An amazing fish species and a popular fishing exclamation at the same time, “Wahoo” is the name of a fish that all offshore anglers love to hook up to. Let’s talk about some tactics on how to catch more Wahoo on your next offshore session.
These speedsters of the deep have been on the top of offshore anglers’ hit list even before Ernest Hemmingway started writing about fishing stories in his novels. Wahoo has the ability to swim at least 95 kph and due to their awesome speed, anglers and guides have learned to practice speed trolling for more hook ups. Trolling speeds from 14 to 18 knots are commonplace but slow trolling baits and lures are still effective depending on the conditions around your angling location.
About Wahoo – ACANTHOCYBIUM SOLANDRI
Akin to their speedy nature, Wahoo grow fast, live fast and have a short life span of up to 9 years at max. Females are known to reach sexual maturity at 100cm while males reach maturity at 85cm. Wahoo spawn year round and have multiple spawning sessions per year. The bigger specimen around 30 – 50kg fish aren’t much of the schooling kind and usually travel solitarily or in small groups of 3 fish but the smaller fish do school and feed in big groups. They feed voraciously on squid and other fish species and are known to use their razor sharp teeth and blazing fast speed to cut up fish bigger than themselves to consume.
Wahoo is a pelagic species found in all the world’s tropical and subtropical waters, like the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Vanuatu is lucky to have both amazing quantity and quality of this fish. They are also known as the Pacific kingfish as it is closely related to the King Mackerels.
Usually caught when trolling for billfish, Wahoo frequent the subsurface world hunting for squid and other baitfish.
Remember, Wahoo teeth are extremely sharp and when they come in contact with monofilament or fluorocarbon, no matter how thick they are, say goodbye to your lure.
Most often caught as by-catch when angling for bigger targets like Marlin and other Billfish, you’ll soon come to realize that any trolling outfit that you currently have are well-suited to fishing for Wahoo. Obviously, the smaller 16 and 20 overhead outfits will work well but will sometimes meet some challenges in terms of line capacity when hooked up to bigger specimens. 30 to 50 wide outfits does the trick well and can still be heaps of fun on stand up when you have a gimbal on. Wire leaders are a good insurance against getting bitten off. Remember, Wahoo teeth are extremely sharp and when they come in contact with monofilament or fluorocarbon, no matter how thick they are, say goodbye to your lure.
Basically, from your braid or main line, a bimini twist to double your main line is needed, then loop to loop connection with your leader of choice may it be 80 or 100lb test of about 3 meters in length. A ball bearing swivel with snap will then be attached to your leader which will be clipped directly onto a wire leader of around 2 feet in length.
Wahoo High Speed Trolling
Whether utilizing a 4 or 6-lure spread, speed is the key. Ideally, a speed of 12 – 14 knots to troll and a max of 18 knots when using certain lures. Vary the speed you are trolling until you get a bite. It is no use to go slower than 12 knots when high speed trolling. Lures like the Halco Max and the Yozuri Bonita work great and they are heaps more durable than trolling skirts, which take a tough beating after getting bit by razor sharp Wahoo jaws.
It makes more sense to troll for multiple species rather than trying to target specific species, so mixing up skirts in your spread can be highly effective. Bullet head skirts along with plunger head skirts like the Al’lures687 bullet and fat plunger work really well and the marlin love them too! Colors are usually of personal preference but sometimes matter. Mix them up and adjust your spread when you get hits on a certain color.
Wahoo Slow Trolling
Trolling from the 8 – 10 knot range can also be effective. Fresh ballyhoo or flying fish rigged with double J-hooks behind a resin head and rubber skirt combo spells success any day. A slow and consistent troll is needed to take advantage of the scent and natural swimming action of the fresh baitfish. Add a Rapala X-rap Magnum in your spread to cover the deeper section of the water column and you should be good to go.
Although having the lease chance of success, casting for Wahoo is extremely fun. You’ll encounter castable Wahoo in a feeding frenzy with bait balled up on the surface. Keep your eyes open for diving birds and surface boiling. You’ll either find tuna aggressively feeding or a mixed bag of fish in a feeding frenzy. Get your popping gear ready and work your plugs fast and furious.
Luckily for us here in Ocean Blue Fishing Vanuatu, we have a healthy population of these speedsters and encounter them a lot when hunting for Big Marlin. So get in touch with us if you want to hook up to not only Wahoo, but other monsters of the deep or plan a Vanuatu fishing trip for you and your mates.