Deep Water Speedsters

Late November and into December is the time of year when the big wahoo tournaments start to kick off. Most are held in the Bahamas, but that doesn’t mean that we anglers here in Florida are going to be shut out.

The thing you need to understand—whether you’re fishing in Florida or the Bahamas—is that you need to be able to run to where the fish are. Wahoo migrate, moving up and down the banks and ridges of the Atlantic Ocean. The trick is finding which bank or ridge they may be on the morning you’re out looking for them.

I’m no expert when it comes to this type of fishing, but there are a couple of things I’ve noticed when targeting wahoo. Wind direction is important. If you go to Bimini and the wind is easterly or northeasterly, you might want to head north so you can fish down sea from the northeast to the southwest, or north to south, depending on which angle gives you the best opportunity for high-speed trolls.

Trolling Tactics

I learned a lot of my wahoo trolling tactics from a very successful angler, Matty Tambor. The way he likes to go about his wahoo fishing is to use four rods and high-speed troll with lures.

What Matty does is run a 30-foot leader with a leaded lure with a wire trace and heavy 300- to 400-pound swivels. Then he puts out cigar weights on each lure, varying the weights so the lures run at different depths and distances from the boat.

The lure furthest from the boat, the left long, for example, would have an 8-ounce weight on it. The right long would be 50 feet closer to the boat and have maybe a 12-ounce weight on it. It would be the same lure as the left long, perhaps a black and purple or red and black colored lure.

The short left lure would have 1½ pounds of weight on it, be 50 feet closer than the right long and have a different colored lure than the two long lines. The last line, the right short, would carry about two pounds of weight, be 50 feet closer than the left short and have the same color lure.

The whole idea of staggering weights and distances when high-speed trolling is to help when you make high-speed turns. Sometimes those turns can be as fast as 15 knots, and you don’t want your lines getting tangled every time you do that.

Covering ground is the way to catch wahoo, and the faster you’re trolling, the better chance you have of covering more ground and enticing these speedy fish. Another thing is to use big hooks. I’m talking something in the range of 10/0 or 12/0.

Most of the time, when a wahoo strikes, he does it by coming from under the boat and hitting the lure going away. You’ve got to have significant drag on the line or they’ll spool you in a matter of seconds. But, at the same time he hits, you have to be able to back down off the drag a little bit so you don’t tear the hooks out of him because he’s going one way and the boat is going another.

Tight Lines and Good Fishing,
Captain Rick Murphy