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Wahoo Rig and Terminal Tackle
Wahoo fishermen that spend have spent time commercial fishing bring a unique perspective to recreational fishing. Their livelihoods depend on catching fish, so their fishing methods become highly refined. They do not have time to get caught up in all the fancy wahoo fishing tackle that is on the market.
In this segment, part 6, of our High Speed Wahoo Trolling video, you will be privy to an exchange of fishing ideas between RJ Boyle and Shawn Olds, two excellent fishermen with loads of experience fishing for wahoo. They both started out on the commercial side before transitioning to recreational fishing. They are both adamant about the need to have your wahoo rigs ready on the terminal tackle side. They present their way of fishing, based on years of wahoo fishing. There are many ways, but this is theirs.
We will start at the reel and work all the way to the hook detailing all the ingredients, tackle and connections that go into wahoo rigs. For this conversation centers around fishing a four rod spread.
When it comes to discussing a wahoo rig for high speed trolling, the first component you have to consider is the fishing line you will be using on your reels. It could be wire, monofilament or braid. Shawn till fishes wire and catches most of his fish on those lines. In his spread, he runs two top rods with mono for his long baits and two bottom rods with wire for his short baits. He likes to get his short baits down in the water, so he uses bigger leads. RJ and Shawn dive into various lead weights that they like and how to match them up with various lure sizes.
When it comes to braid, which is widely used these days, there is a tendency to pull more hooks at speed. This may happen because you have to push the drag up to keep the braid from creeping off the reel. So, at strike, there is so much heat that hooks get pulled. Braid is, however, lower maintenance and easier to deal with.
Swivels play a huge roll in this type of fishing. You will want to go with ball bearing swivels. Try and get the strongest you can find. This means the wire gauge will be on the heavier side.
How much lead do you need for wahoo trolling? Should you stagger the lead weight for top and bottom rods? The consensus here is no. The one thing you have to factor in is the size of your lures and how much they weigh. Heavier lures need less lead and vice versa. RJ and Shawn have definite preferences on the lead they use and will share all the details with you. Since wahoo like to eat lead, you really need to think about using leads with wire. This way you will not loose entire rigs when the fish goes after your lead. You can also paint the leads, so they blend with the boat wash. They will provide details on how they do this.
Aaaah, the shock cord and what purpose it serves is covered in-depth. You can use mono or cable between your lead and the lure. This will give you distance. Mono offers stretch and cable does not. You will want those heavy duty swivels for this part of the wahoo rig, as well.
The actual wahoo rig is the meat of the presentation. Some folks use wire and some use cable. Cable is easier on the hands and easier to crimp than wire, as a caveat. You will learn about shrink tube for the hook sets and how it is used to stiffen up the rig. RJ really likes the tubing that has adhesive. Both he and Shawn suggest using the best quality shrink tube to seal off your cable and hook connections from the elements.
For the hooks, stainless steel is the way to go. The primary wahoo hooks used are southern tuna bend or open bite varieties. Whether you use single or double hook sets is you choice. A lot of fishermen use single hooks on their long smaller lures and doubles on the short bigger lures. Double hooks do require more maintenance and can be more dangerous. You will hear more about the hooks and the different perspectives RJ and Shawn hold.
Lure skirts and what you use is huge. Does color matter? Shawn Olds is a definite yes on this. What wahoo are eating and light conditions play a big part in the color of lure skirts he uses. Black and red combinations, along with pink and blue are excellent options. These two combos cover both the dark and light spectrum. If you start out with dark combinations on one side and light on the other, you can see which are getting more bits. When you figure out which color is getting more bites, you can switch to that color for the entire spread.
Rigging wahoo skirts is the next big aspect. Many of the best fishermen try to achieve bulk by combining multiple skirts or by adding sea witches. You will see a variety of skirts, how to select good ones and how you can add materials to increase their profile in the water.
Wahoo lures are a hotly debated topic. With so many ono fishing lures on the market, it is hard to know which are better options. Shawn and RJ share their favorites and how they like to rig them. Ilanders are good all around lures and very low maintenance. Jet heads are also excellent producers. You can go with a shiny head or a glass head. The bubble trail is critical. You want to create the appearance of being bigger. A bigger footprint in the water is ideal. The ilander express with its flat jetted head is one of Shawn's secret go to lures. He and RJ will cover how they like to rig these lures and why certain features have gotten them more success.
This is a fairly lenghty video, but one that is loaded with useful info. All the terminal tackle components that go into the wahoo rig is covered. Since both RJ Boyle and Shawn Olds spent years feeding their families commercial fishing for wahoo, they really possess unique knowledge on how to catch wahoo. You will learn a lot watching this video.
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Total time: 53:06