Wicked Wahoo Whacker

Construct Your Own Hi-Speed Lure

Capt. Steve Dougherty January 18, 2012

Dedicated anglers have been fooling wahoo in The Bahamas for a few months now, but don’t lose hope if you haven’t been able to make the crossing. The bite is still feverish and with a break in the weather you’ll be able to capitalize on the line-sizzling action. If you purchase pre-rigged wahoo lures you are well aware of their high price tags, but with only a few basic tools and materials you can create your own custom hi-speed wahoo lures that with a little love will fool fish for a lifetime.

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Photo: doughertyphotos.com

So what makes a good wahoo lure? Hi-speed fanatics agree that lures must track straight and offer enough flash for a wahoo to see it race by at over 10 knots. As in all aspects of sport fishing, innovative anglers have come up with some truly effective enticements. Here’s my wahoo killer, proven effective across the fertile ledges of The Bahamas. While this will serve as a great starting point if you’ve never attempted to assemble your own lure, don’t be afraid to experiment and implement your own ideas. Catching wahoo is downright exhilarating, but it’s even more fulfilling when you fool such a brilliant predator on an offering built with your own two hands.

It’s all about presenting properly tracking lures at breakneck speeds… dust off the bent-butts and hammer the throttles because slob wahoo are waiting…

Starting at what matters most, you’ll want to select premium-grade stainless steel hooks. Hi-speed wahoo trolling is not release fishing. I prefer 11/0 J-hooks from Mustad, but other quality brands will certainly get the job done. If you don’t choose quality stainless steel, your hooks eventually show signs of rust as they begin to deteriorate. This is a lure that will potentially catch fish for years so you’ll want to make sure it is up to the task.

From here we are going to build an in-line double hook stiff rig with 900 lb. multi-strand cable. Because wahoo strike from behind at incredible speed, in-line hooks are more effective than offset hooks and result in better connections. They also offer better tracking, with the trailing hook acting as a keel.

Start by inserting a 12-inch section of cable through the hook eye. Make one wrap around the hook’s shank and pass the tag through the hook eye again, although this time go in the opposite direction. Draw tight and crimp with the appropriate copper or nickel-plated sleeve. Before you can crimp the lead hook you need to slide a 3-inch section of heat shrink over the trailing hook’s crimped connection. From here take a marker and note where you want your first hook to rest. Once you’ve crimped the sleeve, double the hook back so it rests in-line with the trailing hook. Add another section of heat shrink and your stiff rig is complete.

It’s time to attach your leader, and I prefer multi-strand cable over traditional single-strand wire. It’s more durable and I don’t have to worry about re-rigging after a fish or losing my lure due to a kink in the wire. In the blue water realm where wahoo hunt steep pinnacles and ledges, small game like houndfish, juvenile dolphin and tuna must always be on the lookout as they are favored menu items for patrolling wahoo. Because of this you’ll want to fish big baits…you know the old adage.

To create a lure with a large, streamlined profile we’re going to utilize a trolling lure and two rubber skirts. While I’m confident with Iland Lures in my spread, any bullet-style head design will do the trick. In addition to lure selection, color is all about personal preference and likely influenced by previous experiences. However, if you put in your time you know that these speed demons are so aggressive that they will sometimes strike the trolling lead. This proves that wahoo aren’t as selective as one would think and that they will likely ravage whatever is properly presented.

To add some weight to the lure I like to start with a 4 oz. Ilander Heavy-Weight. You’ll also need an 8 oz. egg sinker to add even more weight to the lure. Start by inserting the sinker into one of the skirts. When inserting lead into the head of a skirt, Pledge or Windex can be used to help lubricate. Once the sinker is inside the skirt take the second skirt and wrap it over the first one. Now simply slide the skirts and Ilander over the leader and you are ready to fish!

While this lure is heavy enough to fish on its own, you’ll still want to run it behind a 36 oz. trolling lead. It’s important to note that you are not trying to fish lures deep below the surface, rather trolling leads keep your lures from skipping out of the water at high speeds. It’s all about presenting properly tracking lures at breakneck speeds, so dust off the bent-butts and hammer the throttles because slob wahoo are waiting at your favorite Bahamian ledge.

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