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FIND A HAPPY MEDIUM
FOR WAHOO

By Nathan Bernhard

  Wahoo fishing is an experience that requires a perfect blend of skill, strategy, and the right equipment. I fish primarily out of Charleston, South Carolina, with Deep Water Legends. We fish the legendary Edisto Banks about 50 miles off the coast. What sets us apart from the majority of the local chasing wahoo is our slower-than-usual approach to trolling for them, a method distinct from the more common high-speed trolling practices.
  I am going to take you through the excitement of wahoo fishing, focusing on trolling speeds, preferred lures, and the indispensable role of technology.
  Unlike many wahoo anglers who engage in high-speed trolling, we have honed a technique that involves trolling slower than usual, clocking in at 7 to 9 mph or 6 to 8 knots. This pace is particularly effective when targeting wahoo in the Edisto Banks, where the conditions favor this unique approach. It is common to hear people trolling 12 to 16 mph (10 to 14 kts) and burning tons of fuel while wahoo fishing. Our approach will save you a boatload in fuel costs and your drag disks will thank you!
  Wahoo are pelagic fish and keep moving, so where you catch them today doesn’t necessarily mean they will be there tomorrow. They swim super-fast and have been recorded at speeds up to 60 mph. They use impressive speeds to chase down prey such as mahi, small tuna and bonita. They thrive in clear blue water and can often be found in water ranging in depths from 150 feet to 1,000 feet. They usually are in the top of the water column and that is why trolling is an especially effective way to catch them.
  While high-speed trolling is a great way to cover a lot of ground while searching for fish, it has a few drawbacks. First and foremost, it burns a ton of fuel, making a day on the water much more expensive than a normal trolling trip. Second, it is incredibly hard on your tackle and gear. Holding these large diving lures destroys drags and terminal tackle. Last, it eliminates the chance at catching some other desirable species like tuna and mahi. While tournament fishing I can justify keeping the other fish off the line but on a normal day, a tuna is a welcomed guest to my spread!
  The trolling spread we use is critical. We prefer a four-rod setup for most boats, although on a larger sportfish boat you can run an additional rod or two. Three Nomad DTX lures are deployed in our usual spread, each spaced 100 feet behind the other to prevent tangling.

A pair of large wahoo caught by the crew of the Deep Water Legends, including one that had its tale bitten off.
A pair of large wahoo caught by the crew of the Deep Water Legends, including one that had its tale bitten off.
Another nice wahoo caught during a trip.
Another nice wahoo caught during a trip.

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