Wahoo, known in Hawaii as “ono” or within fishing circles as “skinnies,” are typically the domain of the long-range luxury fishing boats out of San Diego. They’re headed to spots like Alijos Rocks, off the Baja, Mexico coast to fish for this warm-water ocean predator.

In this most unusual of Southern California fishing seasons, the unthinkable has already happened. Wahoo have been caught on boats leaving from San Diego on as short as a 3/4-day trip (which typically run from 5:30 am to 5 pm).

For many of us who lack the time or funds to ride the long-range boats, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a shot at this most exotic of fish. This article by Dennis Braid of Braid Products is a good primer on wahoo fishing.

wahoobombsWahoo fishing reminds me of the lightning and thunder storms of Summer, all flash and pandemonium, only a hell-of-a lot more fun! These silver streaks of the ocean usually gather in packs and when the dinner bell rings, they slice and dice just about anything that looks edible.

Trolling is one of the most productive methods of fishing for wahoo, but trolling catches can be augmented by the simple, and very effective, art of the drop-back. Give me a few minutes to explain an your catches will increase dramatically, guaranteed!

In many areas of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast, the favorite trolling offerings for striking gamefish, including wahoo, is rigged ballyhoo or mullet, sometimes with plastic skirts or chugger-type lures over the heads. While these baits work well, they require a considerably slower trolling speed than artificials which restrict their productivity for the king for the high-speed predators, the wahoo. For that reason, you’ll read a number of excellent articles in this issue of The Journal which will demonstrate the move to high-speed lures and plugs taking place for these great gamefish, even in places where rigged baits are considered end-all and be-all of big game fishing. This same move to high-speed lures, especially plugs, took place many years ago on the long-range boats out of San Diego that encounter big pods of Pacific wahoo found off the Baja and further south.

Photos: Malihini Sportfishing (top); Braid Products (above)