By Terry Lacoss
A seven-man fishing party of experienced Amelia Island blue water fishermen boarded David Hagin’s charter fishing boat “Easy Money” long before daylight and headed offshore to some of the Southeast’s very best blue water fishing. After navigating some sixty-miles do southeast, the fishing party was soon trolling high a full spread of deep running wahoo lures in 150-feet of water
The “Easy Money” fishing party had an amazing twenty wahoo strikes while landing seventeen of the twenty wahoo that were hooked up while high speed trolling. Three of the wahoo were released as the limit in Federal waters is two wahoo per day with no size limits.
“The wahoo bite that we were enjoying that morning was arguably the best bite I’ve not only heard of but actually witnessed while fishing out of Amelia Island,” Captain David Hagins said. “We were trolling a mix of high speed lures from 16-18 miles per hour. The best high speed trolling lure seemed to be a green and black “Jet Head” rigged to a 24 to 64-oz. trolling weight. We ended the day with a “Quad Hook Up”!
A wahoo high speed trolling spread involves five lures, one set at 50-feet, one at 100-feet, one at 150-feet, one at 200-feet and one at 250-feet. The two short lures, 50 and 100-feet are trolled from one side of the boat and the two 150 and 200-feet lures are trolled from the remaining side of the boat. The long 250-foot lure is trolled in the middle of the spread as a “Shot Gun” lure. Included in the high speed trolling spread are two “Jet Heads”, a C& H “Mr. Big”, a C & H “American Express” and a “Wahoo Whacker”. Reel drags are adjusted to 20-pounds.
All rods have the tolling lines marked with different colored tape so that the lure can be set in the trolling spread at exactly the same drop back distance.
The two short lures are rigged with 64-oz. trolling weights, while the three long lures are rigged with 32-oz. trolling weights. Terminal tackle begins with a 300-lb. stainless ball bearing snap swivel attached to the tag end of 130-lb. hollow core braid fishing line. Next a 24-foot section of 300-lb. monofilament leader is run from the snap swivel to the trolling weight. A 6-foot section of 275-lb. wire cable is then rigged from the trolling weight to the lure. A 1-foot section of 900-lb cable with 3- rigging beads is then rigged from the leader cable through the lure and to a pair of 10/0 Mustad style 7691 stainless steel hooks. The hooks are also wrapped to the wire cable with 3-M electrical tape so that the lure trolls perfectly straight at high speeds. 3-M electrical tape comes in multiple colors as well to match the lure color, is stretchable and is better has a better adhesive.
Some of the more productive lure skirt colors include black & green, black & green, blue & white, pink & white and purple & black. Spare skirts should be stored as the strike of a fast swimming, sharped tooth wahoo often results in a destroyed plastic skirt.
The very popular “Northeast Florida Wahoo Shootout” will take place from February 3rd through March 31st 2018. During the 2016 and 2017 events the tournament sold out at one hundred boats!
The unique format is designed for all sizes of boats to compete on a level playing field. Fishing teams are allowed to choose three fishing days over a fifty-seven day time frame. This format helps eliminate bad weather where fishing teams can enjoy a great blue water fishing experience. Also keep in mind that Northeast Florida harbors some of the best winter wahoo fishing in the southeast where wahoo weighing to 150-pounds have been caught.
First place includes a fully rigged yellowfin flats boat valued at over $90,000.00. For more information please visit www.wahooshootout.com.
Last weekend’s open season for red snapper December 8th, 9th and 10th, was literally blown away due to cold temperatures and high seas. Hopefully the Southeast Atlantic Fishery Council will open a following weekend to make up for this past weekend. For up dated information please visit www.safmc.com.
Black drum weighing to thirty-pounds continue to highlight Amelia Island inlet and back country fishing. Some of the best action is coming from the tip of the St. Mary’s north jetty rocks during the first few hours of the in-coming tide. However excellent black drum fishing action is also coming from deep holes locate in the Amelia River and fishing at the deep sides of boat docks located close to deep river channels.
Look for sea trout weighing to five pounds to be on a big feed during the last few hours of the in-coming tide. Fish deep with live shrimp, or slow sinking minnow type lures