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Planer or downrigger for wahoo?

Looks like were gonna trailer from Tampa to Stuart week after next and try to harass as many of you east coast guys fish as possible. Last time over there we were able to dial in on the phins and bft pretty good. I'd like to add a wahoo to the mix this time. Any advice on how to set one line in the spread up for these guys. I have a manual downrigger (but it's a pain) and planers. Which do you prefer and what kind of depth should I run them at? I figured I'd start out with a rigged ballyhoo and then if we catch any bonita on our tuna assassins we'd try a strip bait. Any help is appreciated since us west coast guys only get a chance at a wahoo a couple times a year.


  • e-moneye-money Posts: 4,258 Captain
    Push Button Hill has some wahoos for sure.
    IMHO Downriggers, Planers, Zwings & Wire rods all catch wahoo.

    If you use a "rigged" ballyhoo, go large, double hooked and gently break his back-bone, so he swims.

    On strip baits, a pink sea witch,and red/black islander works well.
    Rigged mullet get drilled on all of the above.
    To help your odds, look at time of day, tides, moon phase and barometer.
    PS : Often best to get out early on a falling tide.:thumbsup
    USCG Freelance Licensed Captain
    20 years experience Offshore & Bahamas ( Sailfish, Dolphin, Wahoo, Swordfish & Bottom Fish.)
    (I teach people how to be more effective AND catch MORE and BIGGER fish on their own boats!)
    [email protected]
  • fletchsterfletchster Posts: 22 Greenhorn
    e-money, thanks for help. I never would have thought that the tides would have an effect on them in that deep of water, real good to know. I know my planer only gets down to about 35 or 40ft so if I use my downrigger is there a preferred depth or is that dependent upon the depth of water your in?
  • brianbbrianb Posts: 2,509 Captain
    Thanks E-money.
  • Plane Fish nPlane Fish n Posts: 6,439 Admiral

    Thanks for the info buddy.

    You know.. I rig my own hoo's and always used small sized with single hook and I do break the back so I get a wiggle out of them. I usually skirt them with red and black or purple and black molcraft/williamson's or something like that.

    I am going to try the double hooked hoo's. Thanks much.


    I personally use a downrigger when I want to control depth or go a bit deeper and I use a #1 planer to keep the bait slightly shallower.

    Like E$ says, they all will catch and I am still learning from him. Check out his posts.. they are awesome!

  • fletchsterfletchster Posts: 22 Greenhorn
    I really appreciate the info guys. I had never seen on of those z-wings e-money was talking about until I googled it. I may try to pick one of those up only because my downrigger is on a mount that fits in a rod holder. It's a pain to use because I really have to watch the waves due to the fact that it has actually broke a rod holder because that ball is too much weight. That wing looks like a good idea. Any of you used one much?
  • isla21isla21 Posts: 2,115 Officer
    Get a backing plate on your rod holders. You can run a planer off of your downrigger also. Take a ride down to Rays in Boca, They will point you in the right direction.
  • bmoodybmoody Posts: 1,012 Officer
    In my limited experience, you don't have to get that far down the water column. If a planner is your simplest way to go use it. I cleat mine off and use shower curtain rings. But I don't hard core high speed like E$. A cedar plug and dead baits rigged on heavy heads have caught most of my wahoo.
  • jah sonjah son Posts: 236 Officer
    I like a seawitch or Ilander in dark colors over a ballyhoo, behind a planer. Waaay back off the outriggers works as well.

    Downriggers seem to have a lot of blowback at the 6-8kts minimum I like to troll, so I don't use them much. I pull a #4 planer in-line on 80# braid.

    If you pull teasers, run meat right behind it. It'll get munched!
    Knowing is half the battle. The other half is violence.

    9 out of 10 times alcohol IS the answer.
  • fletchsterfletchster Posts: 22 Greenhorn
    Thanks a lot for all the info guys. Looks like it's gonna be a little nasty when we are over there next week. I think I'm going to use a planer off a cleat so that downrigger doesn't beat my little boat to death in 6ft seas.
  • jah sonjah son Posts: 236 Officer
    Hey E-Money, hpw do you run a Mullet? Wire, with a trolling lead, planer?

    And how do you run a z-wing (cleat?)? I just bought one but have never used it...
    Knowing is half the battle. The other half is violence.

    9 out of 10 times alcohol IS the answer.
  • roweryborowerybo Posts: 2,091 Officer
    Recently there have been plenty of hoos around. A split tail mullet on a planer or downrigger is sure to get a look.
  • blf212blf212 Posts: 243 Deckhand
    You can use the zwing off the down rigger or cleat if you don't have one.

    I have caught fish using it but I have always been suspect whether it scares fish away or attracts them because off the drag created.
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