Wahoo Fishing – Slow Trolling with Mike Dupree

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Instructor: Mike Dupree

Unearth the secrets of slow trolling for wahoo with Capt. Mike Dupree. From gear intricacies to bait preferences, dive into the art and science of capturing this elusive predator, all while maximizing your sport fishing experience.

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Video Summary:

  • Introduction: Dive into the world of wahoo fishing and the art of slow trolling.
  • Wahoo's Life: Understand the predatory behavior, habitat, and diet of the wahoo fish.
  • Tactics and Techniques: Learn from Captain Mike Dupree’s expertise on tackle, gear, and slow trolling.
  • Satellite Data: Using satellite data to isolate productive areas.
  • Trolling Dynamics: Get insights on trolling patterns, water temperature, and tide effects.
  • Focus on Tackle and Bait: Detailed breakdown of rods, reels, line, leaders and must have equipment
  • Using Planers: The role of trolling planers and bridling techniques.
  • Bait and Lures: Discover the importance and techniques of using ballyhoo for wahoo fishing.
The wahoo, a formidable and elusive predator of the open seas, has long been a coveted prize among anglers. When it comes to the art of wahoo fishing, few can match the expertise of Capt. Mike Dupree aka Slick. With a wealth of experience under his belt, Dupree champions the technique of slow trolling as the ultimate method for enticing these wily creatures.

In the realm of North Carolina's waters, the spring and fall seasons reign supreme for wahoo fishing. These periods bear witness to a magnificent spectacle—the great migration. As bait fish embark on their seasonal journeys, wahoo, both juveniles and adults, congregate in schools, ready to exploit the abundance of prey. The equation is simple: find the bait, and you'll find the wahoo.

Bait fish, by nature, gravitate towards structures in the ocean. Wahoo, ever the opportunistic predators, position themselves strategically below, lurking in the depths of the water column. With keen eyes and lightning-fast reflexes, they lie in wait, poised to unleash a devastating assault on their unsuspecting quarry. This is the dance of predator and prey, a timeless ritual played out in the vast expanses of the open sea.

Into the Depths: The Wahoo Fish

The wahoo fish (Acanthocybium solandri) is a formidable predatory species that roams the pelagic realm. While wahoo are solitary hunters by nature, they exhibit a fascinating behavior when it comes to feeding. Driven by an insatiable hunger, these magnificent creatures congregate in schools, working together to exploit rich sources of prey.

As wahoo mature, they tend to disperse, venturing out on their own to navigate the vast expanses of the open ocean. However, even as adults, they are inexorably drawn to structures beneath the surface. These underwater oases act as beacons, attracting a diverse array of marine life, including the bait fish that wahoo so voraciously pursue.

It is around these structures that wahoo often concentrate, lying in wait for the perfect moment to strike. With their streamlined bodies and powerful tails, they are capable of explosive bursts of speed, allowing them to overtake their prey with astonishing efficiency. This combination of strategic aggregation and lightning-fast hunting prowess makes the wahoo a truly awe-inspiring predator of the deep.


Even as wahoo mature and become more dispersed, they still will be found in concentrations on structure.

Mike Dupree

These formidable predators lurk beneath the surface, always poised for the hunt. These sleek and powerful fish position themselves strategically in the water column, their keen eyes scanning the depths for any sign of prey.

With a diverse palette that includes shad, flying fish, sardines, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, and blackfin tuna, wahoo are opportunistic feeders. They are equally adept at chasing down swift-moving prey or ambushing unsuspecting victims that stray too close to their hidden vantage points.

The wahoo's varied diet is a testament to its adaptability and hunting prowess. Whether pursuing small, darting baitfish or engaging in epic battles with larger, more formidable opponents, these predators are equipped with an arsenal of skills that make them one of the most feared and respected hunters in the pelagic realm.

As they hang motionless in the depths, wahoo are the embodiment of patience and calculation. But when the moment strikes, they explode into action, their muscular bodies propelling them through the water with breathtaking speed and agility. In a flash, they close in on their target, their razor-sharp teeth making short work of any prey foolish enough to cross their path.

The Best Times and Places for Wahoo Fishing

North Carolina's waters are a veritable paradise for wahoo fishing, particularly during the Spring and Fall seasons. These periods are marked by a flurry of activity beneath the surface, as baitfish embark on their annual migrations, traversing the vast expanses of the ocean in search of fertile feeding grounds.

For seasoned anglers like Mike Dupree, these migrations present an unparalleled opportunity to intercept wahoo as they follow their prey. With a wealth of experience and an intimate knowledge of North Carolina's coastal waters, Mike has honed his skills in identifying the most promising locations to encounter these elusive predators.

While wahoo can be found year-round in North Carolina, it is during the Spring and Fall migrations that their numbers swell, creating a feeding frenzy that is truly a sight to behold. As the baitfish move, so too do the wahoo, their sleek forms cutting through the water with grace and power.

Mike's favorite spots are strategically positioned along these migratory routes, allowing him to capitalize on the wahoo's natural instincts and feeding patterns. Whether it's near underwater structures, along the edges of currents, or in areas where different water temperatures converge, Mike knows precisely where to cast his lines to maximize his chances of success.

As the migrations unfold, North Carolina's waters come alive with a palpable energy, the predators and their prey engaged in an age-old dance of survival. For those lucky enough to witness this spectacle firsthand, it is an experience that will forever be etched in their memories, a testament to the raw power and beauty of the marine world.

The Art of Slow Trolling for Wahoo

Slow trolling for wahoo is a technique that demands finesse, patience, and a deep understanding of the prey's behavior. While it may bear some resemblance to trolling for dolphins, the intricacies and nuances of slow trolling set it apart as a true art form in the world of wahoo fishing.

  • Wahoo Trolling Speed: At the heart of this method lies the speed at which one trolls. Mike Dupree, a master of slow trolling, advocates for a range between 6 and 8 knots. This measured pace allows the baits and lures to move through the water in a manner that mimics the natural movement of prey, enticing wahoo to strike with abandon.
  • Trolling Setup: The trolling setup is another critical aspect of this technique. By combining surface baits and lures with trolling planers, anglers can cover a wider range of depths and present a diverse array of offerings to the wahoo. This multi-faceted approach increases the chances of a strike and allows for adaptability in the face of changing conditions.
  • Efficiency: Beyond its effectiveness in attracting wahoo, slow trolling also boasts a number of practical advantages. It proves to be more fuel-efficient than high-speed trolling, allowing anglers to spend more time on the water without breaking the bank. Additionally, the reduced speed enhances safety, minimizing the risks associated with fast-moving boats and choppy seas.

Mike Dupree is a passionate advocate for slow trolling, and he eagerly shares his wealth of knowledge with fellow anglers. He delves into the intricacies of fishing tackle, gear, rigs, and trolling setups, providing a comprehensive guide to mastering this technique. While slow trolling may not be as widely practiced as its high-speed counterpart, Mike emphasizes that a deep understanding of its fundamentals can yield remarkable results.

For those willing to embrace the art of slow trolling, the rewards are substantial. By tapping into the wahoo's natural instincts and presenting baits and lures in a manner that resonates with their predatory nature, anglers can experience the thrill of a lifetime as these magnificent creatures strike with unparalleled ferocity. Under the guidance of masters like Mike Dupree, slow trolling becomes not just a method of fishing, but a gateway to a deeper connection with the ocean and its most majestic inhabitants.

Understanding Water Dynamics

In the complex world of wahoo fishing, water temperature emerges as a critical factor that can make or break a successful expedition. Mike Dupree, a seasoned veteran of the craft, understands this intricate relationship better than most. His expertise extends far beyond mere observation, delving into the realm of science and technology to unlock the secrets of wahoo behavior.

Mike is a fervent advocate for the use of satellite data in the pursuit of these elusive predators. By harnessing the power of sea surface temperature (SST) readings, chlorophyll concentrations, altimetry measurements, and current patterns, he is able to paint a vivid picture of the ocean's hidden dynamics. These data points serve as a roadmap, guiding him to the most productive areas where wahoo are likely to congregate.

But Mike's understanding of wahoo behavior goes even deeper. He recognizes that these fish are not solely influenced by water temperature, but by a complex interplay of environmental factors. Tidal patterns, for example, can have a profound impact on wahoo activity. As the tides ebb and flow, they create currents that transport nutrients and baitfish, drawing wahoo to specific locations at predictable times.

The moon phases, too, play a crucial role in Mike's wahoo-hunting strategies. He knows that the gravitational pull of the moon can influence tidal patterns and, by extension, wahoo behavior. By studying these lunar cycles, he can anticipate periods of heightened activity and adjust his tactics accordingly.

Even something as seemingly insignificant as barometric pressure can provide valuable insights into wahoo movements. Changes in pressure can trigger subtle shifts in water temperature and currents, creating pockets of activity that might otherwise go unnoticed. Mike's keen understanding of these atmospheric conditions allows him to capitalize on opportunities that others might overlook.

By synthesizing this wealth of scientific data and combining it with his years of on-the-water experience, Mike Dupree has developed a comprehensive playbook for wahoo fishing. His approach is not based on guesswork or intuition, but on a deep understanding of the complex interplay between wahoo biology and the ever-changing marine environment.

Through his tireless pursuit of knowledge and his willingness to embrace cutting-edge technologies, Mike has elevated wahoo fishing from a simple pastime to a science. His insights and strategies have revolutionized the way anglers approach these magnificent creatures, offering a glimpse into the hidden world beneath the waves. For those fortunate enough to learn from Mike's expertise, the path to wahoo fishing success becomes clearer, guided by a combination of science, skill, and an unwavering passion for the sport.


Using satellite data like sea surface temperature (SST), chlorophyll, altimetry, and currents to pinpoint productive areas is something I highly recommend.

Mike Dupree

Furthermore, tidal patterns hold a significant influence over wahoo activity. Slick's mantra is clear and unwavering: "fish in moving water." This simple yet profound statement encapsulates a fundamental truth about wahoo behavior that every angler should take to heart.

As the tides rise and fall, they create currents that sweep through the ocean, carrying with them a wealth of nutrients and baitfish. These moving waters are like highways for wahoo, providing them with a constant supply of sustenance and drawing them to specific locations at predictable times.

Mike understands that wahoo are not passive creatures, content to wait for their prey to come to them. Instead, they are active hunters, constantly on the move in search of their next meal. By aligning his fishing strategies with the natural flow of the tides, Mike is able to intercept wahoo as they navigate these underwater pathways.

But fishing in moving water is not just about being in the right place at the right time. It also requires a keen understanding of how wahoo react to different tidal phases. During the outgoing tide, for example, wahoo may concentrate near the edges of reefs or underwater structures, lying in wait for baitfish to be flushed out by the retreating water. Conversely, during the incoming tide, they may venture further out into open water, following the influx of nutrients and prey.

By studying these tidal patterns and adapting his techniques accordingly, Mike is able to maximize his chances of success. He knows that the key to consistent wahoo fishing lies not in blind luck or random chance, but in a deep understanding of how these predators interact with their environment.

Of course, fishing in moving water is not without its challenges. The swift currents and changing depths can make it difficult to maintain proper bait presentation and boat positioning. But for those who master these skills, the rewards can be truly spectacular.

Under Mike's guidance, anglers learn to read the water like a book, deciphering the subtle clues that signal the presence of wahoo. They learn to anticipate the movements of their quarry, to think like a predator and to adapt their strategies on the fly. And through it all, they gain a deeper appreciation for the complex and ever-changing world beneath the surface.

In the end, fishing in moving water is not just a tactic, but a philosophy. It is a recognition that wahoo, like all living creatures, are inextricably linked to the rhythms and cycles of the ocean. And it is a testament to the skill, knowledge, and dedication of anglers like Mike Dupree, who have made it their life's work to unravel these mysteries and to share their insights with others.

Trolling Patterns and Directions

Slow trolling, while not as popular as its high-speed counterpart, is a technique that Mike holds in high regard. He passionately advocates for a smart trolling pattern, one that goes beyond the monotony of a straight line.

Dupree emphasizes the importance of understanding currents and how they relate to your trolling direction. Whether you choose to troll with the current, against it, or parallel to it, each approach requires a nuanced understanding of how wahoo respond to these different scenarios.

By recognizing bite patterns in relation to your trolling direction, Dupree suggests, anglers can unlock the secret to a successful and bountiful catch. It's not just about covering ground, but about presenting your baits and lures in a manner that takes advantage of the wahoo's natural predatory instincts.

Through his teachings, Dupree encourages anglers to think critically about their trolling strategies, to adapt to the ever-changing conditions of the ocean, and to approach slow trolling not just as a means to an end, but as an art form in its own right. By mastering these fundamentals, he suggests, anglers can elevate their wahoo fishing to new heights and experience the true thrill of the hunt.

Essential Equipment on Board

Must-Have Items on the Boat:

  1. Sunglasses: Especially with polarized lenses tailored to different weather conditions.
  2. Safety Equipment: Always prioritize safety.
  3. Tools: Essential for any unexpected situations.
  4. Snacks & Water: Stay nourished and hydrated.
  5. Extra Leaders: Be prepared for any situation.

Mike's emphasis on terminal tackle shines through when he details the rods and reels he prefers for wahoo fishing. The ferocity of the wahoo demands robust rod construction and a deep understanding of line and leaders.

The Magic of Planer Fishing for Wahoo

Planer fishing is a game-changing technique in the world of wahoo fishing, and Slick is a strong proponent of its effectiveness. By employing trolling planers, anglers can easily bridle their lines, allowing for a more dynamic and efficient fishing experience.

Mike takes the time to explain how planers work, diving into the water and pulling the bait or lure down to the desired depth. He highlights the advantages of using planer bridles, which not only simplify the rigging process but also minimize the risk of tangles and lost fish.

One of the key benefits of planer fishing, Mike emphasizes, is the significant increase in catch rates. By presenting baits and lures at the optimal depth, anglers can more effectively target wahoo and other pelagic species. Mike also delves into the nuances of planer selection, discussing the different sizes available and how they correspond to various diving depths.

In addition to the technical aspects, Mike also shares some insider tips, such as the merits of painting your planers to reduce their visibility in the water. He provides clear guidance on how to rig planers effectively, ensuring that anglers can make the most of this powerful technique.

Through his in-depth teachings on planer fishing, Mike Dupree empowers anglers with the knowledge and skills they need to take their wahoo fishing to the next level. By mastering this game-changing approach, anglers can unlock a world of possibilities and experience the thrill of landing these magnificent predators with greater consistency and success.

Bait and Lures: The Key to Success

Ballyhoo emerges as the premier bait choice for wahoo fishing, particularly when using planers. Capt. Mike Dupree provides a wealth of knowledge on rigging techniques for ballyhoo, sharing his expertise on the most effective methods for presenting this enticing bait.

From the ideal size and shape of the ballyhoo to the precise placement of hooks and leaders, Mike leaves no stone unturned in his quest to help anglers maximize their success. He also delves into the importance of color selection, revealing the hues that have consistently yielded the best results in his experience.

But Mike's insights don't stop at natural baits. He also recognizes the vital role that lures play in a well-rounded trolling spread. He understands how artificial offerings can complement the use of ballyhoo and add an extra dimension to your wahoo fishing arsenal and share that knowledge in this video

By sharing his wisdom on rigging techniques, color selection, and the strategic deployment of lures, Mike Dupree equips anglers with the tools they need to create a dynamic and irresistible trolling spread. Through his guidance, anglers can fine-tune their presentations and adapt to the ever-changing conditions of the ocean, increasing their chances of enticing those elusive wahoo to strike.


Develop bite pattern recognition. Think about the direction of your trolling pattern and the lure color that is getting eaten.

Mike Dupree

Rigging Ballyhoo for Wahoo Fishing

Ballyhoo reigns supreme as the go-to bait for wahoo fishing, especially when used in conjunction with planers. Mike's expertise in rigging ballyhoo is a testament to his dedication and craftsmanship, elevating bait preparation to an art form.

With a keen eye for detail and a wealth of experience, Mike meticulously prepares each ballyhoo, ensuring that it is primed for maximum effectiveness. From the precise placement of the hook rig to the careful consideration of the bait's overall presentation, no aspect is overlooked.

Slick's attention to the finer points of ballyhoo rigging is what sets him apart. He understands that the success of a wahoo fishing expedition often hinges on the quality and precision of the bait presentation. By taking the time to properly rig each ballyhoo, he maximizes its natural swimming action and increases its appeal to the discerning eyes of wahoo.

Through his teachings, Mike shares his secrets to creating the perfect ballyhoo rig. He emphasizes the importance of selecting the right size and shape of bait, the optimal placement of hooks and leaders, and the subtle nuances that can make all the difference in enticing a wahoo to strike.

By mastering Mike's techniques for rigging ballyhoo, anglers can elevate their wahoo fishing game to new heights. They can present their baits with confidence, knowing that each carefully prepared ballyhoo has been rigged to perfection and is ready to tempt even the most wary of wahoo.

In the hands of a skilled angler, a well-rigged ballyhoo becomes more than just bait – it becomes an instrument of artistry, a silent hunter in the vast expanse of the ocean, waiting patiently for the right moment to unleash its power and bring a magnificent wahoo to the boat.


In the end, as with many things in life, success in wahoo fishing boils down to two things: preparation and pattern recognition. As Mike Dupree often says, it's about understanding the direction of your trolling pattern, recognizing which lure color is getting the most attention, and always, always being prepared for anything. Wahoo fishing is an art, and like all arts, it requires patience, observation, and the right tools. With Mike Dupree's invaluable insights and techniques, you're well on your way to mastering the art of wahoo fishing.

For those passionate about the sport, understanding the wahoo and the techniques to catch them is a journey of continuous learning. Dive deeper, ask questions, and always be prepared. As Mike Dupree often emphasizes, in the world of wahoo fishing, knowledge and preparation are the keys to success. Join us by subscribing to inthespread.com for more insights and comprehensive video tutorials on sport fishing. Happy fishing!

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User Reviews

Jeff Smith 01.31.2024

One of the best videos I’ve seen on the platform. Waiting for Part 2 with the spread on the water

In The Spread 02.28.2024

Wow, Jeff! Your positive review means the world to us. We are thrilled that you enjoyed our video, and we are eager to share Part 2 with you.

Mike Dupree

Captain Mike Dupree, a premier angler and filmmaker, is known for his passion for fishing and sharing his experiences with the X-Rayted Fishing Team. He combines his love for the outdoors with authenticity and adventure, capturing moments on camera to immortalize them. Slick's dedication to honesty and transparency makes him a respected figure in the local fishing community.

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