How to: Catch a Wahoo

Known as the “Wahoo Whisperer” of Bimini, Bubba Ambassador Nick Wood throws down with ‘hoos on a daily basis.

“The Bahamian wahoo season along the Grand Bahama Bank generally runs hot from October through the end of February with average size fish in the 20 to 35-pound range,” says Wood. “Its all about fishing the edge in that magic sweet spot 300 foot depth, adding in prime water from 76 to 79 degrees and then high speed trolling,” says Wood. “By high speed I mean I’m dragging my lures between 15 and 17 knots and covering a lot of ground.”

Wood deploys naked Ilander lures in black/purple, orange/black and blue/white, throwing a 2-ounce egg sinker behind the head as well as utilizing a rubber band to wrap the hair on the lure backwards to further flare out the presentation. Wahoo have notoriously razor-sharp teeth and the leader needs to be addressed accordingly. On a Shimano Tiagra 80 wide, the running line goes from 80-pound mono to a 48-ounce drail weight, then a 35 foot shot of 300-pound mono crimped to a 2 foot section of piano wire, which is then crimped to the lure.

Wood’s trolling spread is set not necessarily by distance, but by timing. “My first line is set on the port side long rigger 60 seconds back, then starboard long at 45 seconds, port flat line at 30 seconds, and finally starboard flat at 15 seconds. This way the spread is staggered,” adds Wood. Wahoo hang in pack schools, meaning multiple rods can go down at once.

Wahoo’s searing runs are sought after by big game anglers, and though the hit is enough to get you jazzed, its the end game that’s crucial. Once a wahoo is battled to boatside, a tricky game begins. “A thin, lightweight gaff is best to stick a wahoo,” states Wood. “I’ll use the Bubba 5 foot gaff with the 3-inch gap as it’s light to maneuver with, sinks easy into the meat and the non-slip grip allows me to pull the fish over in one swoop.” Once on deck, a ‘hoos teeth need to be considered a live weapon and you need to be extra careful to avoid their wrath, thus pliers should be chosen wisely.

Wood adds, “To dislodge a hook from a wahoo, I’ll use the safest pliers possible. The Bubba 8.5-inch Pistol Grip curved pliers as the curved 90 degree angle keeps my hands away from the slicing jaws and teeth.”

Back at dock, the 9-inch tapered flex Bubba Blade is ideal for quick work to fillet and steak up the wahoo meat. Put a few of these tips from Wood in your backpocket, bring the proper Bubba gear, and you’ll be slinging the ‘hoos.

—Check out Nick Wood at @biminikidd