By Captain Jay
Here we are, the Wahoo run is upon us. Every year at some point during the fall and winter Florida Keys fisherman get an always expected Wahoo migration. These torpedoes of the open ocean are one of my most favorited of all the Pelagic fishes. Extremely fast and amazingly cunning, a Wahoo can rip 250 yards of line in a single run, then turn right back toward you and be gone in a blink of an eye. Most of the time leaving you with jaw dropping excerpts like “WTF”. Believe me it happens a lot more than you can imagine. Many times I hear from other Captains how they had on a monster that dumped 3/4 of the reel only to shake the hook after such a screaming run, or they got it almost within gaff distance only to watch the tiger striped joker shake its head and leave you saying “Uhn Uh”. Even the best Captains can be made to look bad when it comes to Wahoo. Most Wahoo are lost during the first run or right next to the boat. Now this article you might think is going be all about how to capitalize on that awesome bite. Well, not so much my friend. That knowledge is sacred and is only shared amongst my clients who come down for this great time of unbelievable fishing.
During the Wahoo migration to the Lower Keys, many other species inhabit the offshore waters as well. As the bluewater cools down up north, many baitfish such as Sardines, Pilchards, Ballyhoo, and Flying Fish get pushed south to Keys waters. This push of bait in turn brings larger fish such as Bonitos (Little Tunny), SkipJack and Blackfin Tunas, Mahi Mahi, Sailfish, King Mackerel, Barracudas, and of course Wahoo who all come to feast on the bounty. It’s the full cycle of life from the baitfish all the way to the sharks that feed on the predators. During this spectacular time of fishing in Keys waters also come many cold fronts which seem to be back to back to back. Windy and sometimes sloppy conditions can make many days fishing for these lunkers a reel chore.
Timing is everything as Wahoo tend to like calmer days preferably with a light north to northeast wind. Now I say this, and some may want to dispute this with me, but I will tell you my largest Wahoo Ive ever caught as a Key West captain was 85 pounds and it was as rough as any day I’ve fished. But for the most bites I feel a light wind and almost a ripple on the surface is the best. Closer to the full moon as well is when the bite is hottest. A few days before and a few days after the full moon tend to be my favorite “best” times to fish for Wahoo. Depth is key as well. These fish can be found anywhere from 75 feet of water right up on the outside of the reef, to 400 or 500 feet deep miles offshore. Finding these fish can be tough sometimes but look for current edges and temperature rips which is usually a good sign of Wahoo country.
Now get down here ASAP for some great Wahoo action as the full moon has just shown its big ole face and the wind is light to moderate out of the north/northeast. It’s time for an awesome Wahoo bite, the next few days are going to be spectacular.