The dog days of summer are here, and as temperatures soar into the 90s, many anglers prefer to spend just a few hours on the water chasing red snapper before seeking refuge in the air conditioning. However, for the crazy ones who are willing to spend twelve hours or more pursuing pelagic species, here are three essential tips for landing summertime wahoo on the troll.
Get Baits Deep
When specifically targeting wahoo in the summer, the number one tip is to get your baits deeper in the water column. Much like ourselves seeking refuge in the cool comfort of our homes, wahoo also prefer to stay deeper in the water to escape the heat. These fish only come up to the surface when necessary to feed. Therefore, to maximize your chances of success, it's crucial to present your baits where the wahoo spend the majority of their time. You can achieve this by using in-line trolling weights, lipped diving plugs, or even slow trolling a downrigger with a live hardtail.
Fish at First Light
In our experience, summertime wahoo are most active during the early morning or late evening hours. Planning your wahoo trips to coincide with these times can greatly increase your chances of catching a hungry wahoo. Launching out of the pass right before first light and getting your baits in the water within an hour afterward will increase your chances tenfold. This allows you to target wahoo when surface temperatures are cooler and before the sun's heat drives the fish deeper. If you haven't had any bites by 11:00 am using traditional trolling techniques, consider switching to live bait presented off a downrigger or searching for flotsam like trash lines and sargassum grass.
Cover Ground with High-Speed Trolling
During the summer months, wahoo can be scattered and not necessarily associated with specific bottom structures. This makes high-speed trolling an excellent technique for targeting them. It's advisable to have dedicated high-speed trolling reels set up for your bottom fishing days and troll from spot to spot. This approach not only increases your chances of catching a wahoo each time you deploy your baits, but it also allows you to enjoy the 17mph breeze and enjoy an ice cold beer during the ride. We wrote an article that outlines everything you need to know about high speed trolling here.
While the scorching summer temperatures may drive many anglers off the water, the ones who choose to keep chasing fish have a great opportunity to catch a record wahoo. Remember to get your baits deep, fish at first light, and cover ground with high-speed trolling. You will increase your catch ratio and the table fare that these fish bring is unmatched.
Our favorite knife to use for wahoo is the 7” medium flex fillet knife. It has just enough flex to get steaks off of the wahoo, but not to rip the skin while separating the meat from the skin. You can check out these 5-star verified knives here.