Fast and Furious

A Fine Kettle of Fishin'

Ever spoken to a captain who didn't get excited about landing a wahoo? Me neither. Wahoo strikes and runs are breathtaking, and at the table, they're a connoisseur's delight. Yet few charter captains or anglers target them. Why? Wahoo are loners, not schooling fish. This makes it difficult to consistently locate them and produce hookups. However, when you're trolling for tuna and marlin, you're usually in wahoo territory. Want to add these fighters to your repertoire? Next time you're offshore, keep these tips in mind.

• Wahoo will attack just about any size bait, but color makes a difference. Of all the wahoo I've caught, 75 percent were nabbed on black/purple or black/red combinations. As the sun rises in the sky, you probably lighten your dark-colored spreads. Instead, keep one darkie out to intrigue a wahoo, regardless of light conditions.

• Get that dark lure down. The use of downriggers, planers, or wire line with weight running at 20 to 30 feet below the surface produces wahoo. No action? Turn up the gain on your fishfinder and locate a thermocline. Run the deep lines just above or below the break.

• Set up your wahoo rod (30- to 50-pound gear is appropriate) with two to four feet of 80- to 100-pound steel leader. Although wahoo teeth will chew through mono in a heartbeat, line abrasion from the body of the fish is not an issue. Accordingly, if you're using a large artificial lure where teeth won't reach the leader, the wire can be eliminated.

• Sometimes, even wahoo like to hit at the surface; when the deep line is a no-go, try pulling a small/medium black bird trailing a rigged ballyhoo skirted with dark colors.