Wahoo Fishing – Slow Trolling with Shawn Rotella part 1

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Instructor: Shawn Rotella
Categories: Saltwater Wahoo

Unlock the secrets of wahoo fishing with Captain Shawn Rotella. Dive into slow trolling live bait techniques, understand wahoo ecology, and refine your angling strategy for unmatched success on the water.

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Video Summary

  • The life and fishing mastery of Captain Shawn Rotella
  • Scientific insights into the wahoo fish
  • Benefits and struggles of using live bait in wahoo fishing
  • Slow trolling vs high-speed trolling techniques
  • Understanding weather, tides, and moon phases for optimum fishing
  • Navigating the waters: structure, current, and bathymetry
  • Drag management and tackle selection
  • Tips on bait catching and making live bait rigs
  • Common mistakes to avoid while slow trolling live bait
  • Ethical considerations and regulations


Live bait is the rhythm of the ocean; it keeps you engaged, connects you with the world beneath, making fishing more about skill than sheer luck.

Captain Shawn Rotella

The Legend Behind the Helm: Captain Shawn Rotella

Ahoy, fishermen! Ever wondered what it takes to become a legendary name in the fishing community? Meet Captain Shawn Rotella, the man who conquered the Hawaiian waters aboard his trusty vessel, "The Night Runner." Hailing from Virginia Beach, USA, Shawn Rotella isn't just your average skipper; he’s a lure-making wizard who has shattered records and redefined fishing in the Kona fleet.

What You Didn't Know About Wahoo

Before you head out to troll some wahoo, let’s get into the science of this fascinating creature. The wahoo (Acanthocybium solandri) is a saltwater game fish, notably celebrated for its speed and high-quality flesh. Found in tropical and subtropical seas, wahoo are streamlined, blue-green predators. They play a crucial role in marine ecology, often controlling populations of smaller fish.

The Live Bait Gospel According to Shawn Rotella

Why live bait? Captain Rotella makes a compelling case for its use in wahoo fishing. Unlike dead bait, live bait keeps you engaged, allowing you to feel the bait’s actions. Plus, currents are more forgiving on live bait, making it interactive and less reliant on luck.

"In fishing, nothing is left to chance, but live bait puts more odds in your favor."

The Finesse of Slow Trolling

Why slow trolling? Simple, it brings you closer to the wahoo’s natural pace, allowing for more finesse and less brute force. Compared to high-speed trolling, slow trolling offers better fuel consumption, making it an eco-friendly option. Slow trolling ranges from 6 to 10 knots, keeping the bait’s movement natural and attractive to the wahoo.

The Symphony of Nature: Weather, Tides, and Moon Phases

Let's talk about the celestial ballet of the moon and the push and pull of tides. These natural elements are more than just poetic; they significantly influence your wahoo fishing success. Understanding how to read currents and weather conditions is crucial. For instance, during upwellings, nutrient-rich water brings baitfish closer to the surface, creating a feasting ground for wahoo.

Navigating the Sea: Structure, Current, and Bathymetry

Captain Rotella emphasizes the importance of understanding the underwater terrain or 'bathymetry'. The wahoo loves structures like reefs and underwater mountains, where currents bring in a rich supply of food. Good action is almost guaranteed when you factor in structure and current.

The Art of Drag Management and Tackle Selection

Drag management is another topic Captain Rotella stresses. Employing light tackle with live bait allows for better control. For rods and reels, a conventional rod and reel combo with a 100 pound test braided line is suitable for his style of wahoo fishing. Additionally, learning how to 'mow the lawn'—a concept of covering ground efficiently—can be your secret weapon.

Catching Tactics and Rig Making: The Rotella Way

  • Big Baits: Use Opelu, mullet or mackerel.
  • Small Baits: Ballyhoo or belly strips from tuna are effective.
  • Rigs: Consider a bridle rig for live bait.

Shawn gives a comprehensive breakdown on how to prepare your own bait rigs, suitable for both big and small baits.

Common Pitfalls in Slow Trolling

Don’t let common mistakes ruin your day at sea. A major faux pas is not adjusting to conditions. Keep your baits further out when the seas are rough and adjust your trolling speed based on your wake. Another common mistake is trolling too fast; always match your speed to the bait's capabilities.

Conservation and Regulations

Finally, as a responsible angler, always follow local fishing regulations. Sustainable fishing not only ensures the longevity of the sport but also plays a critical role in marine ecology.
So there you have it, folks, a complete guide to mastering wahoo fishing, slow trolling, and beyond, right from the fishing oracle himself, Captain Shawn Rotella. Now grab your gear and may the tides be ever in your favor!

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Shawn Rotella

Captain Rotella, the acclaimed mastermind behind Night Runner Sport Fishing, offers a unique deep-sea fishing experience in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. With a state-of-the-art 38' custom-built vessel, he provides a diverse array of charters, including Giant Blue Marlin, Mahi Mahi, Yellow Fin Tuna, Wahoo, and other species. Rotella's commitment to customer service, world-renowned lure crafting skills, and family-friendly atmosphere make his charter service a beacon for fishing enthusiasts worldwide.

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