This time of year everything seems to slow down, except Wahoo that is. Wahoo are one of the fastest fish in the sea. Mostly a solitaire fish, Wahoo can be found hunting the east coast ledges alone or in small groups of two or three fish. The main targets are schools of bait fish pushed up from the depths of underwater cliff faces. In the Gulf they can be found marauding bait schools around offshore oil rigs and sea mounts.
So why do we care about Wahoo? Because they are delicious and decently sized which equals more meat! `Hoos as large as 8ft in length and 183lbs have been recorded; that is a lot of Sushi my friend. The Hawaiian word for Wahoo is Ono which means, “good to eat”. `Hoos are fast, as fast as 60 mph in short bursts. The initial run of a monster Wahoo is like a big King on steroids.
Wahoo are generally trolled with lures like plugs, speedheads, and various skirts rigged with bait.
- Plugs are used a lot on the Louisiana delta but can also be used anywhere you need the lure to dive down to clean saltwater where the fish are and wiggle like crazy. Normally slow trolled 5-8 knots in areas of dirty or fresh water layers, such as river outflows.
- Bullethead or jethead lures are used for high speed open water trolling at 10-15 knots. At that speed large weights in the 40oz range need to be used to get down to depth. Jetheads have holes drilled in the head which causes a trail of bubbles that catch the `Hoos attention.
- Skirts are another popular spread option often rigged with horse Ballyhoo and daisy chained in combination with teaser birds or a seawitch. Although Wahoo can be caught at anytime of day they are famous for the action they produce in low light conditions like those at dusk and dawn. Sound like another large predator?
Wahoo and sharks are mortal enemies. One can imagine a large shark being frustrated as an Ono burns circles around him while laughing. Many times a shark will exact vengeance on a `Hoo when it is hooked by an angler. You just landed what you thought was the biggest Ono you have ever seen only to have a big Bull shark take half of it leaving you with half of the biggest Wahoo you ever saw.
Weather is always a big factor when chasing Wahoo offshore not just for they safety concerns but also merely for the comfort factor; nobody likes rough seas. And make sure you have all your safety gear and for the love of Neptune file a float plan.
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