Fishing effectively for wahoo in Florida and the Bahamas involves understanding both regional regulations and effective tactics.
In Florida, the regulations for wahoo fishing are straightforward: there is no minimum size limit, and the daily bag limit is two per person. Wahoo can be fished year-round in Florida waters.
For the Bahamas, the regulations stipulate that migratory species such as wahoo are limited to a maximum of 18 fish per vessel at any time. Additionally, fishing must be done by traditional methods of angling with a hook or lure attached to a line held in hand or attached to a pole, rod, or reel. The use of spears, fish traps, or nets other than landing nets is prohibited, except for the "Hawaiian Sling" type instrument or similar devices using a rubber sling. Each vessel is allowed to use no more than six rods or reels unless a permit authorizes more.
Regarding tactics for fishing wahoo, several effective methods have been highlighted:
1. Line and Bait Setup: It's recommended to spool 80-pound braid under pressure over a base of 80lb monofilament backing. Wahoo are known to aggressively respond to lures pulled between 10 and 18 knots, showing a preference for subsurface rather than skipping baits. Usually, the deeper in the water column the bait tracks, the more your odds raise of getting consistent bites.
2. Rod and Reel Considerations: Bent-butt trolling rods help keep fishing lines more parallel with the ocean surface, which is effective for maintaining lure depth at faster speeds. Large reels, such as Penn's Intl 80VSW or Shimano's Tiagra 80W with exceptional drags are also advised due to the rigors of high-speed trolling, focusing on durability and efficient lure presentation.
3. Braided Line Advantage: In recent times, wahoo outfits with braided line have become popular, especially in the Bahamas. Braided lines cut through water easily, allowing for stronger line strength without a significant increase in diameter, ensuring solid hookups. With that said, we are still fans of the durability & limited stretch of high quality monofilament line, such as Momoi's Diamond Line in 80lb test.
4. Lure Setup: For optimal trolling, use a 32-ounce trolling sinker on flat lines with larger, lighter-style lures, positioned about 100 feet back. Black Bart Wahoo lure kit is a great option if your looking to get serious about putting wahoo in the box and shortening the learning curve. The next pair of rods can be placed further back, towing 24-ounce weights and smaller lures. The arrangement of the lures, whether even or staggered, doesn't significantly impact success.
5. Leader Configuration A short Bimini twist in the braid tied to a 300-pound-test snap swivel is recommended. This setup should include a trolling sinker and a mono shock leader of 300 to 400-pound test, followed by the main leader and lure.We typically prefer weighted lures as they will track better in the water column and help push more water. For the main leader, a 480-pound stranded cable is commonly used, although some anglers opt for a lighter 270-pound single strand stainless wire with smaller lures.
6. Shock cord storage & deployment: We've found that having a large Cuban yoyo on board will help keeping all the shock leaders tidy and organized, ready for quick deployment when jumping from spot to spot. Having a set off leather or heavy synthetic gloves will help combat any lines burns or cuts when handling the tackle and boarding the fish.
By adhering to these regulations and employing these tactics, anglers can effectively target wahoo in both Florida and the Bahamas.