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THE WAHOO NEWS
The Wahoo is a loner, a type of pelagic fish which lives in small groups of 2 to 6 fish and can often be found traveling and feeding alone.Wahoo tend to congregate around or near to floating objects or around bottom structures and abnormalities such as upwellingís, ledges, reefs, shelves and wrecks where food sources are abundant. Wahoo are found in the tropical and subtropical waters of both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.Wahoo will normally migrate toward cooler waters during the warmer summer seasons as the water temperatures begin to rise. On the Pacific coasts of Panama, Costa Rica and the Baja concentrations of Wahoo can be found during the summer season which coincides with the rainy season and cooler water temperatures. Wahoo have also been known to hang around the mouths of rivers and inlets waiting for an easy meal during the tidal change.The Wahoo is reputed to be one of the fastest fish in the sea. It can reach speeds of 45 to 50 miles per hour on the strike and strip several hundred yards of line from a reel in just a few seconds.The Wahoo can grow to well over 100 pounds. The current Wahoo All Tackle World Record was set in 2005 in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico with a Wahoo weighing in at 184 pounds.
Wahoo actively feed at dusk and at dawn, although the right location, conditions, bait and angling tactics can bring on a ferocious Wahoo strike at anytime of the day. The Wahoo feed on flying fish, ballyhoo, pilchards, shad, squid, small mackerel and tuna. High speed trolling is the most popular way of fishing for Wahoo. Experienced anglers targeting Wahoo will begin their trolling speed at or above 10 knots and speeds of 18 knots are not uncommon. Of course trolling at high speeds requires special tackle and baiting techniques. To insure the Wahoo hook up from the onset most captains will opt for heavier tackle over the light tackle setups.Most light tackle outfits just canít stand up to the pure shock and awe of a 50 pound Wahoo strike at an 18 knot trolling speed. Most captains and anglers will tell you that the trolling speed is one of the most important factors when fishing for Wahoo. High speed trolling and live bait fishing mix about as well as oil and water. Live bait cannot survive for very long when trolled at high speeds. Therefore rigged dead baits, strip baits and artificial lures are the primary baits of choice for Wahoo fishing. Some of the more popular artificial lures are the heavier deep running Rapalaís, Yo-Zuriís and the skirted Jet Head lures. The lure color is more dependent upon the region, water clarity and the indigenous baitfish than anything else.Although blue, green, yellow and purple on any combination tend to work well. Adding a flash or sparkle with a metallic colored skirt can also tip the scales in the anglers favor.
There are several additional important factors that must be considered when rigging for high speed trolling. Like the challenge of not skipping the baits and keeping them below the surface of the water while trolling at higher speeds. To alleviate the problem, experienced anglers and mates will add a heavy cigar sinker rigged a couple of yards ahead of the leader. The weight and location of the cigar sinker will help to keep the lure or dead bait below the water surface at the higher trolling speeds. Another serious consideration is the type of leader material that will be used. The amount of shock exerted on the leader by an average size 45 pound Wahoo traveling at 40 mph and striking bait that is moving at 18 knots, is tremendous. Now consider bigger fish in the 80 to 100 pound class, as the weight and speed of the attacking Wahoo increases, so does the initial shock on the leader. For this reason adding a 10 to 15 foot length of 400 lb shock leader is not uncommon. Any other type of terminal tackle being used in the rigging should also be of the heavier class. Lastly is the tippet or lure leader which is used to attach the bait to the shock leader. Wahoo are toothy creatures and they can chew through just about any type of leader material other than metal. Thatís why youíve got to use a metal leader material when rigging the tippet.When using wire leader a properly twisted 3 to 4 foot piece of #10 or heavier wire leader will do the trick.
Be sure to recheck the wire leader closely for kinks or damage after each catch or furious strike. A damaged wire leader fail quickly when place under the stress of a charging Wahoo running at 50 mph. Braided wire or stainless steel cable are safer and really the better choices for metal leader material if you are not an expert at building and twisting wire leaders. For high speed trolling you will need a heavy action rod of at least 6 feet. The amount of drag applied to the reel will vary at higher speeds. The normal amount of drag applied to a reel spooled with 80 lb line trolling at 18 knots should be around 22 pounds. If you apply that much drag to 30 or 50 lb line the rig will likely fail under the stress of a Wahoo strike. Thatís not to say that you canít be successful at catching Wahoo in the lighter line classes. It simply means that if you use lighter line you will need to use less drag and be much better with your boat handling techniques on the initial hook up with a Big Ol Hoo! Remember to Fish Panama, Come on down! Weíll Hook You Up!