Inhabiting temperate waters, the weeklies, or juveniles are often found congregated near structure in small to mid-size schools. It was believed that adults were more solitary and traveled alone or in limited numbers, but they actually are in schools and when you catch one, you can typically back track to get more.
When deep sea fishing Florida Keys waters, nothing compares to the excitement of seeing a Yahoo chase your bait at almost blinding speed. With speeds of 60 – 70 miles per hour, these fish race under and around your boat, making it almost impossible to follow their movement with the naked eye.
It obviously takes serious skill and fishing equipment to find, and successfully reel in one of these lightning fast torpedoes. Going it alone, without having the right equipment or know how, are often the biggest mistakes fishermen make when planning a Yahoo fishing trip.
They've been seen lying motionless over structure in large groups as shallow as 100 feet depth, and they've been caught when specifically targeting other species of fish such as tuna and dorado. According to the International Game Fish Association, the largest hooked Yahoo on record weighed in at a whopping 158.5 pounds.
As one of the fastest pelagic Florida Keys fish, this species is undoubtedly one of the more formidable fighters to catch. Not only does Yahoo speed affect a sport fishing enthusiasts ability to catch one, the unique quality of their mouth and jaw compounds the problem.
They will often bite the prey just before the tail to disable it, and then slice and dice as they swim through the bait fish. They eat a variety of fish including sardines, mackerel and squid, and are often caught between 100 and 300 feet of water.
With lightning speed they run down their prey, and they've been seen jumping high into the air after bait fish desperately trying to escape the slick torpedo racing after them. Unlike sailfish, dorado, and some other popular pelagic species, they are not normally aerial fighters when caught.
Instead, their modus operandi is to make a fast run or two ripping off several hundred yards of line. They'll then turn, making a complete 180 and race back at the boat, shaking their heads violently in an attempt to work the hook loose.
Many anglers have been severely injured or maimed because of these razor sharp teeth, which represent a serious hazard to anyone or anything near them. Fingers and hands have been sliced off, serious cuts have been inflicted, and if the fish targets your bait or lure as you're bringing it out of the water, they can jump up after it, biting and maiming the anglers in the boat.
Make sure you bring the fish up to the side of the boat, not the back, and have the ship's mate or a fellow angler grab the gaff and hook the Yahoo. Carefully grab the long wire leader keeping the line tight, so it doesn't work loose and injure those on board.
If you're Florida Keys sport fishing, the best times for this species are from dawn to early morning, and then again late afternoon to near sunset, especially on an outgoing tide. Unlike live or dead bait, lures can withstand the force of the water at these higher Yahoo trolling speeds.
Plugs and heavy cigar sinkers set a few yards in front of the wire leader get the lines down deeper, so they stay below the wake. The motion of the Yahoo trolling lures helps to draw the much deeper fish up and into attack mode.
Once you're rigged up, you then move your boat in a straight line, high speed trolling for Yahoo at 14 – 20 knots. By making zigzag turns as you go, you'll help drop the lines and Yahoo fishing lures to their different depths over the structure.
You can also use dead or live bait fish such as pilchard, ballyhoo and mullet, and then your Yahoo trolling speed will be between 8 – 12 knots. You'll also want to add on heavier weight to your shorter lines so some bait fish can go deeper giving you the opportunity to target Yahoo at different levels.
Hovering near flotsam or over structure, use heavy wire leaders and a combination of colored jigs. Then drop to about 80 feet and rapidly pull the line and jig up to entice them into frenzied feeding action.
You'll maximize your results by stacking 3 different species of bait fish at varying depths of about 100 foot on one down rigger. One of the important aspects of angling for this aggressive species is to use a variety of combinations when deep sea fishing Florida Keys waters.
Anglers who prefer high speed trolling for Yahoo know however that lures are more hassle-free, and work better than bait simply because they withstand the punishment. By placing one of these lures in front of a horse ballyhoo teaser bait or a spoon or mullet then on different planers, you can adjust your depth.
Successful Day Florida Keys Yahoo Fishing Courtesy of NOAA/NFS/SE FSC Pascagoula Laboratory; Collection of Brandi Noble, NOAA/NFS/SE FSC If you cast a line or catch and release, you need a fishing license.
Youth under 16 years of age (also exempt from federal duck stamp requirements). Florida's residents certified as totally and permanently disabled who possess a Florida Resident Disabled Person's Hunting and Fishing License.
Individuals who are observing or filming someone else who is fishing or hunting and who are not assisting (baiting hooks, reeling, setting decoys, calling birds, etc.) Disabled veterans or active or reserve duty military service members and their immediate family members and assistants, who are participating in a permitted outdoor recreational event, for which the Commission has issued a Military/Disabled Veteran Event License Exemption Permit to the event organizer.
A fishpond is a man-made pond constructed for the primary purpose of fishing, entirely within the property lines of the owner and with no surface water connection to public waters. Individuals who possess a Resident Freshwater Commercial Fishing License.
Florida's residents who are fishing for mullet in fresh water who hold valid Florida resident freshwater fishing license. Florida's residents saltwater fishing from land or a structure fixed to land who have been determined eligible for the food stamp, temporary cash assistance, or Medicaid Program by the Department of Children and Families (DCF).
Proof of identification and a benefit issuance or program identification card issued by DCF or the Agency for Health Care Administration must be in possession when fishing. Florida's residents saltwater fishing with live or natural bait, using poles or lines that are not equipped with a fishing -line-retrieval mechanism, for noncommercial purposes in their home county (does not include fish management areas within the home county).
The naming conventions for sailfish, swordfish, red snapper and yellowtail are undeniably accurate, although the widely recognized king mackerel is not emperor of the tribe Scomberomorini. With unmistakable iridescent stripes and scissor-like jaws lined with serrated teeth sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, the fastest and largest mackerel found in the Atlantic Ocean is an imperial predator unlike any other.
Shaped like a torpedo, a Yahoo’s elongated body is covered with small, barely visible scales that help the fish swim with minimal resistance underwater. They also have the supernatural ability to exude a special slime coat to reduce friction when charging forage at highway speed.
Camouflaged in a tiger striped pattern highlighted by vibrant hues of silver, purple, blue and bronze, from above or below Yahoo are silent hunters that magically melt into their surroundings leaving unsuspecting prey no chance of escaping their deadly attacks. They know when an easy kill presents itself and when it makes sense to hunt, capitalizing on low light conditions and strong currents to lean the odds in their favor.
These fish have also displayed much faster growth rates than anglers might believe, with Yahoo reaching sexual maturity between one and two years of age. Though Yahoo can be caught virtually any day of the year around the state’s expansive coastline and throughout The Bahamas, certain areas are more likely to produce these prized fish than others.
It can be argued that the waters outside the Boynton Beach Inlet with broken reef formations and an array of artificial wreck systems provide the most prolific territory for taking ‘Hui in the entire state. Captain Chris Remain (lemieuxfishingcharters.com) charters among the best planer fishermen in the state, though he’s a proponent of live baiting given ideal conditions.
When baits are trapped on the surface with leader hanging out of view, Yahoo charge from below at full throttle with the sole intention of severing their prey in half. If you’re not participating in a tournament, or you are interested in weighing a fish for the meat division, then a short section of tooth-proof leader material gives kite fishermen the slight edge needed with the razor gang.
With reports of toothy critters wiping out sailfish kite spreads, Remain rigs live baits with a 6/0 J-hook in the shoulder and smaller stinger hook attached with a short length of single-strand wire. During the coming months' Yahoo congregate in the Florida Keys to spawn and schools of fish are focused largely on feeding and reproducing.
Off Florida ’s First Coast, anglers who fight the cold weather and rough seas common to the winter months find fast action 50 or more miles offshore when temperature breaks pass over notable changes in seafloor contour. It’s not a sheer wall like the stretches of aggressive bottom we target across the Bahamian archipelago, but it’s significant enough to attract forage and predators in an otherwise desolate expanse of open water.
With the possibility of hooking fish approaching the triple-digit class, high speed trolling tactics are largely similar to heavy-duty exploits in the islands. Though you can never troll too fast for Yahoo, the major benefit of high speeding is that the approach allows anglers to cover a lot more water than they would be able to if dragging natural baits.
Taking this fact into consideration, it stands to reason that the more promising territory you pull your baits through, the more likely you are to cross paths with the target species. For years, we’ve been told that outgoing tide presents the absolute best time to target Yahoo wherever they roam, as it effectively pulls bait fish from the safety of shallows to deeper water.
Periods with falling or stabilizing pressure near full and new moons theoretically stack the odds in your favor, but there are a number of factors to take into consideration when chasing the most elusive of all mackerels. Sure, there are peak seasons and optimal fishing times, but anyone who invests enough hours in charting clean blue water knows that Yahoo are available from sunup to sundown around the entire perimeter of the state and during every month of the year.
For this reason, Yahoo wizards need to stay sharp in order to maximize every available encounter because with these hard-hitting fighters, a single fish can transform you from zero to hero. When fishing in the islands I don’t worry about the moon phase as much and instead orchestrate trips around work schedules and comfortable crossing conditions.
Burning fuel is fun when it isn’t your bill, but after a few bites it’s a good idea to incorporate horse ballyhoo, split-tail mullet and handcrafted strip baits pulled at slower speeds. This works great in Florida where the ledges are long and less defined, but in The Bahamas the edge is sharp and the difference between 60 and 600 feet could literally be a few boat lengths.
Few fish generate the excitement level of a Yahoo with vivid stripes and regardless of location or preferred tactics you might limit out when you least expect it and strikeout when you think the bite will be on fire. Schools dolphin may give you a second chance and snake kings are often willing to play, but these nomadic hunters typically provide a solitary shot for success.
Although consistently finding and fooling brilliant game fish is enjoyable in its own right, another reward comes at the end of the day when you finally get a chance to sample the fruits of your labor. Sign-up to receive our monthly newsletter with interesting blogs about fishing and boating.