In the Florida Keys, wahoo gather over wrecks and along the slope of offshore mounts and reefs. Off Key West, veteran captains fish hot spots like the Sub, Wood’s Wall, Coalbin Rock, Rebecca Shoals, Cosgrove Shoals, Tail End Buoy, and the end of The Bar, a long reef off Boca Grande Key, where the bottom plummets from 30 feet to considerable depths over a short span.
Wahoo numbers in the Keys begin to build in autumn and peak in the winter, when some anglers troll strictly artificials at high speeds to cover more water and trigger strikes from fish competing with others in the same area.
Ballyhoo with Iland lures in front and one or two smokers like the Sea Searcher or Iland Express farther back are ideal for the task. Yet heavy-duty diving plugs, like the Rapala X-rap Magnum, Yo-zuri Sashimi Bonita or Mag Bay Desperado, trolled in a V formation and staggered at various depths cover the water column better without downriggers or planers.
1. Rapala X-rap Magnum 20 pulled 120 feet back. 2. X-rap Magnum 30 set 20 feet closer. 3. Another Magnum 30 placed 80 feet behind the transom. 4. Magnum 40 run 60 feet back. 5. If possible, add Yo-zuri Sashimi Bonitas or Mag Bay Desperados 175 and 150 feet back.
FYI: Recommended speed is 8 to 12 knots. Magnums troll slower but dive deeper than Bonitas and Desperados.