High-speed trolling is the ticket for lowcountry anglers looking for some offshore thrills, and the wahoo are playing along willingly. Maintaining the proper speed, finding schools of baitfish, and using the right combination of planers and lures are all factors in getting and staying on the fish.
Jeremy Burnham of Mt. Pleasant has caught some big wahoo lately, and he said the abundance of wahoo is as good as it gets. “The wahoo are biting just like they bite in the early spring. This time of year is a lot like the spring as far as how the wahoo are biting, and in how we are catching them. We’ve caught two wahoo over 95 pounds in the past week, and we’ve caught plenty more in the 30 to 65 pound range,” Burnham said.
Burnham (843-881-6900), of Atlantic Game and Tackle, said finding baitfish on your depthfinder is the first part of the puzzle, and he added that anglers should look for the bait to be in the middle of the water column. “If you’re in 100 feet of water, you want to see schools of bait in the 50 foot depth. If it’s 200 feet deep, you want to troll where the baitfish is at the 100 foot mark. You want the bait schools to be big enough to show red and yellow on your electronics,” he said.
Once he finds the bait, Burnham hooks up a combination of a frozen 10-inch ballyhoo and either a 6-inch Seawitch or an 8-inch Iland Sea Star skirt. “Pink is a hot color right now. The skirt fits right over the face of the ballyhoo,” he said. “We’re using planers, so you don’t want to use baits that are any heavier than this, or they will trigger the planers on their own.”
Aside from finding the bait and trolling at the right speed, anglers need to make sure they have their baits running at the correct depth. “You don’t need your bait to be at the same depth as the baitfish. Wahoo are going to notice them from a good ways off, and they won’t hesitate to come up to smash them,” Burnham said.
This time of year, I find that keeping the bait running about 30 to 40 feet deep keeps the wahoo coming around,” said Burnham. “With the size and weight of these lures, the planers, and the speed we’re running at, you need to let out about 100 feet of line. The depth of the lures will be about equal to a third of the distance of your line,” he said.
Burnham said the wahoo should continue biting for the next couple of months. “It’s really good right now, and it should stay just as good as long as the weather doesn’t get cold too early this year,” he said.