing is thrilling but should only be done after proper training and experience.

Sheri is a world-record holder, host of Speargun Hunter, and producer of “The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo” in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Follow “Sheri Daye” and “The Blue Wild” on Facebook and Instagram.