Wahoo are special fish, capable of screaming runs, able to turn 180 degrees in a split second and then charge the boat. If a fish comes up behind a trolled teaser, usually a hookless strip-bait, the caster drops the fly to the teaser which is pulled away just as the fly lands.

Set the hook hard with a sideways pull of the rod. Excess line will zip through the guides at lightning speed, so make sure the fly line is free of knots and not underfoot. Some anglers use a basket laying on the deck for this purpose.

It's almost impossible not to get slack line. One of the wahoo's favorite tactics is to run off 200 yards, turn and come screaming back at you. Let the fish go when it wants to, and reel like mad when you can. If the fish remains hooked, the fight will settle down.

These bait-and-switch tactics call for an astute skipper, mate and angler, and make for an exciting contest. Out of San Diego, fly-fishing trips to Baja's offshore islands are conducted by some long-range headboats. The fish -- yellowfin, bluefin, and wahoo -- are brought within range by chumming with live bait. The action can get pretty awesome.


High-speed trolling is the most effective way of taking wahoo. Troll flat lines - no need for release clips in this game. Outriggers are less effective because wahoo hit solidly and feel the hook immediately. The bend of the rod, the reel's drag and the momentum of the boat will hold the fish until you set the hook.

The use of downriggers, planers and wire line is extremely helpful when trolling for wahoo, as the fish prefer to hit subsurface baits and lures.

Wire Leaders

Because of the wahoo's impressive teeth, wire leaders are highly recommended. It's possible to land them on large plugs that often keep the unprotected mono from their teeth. Many wahoo are lost on the strike, but a short wire leader, No. 9 or heavier, will help keep it on the line.