Wahoo Fish Facts

wahoo-fish-facts

 

The wahoo is a fish known commonly throughout the world, for both its fame as a gaming fish and its immaculate taste when it’s cooked. There is much to know about these fish even though they’re common; in fact, their commonality across the globe is currently why scientists are researching more deeply into them.

The wahoo species of fish can be found in salt water in the tropic and sub-tropic areas of the world. Their abundance worldwide has made them a target for both scientists and commercial fisherman alike. Even gaming fisherman choose to go after this distinct family of fish for the skill necessary to catch one and the excellent flavor they produce as a dish.

Wahoo are a medium-sized species of fish; they can grow up to around 8 feet long and the largest to ever be caught on a line weighed 158.5 pounds. Some experts estimate the wahoo can reach a maximum size of about 200 pounds, though there are no specimens yet to prove it.

This species of fish is generally prefers a solitary environment, but it is also common to find them in small schools. In pristine conditions, some of their schools have been known to reach up to around 100 fish, but it is a rare occurrence.

Another reason this fish is targeted for sport is its great speed and strength. The wahoo has been known to reach swimming speeds of about 60 miles per hour, they’re aggressive, and have razor sharp teeth. The wahoo also possesses bladelike fins that help propel it through the water; the wahoo is one of the fastest known fish in the world.

Wahoo is often mistaken for biologically related fish such as the mackerel because of the similarities, though there are more noticeable differences between the wahoo and mackerel. The difference between the king mackerel and narrow barred Spanish mackerel to the wahoo is a patch of skin that covers the mouth while it is closed. The mandible is also not showing on the wahoo unlike the king, spanish, and cero mackerel.

The wahoo variety of fish is known to mainly eat squid, but it will eat any other type of fish or animal that it can fit into its mouth. They never go too far out from land and are generally a by catch in most salt water commercial fisheries, especially those where tuna, billfish, and dolphins are located.

In 2003, there was a Dolphin Wahoo Fishery Management plan put into place even though the wahoo is not considered to be overfished. On the Environmental Protection Agency‘s ranking for endangered species, the wahoo is labeled as no concern.

This fish is also known to carry a large type of stomach worm known as Hirudinella ventricosa. This worm doesn’t affect the part of the fish that people use for consumption and likewise, the fish does not seem to suffer physically at all from being host to this worm.

Photo credit: Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)

One Man’s Trash … Cooking with Less Popular Types of Fish

One positive aspect of the recent regulations on catch limits for popular fish like flounder and haddock is that seafood enthusiasts are becoming more creative with the types of fish they cook and eat. In March of this year, local Boston, Massachusetts, chefs held a Trash Fish Dinner, where they served up three lesser known (but still delicious) types of fish: redfish, pollack, and dogfish. The creativity of these chefs, and their willingness to explore less popular types of fish, illustrated that delicious dishes can come from all types of seafood, as long as they are served with a bit of ingenuity and inventiveness.

Here’s a breakdown of three well known “trash fish,” and some suggestions of how they may spice up your everyday seafood repertoire.

Redfish

Photo credit: finchlake2000 / Foter / CC BY

A flakey and moist fish, redfish is sometimes known as ocean perch. Mild in flavor, many compare its taste to the red snapper fish. Redfish is a popular fish to cook blackened or pan friend. It has firm, white flesh, and tends to spoil more quickly than other types of fish. Redfish can be substituted for haddock or fish with similar qualities (which tends to be more popular). Try it in dishes like fish tacos, crispy and fried, or baked simply with light herbs and lemon. This is definitely worth trying out at least once!

Dogfish

Photo credit: Diving Ben / Foter / CC BY-NC

About three feet in size and a member of the shark family, dogfish is also known as Cape Shark. Most dogfish enthusiasts consider them best when eaten fresh; they do not freeze well. Dogfish must be gutted, bled, and chilled as soon as it is caught because, as a member of the shark family, its waste products are maintained within the body and excreted through the skin. A popular fish for fish and chips, dogfish is also excellent when smoked (due to its oily flesh) and also in soups, stir fry, or even as kebabs. Although the skinning and gutting of a dogfish is a bit labor intensive, it is a great, abundant alternative to popular types of fish for cooking.

Pollack

Photo credit: haakonhansen / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

A part of the cod family, the pollack is a light and flakey fish in flavor and can therefore be substituted for haddock or cod in most recipes. Pollack can grow up to three and a half feet long, have whiskers like a catfish, and can be distinguished by their dark flesh that takes a greenish hue. Although traditionally for stews (and even foods like breaded fish filets and fish sticks), pollack can be versatile because of its mild taste, and is recommended poached, baked, or broiled.

Find Your Fish! A Guide to the Types of Fish Found in Massachusetts During Fishing Season

Massachusetts is known for its world-class fishing, and early spring is when it truly comes alive. Although most famous for striped bass, halibut, and cod (did you know that a giant cod hangs in the Massachusetts state house?), Massachusetts is home to many types of saltwater fish that make for excellent fishing. One of the best aspects of fishing in Massachusetts is that it can accommodate all levels of ability. Beginner fishermen, those who enjoy a challenge, and those who are looking for full-out trophy fishing can all fish happily in its waters.

If it is light-tackle fishing you are looking for, you may want to try snagging a fluke. The fluke is often referred to as a “doormat,” due to its odd shape, and you will know it because both of its eyes are on its left side, facing upwards, which is indicative of a flat fish. Fluke can be found close to land as well as in deeper waters.

Another familiar large flat fish, halibut, is a hard one to reel in, but halibut is one of New England’s most popular fish. If you happen to be coming to Massachusetts in May, you may also find a Black Sea Bass on your hook, since it migrates into Cape Cod Bay around this time. Black bass are particularly fascinating because they are all born as females and become male! They prefer a bottom structure, like reefs and wrecks.

Cod is perhaps the king of all fish in Massachusetts, but many do not know that it has several “cousin” fish (fish that are part of the cod family) that are just as fishable. The cusk, for example, is very similar to cod in terms of fishing strategy and environment. Haddock, another family member, is discernible by its back spot and lateral line, but is best found May through November, whereas cod can be fished all year round. If you feel comfortable catching cod and finding fluke, perhaps you may try your hand at some more aggressive members of the cod family, like the pollack. Pollack is similar to cod, but many find catching it just as challenging as the mean-spirited bluefish.

What is it about bluefish that makes them considered a mean fish? Their teeth! Bluefish possess razor-sharp chompers that will snap at you any chance they get, which earns the fish (especially the more juvenile varieties found inland) the nickname “snapper.” These guys will give you a run for your money, but are definitely worth fighting for.

If you have mastered the light-tackle fish, and the cod family, or even snappers, perhaps you are ready for some true trophy fishing in Massachusetts. Striped bass (“stripers”) are caught from both shore and sea, are easy identified by their black stripes (hence the name) and are prized if you can muscle them onto your boat or beach.

However, the big kahuna, the fish for anyone hoping for big trophy fishing in Massachusetts is the tuna, more specifically, the bluefin tuna. Although you can get a challenging catch by reeling in a yellow or albacore, it’s the mighty bluefin tuna that is the biggest catch of them all. It is the highest paying, offers up the most bragging rights, and makes for a great photograph.

Massachusetts is wealth of saltwater fishing, regardless of if you are looking for a relaxing day, a bit of a struggle, or a full-out battle. Be it on-shore fishing or at sea, to experience some of the best fishing around, try your luck (or skill) in any of Massachusetts’ plentiful fishing communities. There is truly something for everyone’s fishing ability.

Swordfish Fishing Things to Keep in Mind

Many people have a favorite pastime of going fishing. This often means going to a nearby lake, stream, or even a river to hook in some fresh water local fish. However, those that are after much larger trophies often board a vessel and explore the wide-open sea. If you are thinking about going swordfish fishing, there are important things to keep in mind to ensure your safety, enjoyment and perhaps even a chance at getting that big trophy that you so desire.

3 Things to Keep in Mind

Here are three things to keep in mind:

  1. Proper Gear- You can choose to go swordfish fishing in the day or night, but no matter what time you choose, it is important that you have the proper gear to help you in your endeavor. Proper gear means having the proper reel that has extra drag power as well as durability to withstand the muscular strength and pull of the mighty swordfish. It is also important to have a custom rod that will accommodate the weight and pull of this ocean species. A braided line is also necessary.
  2. Sea Anchor- Make sure you do not go out to sea with the hopes of catching the mighty swordfish without a sea anchor. Be prepared to spend some money on it, as cheap anchor just will not suffice. Get one that is large and has poundage behind it. This is vital in keeping your boat as well as your fishing lines intact when you encounter one of these big creatures on the end of your lines.
  3. Safety Precautions- Remember to take the necessary safety precautions to ensure your safety as well as the safety of your fishing companions. Make sure that your boat is well equipped with the standard safety gear that should be on everyone’s mind before you start out on your venture. Life jackets and other personal floatation devices should be properly fitted. Lights, flares, first aid kit, radio, and other necessary equipment should be on the boat. Food and water should also be well-stocked. Never go fishing alone, plan to take some friends with you for companionship and safety reasons.

Swordfish are strong and muscular, be prepared to be disappointed. You can expect to make many swordfish fishing excursions and come home empty-handed. Be prepared to fight. This means you should remember to bring a fighting belt and stand up harness, as you will be having the fight of your life. Make sure to have safety lines that secure both you and your lines to the boat.  If not, you might just find yourself being pulled overboard.
Thinking about going swordfish fishing? This advice will help you to enjoy your adventure. With practice, eventually, you will land one of these amazing sea creatures.

4 Things You Should Know About Marlin Fishing

Fishing is a favorite pastime for many families. This generally means going to the local lake and tossing in a line. After a few hours, the kids are bored and are finished with their fishing for the day. However, there are many who fish for sport and competition or for commercial purposes. Often these people are on the hunt for big game, including Marlin. Here are 4 things you should know about Marlin Fishing:

  1. Targeting- There are several species of the marlin. However, the blue marlin is the one that is the most sought-after of them all. They can be found in ocean waters that have tropical temperatures. The Marlin species has the ability to change their body temperature to withstand cooler waters. However, this is usually when the season changes in the northern and southern hemisphere. The larger Marlins have been found in water that was slightly cooler than tropical temperatures as they have headed there for feeding purposes.
  2. Alutecnos Big Game Reel for Marlin Fishing

    The Right Equipment- Having the right equipment for harnessing in this magnificent, strong and agile beast from our oceans. This means having the right bait, hook, reel, rod holder, and lines that are made to hold the weight of this species, and withstand any sort of pressure that this beast can give out. It will definitely put up a ferocious fight to the finish. Either you or the fish will win. Fishing for Marlins is also tricky, be prepared to try to outfox this magnificent creature.

  3. Check the Weather- Make sure the weather forecast is nice for several days. You should have a clear blue sky and smooth seas. This makes a prime time for fishing for Marlins of any type. Fish for Marlins where there is an abundance of yellowfin tuna, shortbill spearfish, skipjack tuna, and mackerel.
  4. Bait- There are several different types of bait that you can use to catch the Marlin species. One of the most popular types of bait are the artificial lures. These lures are designed to flutter through the water, thus attracting the Marlin into thinking that it is easy food. Spinning lures that are bright and flashy in design will definitely attract them. Rigged natural bait and live bait is also used in some instances. Research local history of past Marlin catches in the area. Do some research into what type of live bait you can use if you do not wish to use artificial lures for the best results.

If you follow these four tips, you should be successful in your venture. The most important thing to remember is to play it safe. Be prepared to face disappointment as catching big game does take some practice and skill. However, you might just get lucky on your first attempt, who knows? Be patient and learn how to hone your Marlin fishing skills, eventually you will hook a whopper that you can surely brag about.

4 Things You Should Know About Ocean Tuna Fishing

Accurate Platinum Twindrag 2-Speed Reel for Bluefin Tuna Fishing

Many people like to eat tuna and other types of fish a couple of times a week. Often they will visit the supermarket and either choose fresh tuna or perhaps tuna that is in a can. Very few know just how much effort is put forth by the fishermen and canneries that help to bring this food to your table.

Here are 4 things you should know about ocean tuna fishing

  1. The species- Tuna is a saltwater fish that belongs to the Thunnini family, which also includes mackerel, bonitos, and 13 other species. This family of fish has been harvested for food for many years. In fact, ocean tuna fishing has been a food staple for those who fish for food or as a commercial fisherman for more than 42,000 years.
  2. Distinction- Overfishing has caused many species of ocean tuna to nearly become extinct. In particular, the southern bluefin tuna which can grow to approximately 8 feet and weigh in at 570 lbs. is now critically endangered.
  3. Several countries now impose regulations on how many ocean tuna can be caught per boat/per country in their territorial waters. Not only do they limit the amount that a fisherman can catch but also impose certain restrictions on how they actually catch the fish.
  4. Fish Farming- The traditional way of catching ocean tuna is changing rapidly. This is because of the depletion of the species. Nowadays, there are many countries that fish farm this species of ocean fish. The ocean tuna are raised in net pens and fed a diet of bait fish. Once the fish reaches a certain size, they are caught with a rod and reel, and then processed for human consumption
Blue Fever Release Gloves for Tuna Fishing

Ocean tuna fishing really went through the roof in numbers from the 1940’s to around 1960. Prior to these years, the amount of tuna processed for human consumption was around 3000 tons. During the years noted above, processing for commercial purposes rose to 1 million tons. Today, ocean tuna fishing for commercial purposes has hit around 3 million tons yearly.

The southern bluefin ocean tuna is one of the most sought after species for many countries, particularly Japan, who uses various species of tuna in their culinary dish known as sushi. This species of ocean tuna sets the record in tuna auctions held in that country. In 2012, bluefin tuna was auctioned off for an amazing $1247.00 a pound.

Remember the 4 things you should know about ocean tuna fishing the next time you go shopping and perhaps there will be some information on the can as to where the fish was actually caught, how, and by what fishermen/country.

About the Ocean Sunfish: The Largest Fish in the World

Very few anglers don’t have at least one fish story about the big one that got away, but if you want to talk really big fish it’s time to discuss the ocean sunfish. Also known as the mola mola or the common mola, the ocean sunfish is the largest fish in the world – specifically the heaviest bony fish. The average adult weighs 2,200 pounds, which means that when this big one gets away, it probably takes the boat with it.

What’s particularly interesting about these monster fish is that even though they’re huge any way you measure them, they live on a diet consisting mainly of jellyfish, salps, sea grass, and small sea creatures. That means mola mola have to eat a lot of what they eat. But you’ll probably be surprised that these giant fish start out tiny. Newly hatched sunfish larvae are just over 2 mm long, which isn’t even a tenth of an inch. The fry – which look like miniature puffer fish – will increase their bulk by a magnitude of millions before reaching adulthood.

Naturally, the biggest fish in the ocean doesn’t have a lot of predators. Orcas, sea lions, and sharks will occasionally take one down, 40 species of parasite call this fish home, and the ultimate predator, man, has been known to catch and consume the mola mola. However, outside of some Asian nations, the ocean sunfish is usually protected, though the species is frequently found in gillnets by accident. This may be because the docile ocean sunfish is naturally curious and is prone to investigating man made artifacts closely. Encounters with humans can play out a few ways. First, these gentle fish are a popular attraction for divers – mola mola will actually approach people in a friendly way, just to get a better look. Second, the ocean sunfish can damage boats and sustain injury in boating collisions caused by the fishes’ habit of sunning themselves close to the surface.

So far, we’ve shared two of this species’ names, but here are some others we like for their aptness. The Dutch, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Catalan, Italian, and Russian names for the mola mola all translate to moon fish because of the species’ unique rounded shape. In German, the ocean sunfish is sometimes referred to as the Schwimmender Kopf, which means swimming head. The Polish call it samogłów, meaning head alone. And indeed, it does resemble the head of a fish with fins sprouting from the top and bottom and a silly stumpy tail.

Pretty cool, right? If you ever have a chance to swim with these behemoths of the sea, don’t miss out!

Bullhead Catfish Facts

The bullhead catfish is the most common member of the catfish family and a very tasty fish. Mostly found in coastal rivers, ponds, and reservoirs, bullhead catfish don’t get as much attention as many of their catfish cousins because of their smaller size. But catching bullhead can be a lot of fun and they are easy to cook up whole in the fryer. That’s not all that’s compelling about this interesting fish, though. We’ve compiled some of our favorite bullhead catfish facts so you can learn more about them before you reel them in.

  • Bullheads are also called mud cats, horned pout, river cats, pollywogs, pollies, and barbottes, but they have numerous other nicknames.
  • When fully mature, bullhead catfish weigh less than one pound and have smooth skin without scales.
  • Bullheads are easiest to catch during the evening and at night when they come out into the now cooler waters in search of food.
  • Because bullhead catfish are easy to catch, new anglers can enjoy plenty of fast action with an edible payoff – often right from shore.
  • Most wildlife agencies have no creel limit for bullheads, and when creel limits do exist, they’re typically very generous.
  • For anglers not interested in eating bullheads, it’s worth noting that these small-scale catfish make great bait for those huge monster catfish.
  • These fish are hardy. Bullhead catfish can tolerate lower oxygen levels in water and higher levels of pollution much better than other fish. Bullheads can even stay alive out of water for several hours.
  • Bullhead bites hurt because of their strong jaws and rows of needle-like teeth. They can also sting by injecting poison through the barbs in their fins.
  • A bullhead catfish sting will hurt for several hours, but rubbing slime from the fish’s belly onto the sting can ease the pain.
  • Bullheads eat almost anything, from snails and insect larvae to vegetation. In a pinch, a bullhead catfish will even eat sewage. Philosopher Henry David Thoreau wrote that bullheads “will take any kind of bait, from angleworms to a piece of tomato can.”

The Earliest History of Fishing

With all of the modern gadgetry most anglers rely on these days, it can come as quite a shock that fishing has been around for about 40,000 years. Analysis performed on skeletal remains dating from that period in pre-history have shown that people were eating fish – and plenty of it. But that’s not the only evidence we have of humanity turning to the sea for sustenance. Discarded fish bones and shells piled high demonstrate that we’ve been eating fish for a long time. Cave paintings – the closest thing we have to a prehistoric postcard – clearly show people catching and eating fish. Fishing may have even played a role in readying humanity for the transition from a nomadic lifestyle to permanent settlements. In almost all known instances of early long-term human settlements, fishing provided the kind of access to food that made roaming unnecessary.

Early anglers had their own gadgets, of course. Harpoons and spearfishing implements were in widespread use during paleolithic times. Over 16,000 years ago, ancient anglers depicted images of people using harpoons in Cosquer cave in Southern France. As Neolithic culture and technology spread between 4,000 and 8,000 years ago, humanity began to develop some of the basic fishing tools that are still in use today. From 7500 to 3000 years ago, for example, Native Americans on the Pacific coast were using hook and line tackle and plant-derived chemical to make fish easier to catch. The Egyptians invented all kinds of fishing methods and tools – many of which they illustrated in tomb scenes, drawings, and scrolls – including metal hooks. There are even depictions of fishing that suggest it wasn’t just about eating, but also having fun!

There’s no real lesson to be found in the early history of fishing. We wanted to share it here because it’s exciting to think that when we head out onto the water, we’re following in the footsteps of our earliest ancestors… even when we’re just fishing for fun.

Fish Facts: The Grey Nurse Shark

Have you ever accidentally caught a grey nurse shark? Maybe not! It used to be quite common for anglers to reel in the occasional grey nurse shark, but now tagging and tracking efforts have shown that nurse shark numbers are declining. For anyone who has never seen a grey nurse shark, we suggest not letting this predator’s steely eye and fierce silhouette fool you into thinking it’s a maneater. For the most part, grey nurse sharks are actually sluggish and docile, with teeth meant for catching the relatively small fish and squid that they eat whole.

Why are their numbers dwindling? The nurse shark’s killer appearance can be intimidating, leading to these fish being hunted to near extinction in some areas. Nowadays, they’re protected in the U.S. and in some other parts of the world. Additionally, scientists theorize that pollution in the world’s oceans has led to lower birth rates and trawling may be further impacting population numbers.

Also known as the sand tiger shark, this species inhabits coastal waters around the globe so if you’re fated to encounter a shark in your lifetime, this may be the one! And if that happens, don’t panic. Just calmly move away in the direction opposite the shark’s direction, keeping it in sight until you can get out of the water. As disconcerting as a meeting with a grey nurse shark can be, keep in mind that this shark isn’t exactly happy to see you, either.

There is plenty that’s fascinating about this species. For example:

  • During gestation, the most developed sand tiger sharks will hunt and devour their siblings in the womb. This is called intrauterine cannibalism. At birth, two fully developed baby sharks emerge – one from each uterus – complete with teeth.
  • The grey nurse shark is the most widely kept shark in public aquariums because it not only tolerates captivity well and is generally passive, but also has those alarming looks that draw visitors to the shark tank.
  • This shark lacks eyelids – a fact that might contribute to its unsettling appearance.
  • The sand tiger shark is the only shark that has been observed gulping air and storing it in the stomach, allowing it to maintain near-neutral buoyancy which helps it to hunt motionlessly and quietly so as not to alert its prey.
  • Prey that’s too big can cause esophagus, heart, and liver damage in this species.
  • It is rare for a grey nurse shark to attack a human being without having first been provoked. And even then, sharks that are feeling aggressive are more likely to steal an angler’s bait than to bite the human.

So you tell us: Have you ever accidentally hooked a grey nurse shark?