Nine of the Greatest Wahoo Ever Caught

There's a reason anglers get psyched when a wahoo is on the line.

Catch Wahoo Anywhere
A nice wahoo, still brightly lit, comes to gaff after a pair of blazing runs. Zach Stovall

Wahoo — the biggest, fastest and most prized of the mackerels is a global gamefish. This list shows just how worldwide are these pelagic nomads, caught in all tropical and warm-temperate oceans.

This list of nine outstanding world-record catches aren’t simply about size, though it does include all of the biggest wahoo in the International Game Fish Association record books, but also about quality, including some particularly impressive challenging light-line and tippet catches. This list reflects wahoo taken according to the IGFA’s standards. Certainly other large wahoo have been caught (for example a 182-pounder out of Cape Cod in 2016), but not entered with the IGFA or not taken per association rules.

A Bahamas Wahoo Record

Bahamas wahoo record
John Pirovano caught this 149-pound wahoo in The Bahamas. IGFA

9.  149 pounds; men’s 130-pound class

  • Where: Cat Cay, Bahamas
  • When: June, 1962
  • Who: John Pirovano (Pasay City, Philippines)
  • How: Trolling a mullet
  • Tackle: Fin-Nor reel, Harnell curved-butt rod, Cortland Dacron
  • Fight time: 15 minutes

This 155-Pound Wahoo Record is Tough to Beat

Bill Bourne wahoo
Bill Bourne’s 155-pound wahoo caught in 1990 in San Salvador, Bahamas. Dave Bourne

8.  155 pounds, 8 ounces; men’s 80-pound class

  • Where: San Salvador, Bahamas
  • When: 1990
  • Who: William Bourne (Nepean, Ontario Canada)
  • How: Trolling a Bob Schneider high-speed lure
  • Tackle: Shimano 80-Wide reel, custom rod, Ande 80-pound mono
  • Fight time: Unknown

Record Wahoo Caught on 6-Pound Test

Fiona Stallard caught this 46-pound wahoo on 6-pound-test in Fiji. IGFA

7.  46 pounds, 4 ounces; women’s 6- lb class ( a 7-to-1 catch)

  • Where: Kadavu Islands, Fiji
  • When: 2010
  • Who: Fiona Stallard (Perth, Western Australia)
  • How: Trolling a Halco Laser Pro 160
  • Tackle: Avet reel, custom rod, Maxima mono
  • Fight time: 23 minutes

Trolling a Plug for A Record Wahoo

Tonga wahoo record
Guy Jacobsen was trolling a Rapala when he landed this 60-pound wahoo near Tonga. IGFA

6.  60 pounds; men’s 4-lb class (a 15-to-1 catch)

  • Where: Minerva Reef, Tonga
  • When: 2014
  • Who: Guy Jacobsen (Kaitaia, New Zealand) 
  • How: Trolling a Rapala lure
  • Tackle: Shimano Tyrnos reel, Daiwa rod, Moimoi mono
  • Fight time: 25 minutes

A Wahoo Record on Fly Tackle

wahoo record fly fishing
David Long caught this 77-pound wahoo after a 3-hour fight. IGFA

 5.  77 pounds, 2 ounces; men’s 16-pound-tippet class (on fly)

  • Where: Banks Islands, Vanuatu
  • When: 2006
  • Who: David Long (Bilgola, NSW, Australia)
  • How: Casting
  • Tackle: Able reel, Sage 12-wt, Climax 16-pound tippet
  • Fight time: 3 hours, 10 minutes

Light Tackle, World Record Wahoo

wahoo record on light line
Guy Jacobsen enjoys catching record wahoo. This 36-pounder was caught on 2-pound-test. IGFA

4. 36 pounds, 9 ounces; men’s 2-pound class (better than an 18-to-1 catch)

  • Where: Minerva Reef, Tonga
  • When: 2013
  • Who: Guy Jacobsen (Kaitaia, New Zealand)
  • How: Trolling a Halco lure
  • Tackle: Shimano Tyrnos reel, Daiwa rod, line not specified
  • Fight time: 14 minutes

A Women’s Bahamas Wahoo Catch of a Lifetime

wahoo record on ballyhoo
Gabrielle Knapp caught a 153-pound wahoo trolling ballyhoo in The Bahamas. IGFA

3. 153 pounds, 8 ounces; women’s 50-pound class

  • Where: San Salvador, Bahamas
  • When: 1996
  • Who: Gabrielle Knapp (Stuart, Florida)
  • How: Trolling a ballyhoo
  • Tackle: Penn International 50, custom rod, Ande 50-pound mono
  • Fight time: 15 minutes

A Wahoo Record in Mexico

Loreto Mexico wahoo
Keith Winter was fishing in Loreto, Baja Mexico when he landed a 158-pound wahoo. IGFA

2. 158 pounds, 8 ounces; men’s 50-pound class

  • Where: Loreto, Baja Mexico
  • When: 1996
  • Who: Keith Winter (Capistrano Beach, California)
  • How: Fly-lining a live mackerel
  • Tackle: Daiwa 400H reel, Fenwick rod, Maxima 40-pound mono
  • Fight time: 55 minutes

The Largest IGFA Verified Wahoo Ever Caught

largest wahoo caught on record
Sara Hayward holds the record for the largest wahoo ever caught at 184 pounds. IGFA

1. 184 pounds; All-Tackle and Junior Angler

  • Where: Cabo, Baja Mexico
  • When: 2005
  • Who: Sara Hayward (Nacogdoches, Texas)
  • How: Trolling a Mean Joe Green high-speed lure
  • Tackle: Shimano reel, Shakespeare Tidewater rod, 50-pound mono
  • Fight time: 45 minutes
  • Note: The angler who made this phenomenal catch, aboard a Minerva Fleet charter, was 15 at the time and had never caught a wahoo before. Her catch defeated the existing all-tackle record by more than 25 pounds.

Editor’s Note: Anglers interested in supporting sport fishing worldwide should consider buying a membership to the International Game Fish Association (IGFA). Salt Water Sportsman is a strong supporter of the IGFA and their mission. IGFA members receive access to the IGFA World Record database, historical videos, a monthly International Angler digital publication, and discounts on tackle and charters from IGFA partners.

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