So you want to catch wahoo, huh? There’s no better place for it than the great Bayou state of Louisiana. Louisiana natives and Salt Life team members Nicole Spenc, Jacki Shea, and Louis Thornton recently sat down to share some insider tips with us. Just what is it that is so exhilarating about a good wahoo bite? Maybe it’s the thrill of fighting a fish that can often weigh between 80 and 100 pounds. Maybe it's the fact that they aren’t hard to find, even in their larger sizes. The pack-hunting nature of wahoo means where there is one, there are many, and they feed on surface bait. Hit the water at the right time of year, and your rig will be bending steadily on your first couple of casts.
Whatever the reason or occasion, here’s how to fish for wahoo in Louisiana.
When the Cold Moves Out, the Wahoo Are Stout
Itching for some sun and warmer weather come early spring? You’re in luck. That happens to also be the best time for catching wahoo. As the last of the winter cold fronts lift their grip on the Gulf of Mexico, anglers head out into water that was unreachable just a few days prior. This is when the largest wahoo are pack-hunting in droves, looking for any surface bait they can get.
Louisiana is home to wahoo all year round, but the popular fish are much bigger during the late winter and early spring months. This is due to the fact that they aren’t being fished for as much, since it’s harder to access the shallow waters where they lurk. This decrease in angling allows time for wahoo to fatten up before being reeled in. The Louisiana wahoo are typically about 20 pounds smaller when caught in the summer months. The locals call these “snakes.”
As with most large saltwater prize fish, wahoo migratory patterns are dictated by where their bait is, which happens to be in the Gulf of Mexico during the last of the cold season. If you want the exhilarating wahoo fishing experience of fighting an 80-100 pound prize fish, then you need to hit the Gulf come late February or early March.
Fish the Bayous
According to Jacki and Louis, the best wahoo fishing isn’t out at sea. It’s actually in the shallower waters of the bayous. This is where their bait is, so naturally, that’s where you’ll find them. Some of the best wahoo spots in the bayous are around wreck and rig markers. Pay attention to the water color, and look for grassy patches in green colored water.
Nicole notes to also be on the lookout for schools of small, floating fish; this is usually where the wahoo linger. No need to inspect the water for what kind of bait fish is there. You can assume wherever you see a large amount of floating fish, there is a pack of wahoo nearby. Just pull up and cast out, and you’ll likely get a good and fast hard bite.
If you aren’t having much luck finding a pack of wahoo, try switching up your direction as the wahoo may be swimming in a particular direction deeper down the current.
Use Live Bait
Jacki says when it comes to setting up your rig for wahoo, it’s best to use deep diving live trolling bait that would normally be floating on the surface since this is what the wahoo are hunting. Our Salt Life fishing team members are fond of pogies which they set up behind trolling lures and sink down 40-60 feet into the water. Wahoo love the color pink so try rigging up a pink trolling lure. They have luck with blue and purple lures as well. Make sure to use a thick and strong line as wahoo can be really heavy and have incredibly sharp teeth. There’s nothing worse than hooking a monster wahoo only to have it bite through your line.
Get out there!
Now that you have all of the tips and tricks you need to go out and catch a big wahoo... what are you waiting for? Get out there and land one!