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July 27, 2009

Wahoo Lite

Maximize wahoo action and minimize fuel burn - the Bermuda Way

We're fortunate to have great wahoo fishing here in Bermuda. Many years of experience targeting this species have helped me develop three very productive but dissimilar techniques. Best of all, each offers a great way to use light gear and make each fish a real challenge. And these methods provide a productive alternative to high-speed trolling, so in addition to avoiding 80-pound tackle and trolling 1-pound weights, you get off a lot easier at the fuel dock. And what works for us around Bermuda should work anywhere wahoo are found.

I believe live-baiting offers the most enjoyable way to fish for wahoo. However, this method definitely requires more work for the crew. That's because there's always something to do - set lines, check bait condition, catch more bait and so on. We use either tinker mackerel, as we call little tunny, or "robins," our local name for the scads commonly known as speedos.

Whether you catch or buy live baits, it's important to keep them hardy enough to swim with the boat as you slowly troll them over productive waters. You need a good livewell or tuna tubes to keep your baits robust.

We bridle our liveys through the eyes using 80-pound Dacron tied to the front hook of a double-hook rig made with No. 10 single-strand wire. The hooks are 6/0 Mustad 7692s. We place the back hook just through the bait's skin behind the dorsal fin and attach it to the front hook with a small swivel (see page 52). We use 250-pound mono leaders, lest we miss out if Mr. Marlin comes calling.

I troll two baits from the downriggers and two from the outriggers. With live baits, set downriggers at just 10 to 30 feet. Attach baits using light rubber bands (size 20); with light drag on the reels, you want to be sure you know when you get a strike.