Notes from the Island Fishmonger

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Wahoo it is in 2021!

It has been a year for the history books that’s for sure. Closedowns, masks, economy struggles and a split political country. Our hearts go out to those who have lost someone due to this pandemic. I say out with 2020 and into a new year we go!

Seared Wahoo special at Big Water Fish Market
Seared Wahoo special at Big Water Fish Market

WAHOOOO! Wahoo is a word that we all used to celebrate. I’m actually going to celebrate this New Year’s Eve with a local fish called Wahoo. This will be the perfect to start the year off right.

Wahoo is also called an Ono or Pacific Kingfish. The Wahoo is found worldwide in tropical warm waters. It can reach up to 100 pounds! The average Wahoo is about 30 pounds and it’s reported that they can live up to 5 or 6 years. It’s back is a brilliant electric blue with bright blue tiger stripes blending into the belly. The Wahoo is on every fisherman’s bucket list as it is one of the fastest fishes in the sea and when hooked it can peel off several feet of fishing line in seconds. It is reported that the Wahoo can swim 45-50 miles per hour…hence its name.

Wahoo are an important game fish caught off southern Florida, Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and the South Pacific and is greatly appreciated in Hawaii where it’s called Ono. The majority of wahoo is caught in Hawaii. However, the Wahoo sold at Big Water Fish Market is primarily caught in the Gulf of Mexico. Although the fish is found worldwide in tropical warm seas, it is not abundant and thus fresh supplies are limited. Typically, the public will have to shop in a true fish market to find Wahoo. It is very rare or unlikely for a grocery store to chain to have Wahoo.

The Wahoo is a versatile cooking fish with a delicate texture and mild flavor. Personally, it’s my favorite and I enjoy eating it sashimi style (raw). Uncooked, the meat is soft and melts in your mouth. I often wonder why you don’t see Wahoo in a sushi restaurant but maybe that’s because of its lack of availability. Other cooking options would include searing, poaching or grilling. When grilling, marinating will help soften the texture and is a good compliment to Wahoo’s mild flavor. Do not overcook the fish as it can become dry.

Wahoo is a lean protein option and its fat content is lower than a Tuna or a Mackerel. It also has a high content of the Omega3 fatty acid that our bodies need. It’s a great option for those of us who gained the Covid 15 pounds during quarantine and have made a New Year’s Resolution to eat healthier and lose weight. Wahoo is a great option for that goal.

We all hope for a better 2021. We can all be safe here in Florida by supporting our local businesses as we are all in this together. So, let’s wear our masks, get plenty of Vitamin C, D & Omega3 to help our immune systems, get our vaccines, support the local economy, and eat lots of fish.

Happy New Year!

Live Well…Eat Fish!!

Scott Dolan

Big Water Fish Market

6641 Midnight Pass Road, Siesta Key

Photo caption:

#1 Seared Wahoo special at Big Water Fish Market.

#2 Legendary Siesta Key fisherman “Spider-Man” and Jason & Tom Boyle of SO/NAR Fishing Charters bask in their big haul. Wahoo are hanging to Spider-Man’s right.

Scott Dolan
Author: Scott Dolan

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