Yahoo for Wahoo!

John Cochrane
Yahoo for Wahoo!

If you have never experienced a wide open wahoo bite, now is your chance! Now and for the next several months, big wahoo congregate on the deepwater rocks along the continental shelf off our coast and the fishing can be phenomenal at times. The winter weather is the limiting factor for this type of fishing and the weather windows to be able to run 100 miles offshore this time of year can be very few and far between. A fast seaworthy boat is the ticket here to get out there and back in a short period of time. The weather rarely cooperates for more than about 24 hours, so there is a real need for speed to make it happen comfortably. We want to stress again Don't push your luck with a cold front; you will not like the results! Check and double check the weather and don't take chances. Wait until it is right and then get out there and back.

The wahoo bite is usually an early thing, so you will want to leave the night before and be at the rocks about daybreak. Be careful running at night and make sure your boat is in top condition. Winter time is no time to break down, so you want everything working on the boat. Make sure you have all your safety equipment and it's a good idea to include a SAT phone and life raft onboard. Know you fuel consumption and monitor it regularly. Bring plenty of food, towels and extra clothes. Four to six 20 to 30 lb class rods with two speed reels are perfect for these speedsters. Load them up with 30 to 50 lb. line and you are ready to go. Many of the fish this time of year are over 50 lbs, so you're going to have a lot of fun on this tackle.

Most of the best wahoo fishing is on the deep rocks near the Flower Garden Banks and to the east. Check your offshore chart or Hilton's Real- Time Navigator website to locate the best rocks. Fish the edges of these rocks in anywhere from 150 250 ft. of water looking for bait as you troll. Stay off the top of the shallower rocks or the barracudas may eat you up. Trolling speed can vary depending on what you are pulling. With swimming baits your speed is limited by the lure, but jets and conventional lures can be pulled at higher speeds to entice a bite. You can add a large trolling weight to keep your lure down at these speeds. The wahoo's first run can really scream off a lot of line. Make sure your drags are smooth to prevent line breakage and use safety lines to keep your rods in the boat. Remember wahoo tend to congregate in schools, so if you get a bite don't stop the boat right away, you may get another strike. Remember to keep your line tight. Wahoo like to shake their heads a lot and any slack in the line may allow the lure to come off.

Our favorite lures for wahoo are the Strike Pro Wahoo Hunters along with the big Rapala Magnums. These lures work best using very strong single hooks with heavy duty ball bearing swivels. It is important to make sure any lures you buy have heavy duty components and a wire harness through the lure body connecting everything together. Make sure you use stainless cable or wire for leader. Other wahoo lures include jets, conventional lures and ballyhoo. We like dark colors like Black/Purple, Black/Red, all Black, as well as Green/Yellow and Blue/Silver. Your local tackle shop should be able to fix you up with the right stuff.

One other thing about wahoo fishing when the bite is on–please do your part to conserve our resource. It's tempting to load the boat, but you will do us all a favor if you only keep a reasonable number of fish to eat and release the rest.

For more information about catching wahoo, big game fishing in the Gulf or rigging you boat, come by our Fox Yacht Sales office at Tops-N-Towers. We're always happy to answer your questions. At Fox we have an extensive inventory of brokerage boats as well as new CABO and Riviera Yachts and we will be glad to help you find a boat or sell yours. For more information call our Seabrook office at 281-291-0656 or call Capt John Cochrane direct at 409-739-4817.