written by Captain Ricky Wheeler
We just finished up our move through The Bahamas chasing wahoo aboard EUPHORIA, and it is something we enjoy doing year in and year out in every location we fish. From New Jersey to The Bahamas and throughout the Caribbean Islands, we tend to always try for wahoo fairly often, and we are successful in putting plenty in the box!
While a lot of people like to high speed troll 12-18 knots (which can be effective) for these toothy torpedos, we prefer to stick to the 6-8 knot regular trolling speeds for a few reasons. One, we burn far less fuel on a big Diesel boat at regular trolling speed then high speeds as well as the fact that 12-18 knots on a 60 foot Sportfish just isn't good for your engines longevity. Two, we manage to get a fair amount of by catch like mahi and billfish while we wahoo fish at 6-8 knots keeping the action busy. Finally, three, we have found it to be deadly on wahoo of all sizes and have managed to catch 3 over 100 pounds using this trolling technique.
With that, I wanted to share my 5 favorite lures for wahoo fishing that have worked for me time and time again in every location I have targeted wahoo.
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While this lure itself is one of my favorite all around lures for multiple species, it is absolutely deadly on wahoo. I like to rig it over a rigged ballyhoo or a belly strip bait with #9 wire and a Mustad 7691 hook. They hold up well to multiple wahoo bites which is important given the explosiveness on their attacks and those razor sharp rows of teeth. The Heavy Weight is 4 ounces as opposed to the regular Ilanders which are 2 ounces. That said either one gets bit, but the Heavy Weights seem to pull a little more in the water which is great for wahoo.
I rig this lure the same way as the Ilander, rigged over a J-Hook rigged ballyhoo or strip bait. This 6 ounce lure can take some abuse, and the flashy mylar skirt definitely seems to grab the attention of hungry wahoo. Its particularly effective on those choppier days as the 6 ounce head helps keep this bait in the water making them an easy target.
This is my favorite lure to put on a "down rod". I usually pull this on a flat line with a 48 ounce Inline Wahoo Trolling Weight (Get Yours Here) with a 20-foot long 200-300 pound test shock leader between the Wahoo Wrecker and the trolling weight. The best part about it being a great deep bait (down rod bait) is you don't have to worry about barracudas biting off the back half of your bait. My favorite color by far for this lure is the one pictured here, Black and Red!
#4 - Iland Lures Express
I use this lure quite often as a teaser behind my squid chain teasers for marlin fishing, and I have seen big wahoo explode on this lure so many times. Actually, my last 100+ pound wahoo ate the Express rigged with a spanish mackerel behind my squid chain teaser and we were able to switch it to a tuna bait we happened to have out and lucked out catching the wahoo on fluorocarbon leader. With that, we always rig up some of these lures for wahoo fishing rigged over a big ballyhoo or mullet. It may not get bit as much as the other lures, but when is does, its always a nice one!
A fairly new creation from Iland Lures, the Ilander All Mylar Lure isa cross of my two top favorites, the Ilander Lure and a Billy Bait Super Magnum Lure. Plenty of flash to grab the attention of wahoo and holds up well. Rig it the same way as the Ilander Heavy Weight Lure and you're good to go.
Honorable Mention - Iland Sea Star Lures
I had to throw in an honorable mention for this lure as it has accounted for bites from a lot of fish. It os a perfect mid size lure that stays in the water well and leaves a nice smoke trail making it easier for hungry pelagics like wahoo to track. Rig it over a medium to large ballyhoo and game on!
In case you were wondering how to make a pin rig for rigging these lures over ballyhoo or strip baits (in particular all of them except for the Wahoo Wrecker, you can see how to make a pin rig via my YouTube video here: