Fish On, Fish Port flat line……”Zzzzzzzzzzzz,” says one thing…..Wahoo! Nothing screams line faster out of an 80 wide than a wahoo. These lightning bursts of screaming line are an indication of a big wahoo. Once the reel seems to sing a slower song, comes the anguish of reeling against a 14-17 knot troll speed. After what seems a muscle burning workout, the iridescent colors of this tiger-striped fish become evident with its cobalt blues, shimmering silver, and blue-black stripes, as it nears the stern of the boat. Out comes the gaff and it strikes its mark. Another gaff! Quick! Another gaff! The second gaff hits its mark bringing the beast aboard. A lit up razor sharp thrashing Ginsu knife looks at its captors—all 80 plus pounds of him.
Fish on, fish on! Starboard flat! Another tell-tale fish, another wahoo. It appears as though the day will keep its pace, minute after minute, until the sun rises a bit above the horizon. You see, early morning and late are my favorite times for wahoo!
Just about any time of year, wahoo can hit your spread of fast trolled lures or painfully slow live baits. Troll off the 100-200 foot drops and you are in place for this speedster off most Bahamian Islands. Cay Sal and Bimini are great corridors as they are rich with bait, warmed by the current of the stream, and have an ideal bottom bathymetry that this fish calls home.
The best times to fish for wahoo are October through the winter months, and then again in May and June, which can be exceptional.
My favorite set up is three 80 wides with 80b line to an 8’ traditional bimini twist, a 400b swivel to a 12’ leader of 200-300lbs, direct to another swivel attached to an 8’ 400b ca-ble, to the double offset hooked lure with up and side facing 11/0 razor sharp hooks. The skirt can be any combination of staggering colors—purple/silver, blue/ white, or-ange/white, pink/blue, green/black or, my all time favorite blaze, orange/blaze. Sine I hunt for these fish, I follow my hunting traditions.
On the flat port and starboard lines I place a 48 oz trolling cable sinker. My center or shotgun, I leave the lure only. I stagger the lines out 200-250 feet on the port and starboard, and my shotgun is at 275-300 feet. If the fish are on a hot bite, I will place anoth-er 80 wide rigged like above to a marauder plug, right in the wash, 30-50 feet back.
With this set up you can zig-zag or make turns without worrying about tangles. Tangles can arise from multiple fish on, so it is imperative you keep your trolling speed constant and surf the fish while you bring them in.
Many use electrics for this fishing, but, personally, I prefer to feel and fight the fish rather than the electric having all the fun and fatigued muscles. You have not experienced true big wahoo fishing unless you go home with burning, aching muscles!
Next month, the wind changes and so does the wahoo it brings. Along the Western Ba-hamian waters, November and December are synonymous with the Bimini Big Game Club Wahoo Shootout and a host of other tournaments. These money tournaments at-tract big crowds from the Keys to the Northern Florida coast and beyond. Accommoda-tions during these tournaments sell out quickly, so reserving them well in advance is a must. There are excellent locations to stay, like the Bimini Big Game Club, Bimini Sands, Resorts World Bimini, and a variety of other smaller resorts catering to anglers and their boats.
Fishing Bimini requires a valid US Passport and checkin at either the Big Game Club or at the airport. Fishing Cay Sal is tricky as the closet check-in point is Cat Cay, making the run there and back to check out, provided you have the fuel.
Fishing Cay Sal from the Keys is illegal on both Bahamian Laws and US Laws. Many do it, until their boat gets confiscated and they end up in a Bahamian jail--no wahoo is worth it! There are other crafty ways to fish Cay Sal’s waters, but realize the safest and legal is a proper check-in. Carry enough fuel in bladders and check out. Legally!
With the wahoo taking up early morning and late afternoon, this leaves ample time to fish for other species at this time of year. The snapper, both yellowtail and mutton, are available on the reef in 50-120 feet of water. Good current is essential for yellowtail, as is plenty of chum. If you are traveling from South Florida, bring enough frozen chum as it is had at a premium rate in the Bahamas.
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