GULF COAST MED­LEY

Saltwater Sportsman - - Hunt For Ocean Tigers -

From Florida’s Pan­han­dle to the South Texas coast, an­glers find wa­hoo from Novem­ber through Fe­bru­ary in wrecks and oil plat­forms in 250 to 300 feet (35 to 40 miles out), on un­der­wa­ter mounds and float­ing oil rigs far­ther off­shore in late win­ter, and un­der float­ing grass in the sum­mer, when weed lines gather in the Gulf of Mex­ico, along the edge of the Loop Cur­rent.

Boats out of Pen­sacola and Or­ange Beach troll the 100-fathom curve, where the most dras­tic bot­tom fea­tures are lo­cated. Other fa­mous wa­hoo spots in the eastern Gulf in­clude the Oriskany, the Steps and Alabama Alps. And in Texas, no­to­ri­ous wa­hoo grounds, like East and West Flower Gar­dens and Stet­son Bank, lie 100 to 125 miles south­east of Galve­ston.

Some crews in the Gulf of Mex­ico opt for high-speed trolling with ar­ti­fi­cials on calm days, while oth­ers pull a sev­en­line spread com­pris­ing bul­let-shaped lures with rigged bal­ly­hoo, an Iland Ex­press or Sea Searcher smoker on a long shot­gun, and a pair of swim­ming plugs at a medium pace.

1. Lure and bait 350 feet back, off a rig­ger. 2. Lure and bait 300 feet back, off op­po­site rig­ger. 3. Lure and bait be­hind 24- to 36-ounce cigar sinker, 250 feet back, off clos­est gun­wale to long rig­ger. 4. Lure and bait be­hind 24- to 36-ounce cigar sinker, 200 feet back, off op­po­site gun­wale. 5. Yo-zuri Sashimi Boni­tas 150 and 100 feet back. 6. Smoker lure 400 feet back, off the tower or hard­top.

FYI: Best speed is 8 to 12 knots.

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