The Wahoo are Coming!

Trip Mattox PateRGBHere we go folks, September is upon us – it’s the last big hoorah of the summer.  The good news is we are heading into some of the best offshore action of the year here on the Crystal Coast!!

The dog days of summer are behind us, the water will begin to cool back down a bit, the bait will start to stack back up and our fishing is going to get better through the month.   We are headed right back into fall fishing and our area has a world class wahoo fishery in the fall.  As you may be able to tell, I get a bit excited about this time of year – we absolutely love to catch wahoo!  These fish have already made a decent start in August and it should only get better.  Once the hot water eases off and we begin to find more and more temp breaks offshore, the bait will congregate and the wahoo will gather around for the feast.  It is a pretty basic, simple equation – look for the bait in likely areas and you will find these fish.  Obviously it’s still fishing – some days the fish cooperate and some days they don’t – but the wahoo will be here and in good numbers.

My best suggestion is to rig up most everything on wire with #9 piano wire (not the hard stuff) being the best choice.  Wahoo are notorious for finding the one weakness in your spread – if you rig up with mono you might as well plan to lose a lot of tackle.  I prefer longer leaders of 18- to 24-feet, but you can cut that back to 12 feet if you are not comfortable on the leader. Just remember, more length equates to a stealthier approach.  Don’t worry about other species, mahi and blackfin and even sailfish will readily eat that ballyhoo rigged on wire if he is rigged and swimming properly.  As for baits, I generally like a larger presentation.  We run a select ballyhoo on the planer rod and the bridge pole with larger lures over them (islander or jag).  Dark color combinations tend to work well with red/black, blue/black and purple/black being the most common.  I also like to add at least one odd combination to the mix and prefer it to be a bold contrast like bright orange/black.  Find the temp break near the 20- to 50-fathom depths, look for piles of bait around ledges or drops and work those areas.  A little extra speed can help out some days if the fish are being difficult. Just experiment with it and you will find the right combination.

Other than wahoo, you may find some mahi hanging around and it is very common to see schools of blackfin popping up.  We actually see a fair amount of sailfish during the fall as well, so as always keep your eyes glued to the spread and watch those teasers!  If you even think you see something around the teaser, pitch a naked bait back to it and see what happens.

This bite will keep improving as we go through the month.  Get your tackle ready, these fish will test it like few others.  Watch the weather and pick you some good days – get out there and catch some of the most impressive fish in the sea (some of the best tasting as well!)  The Morehead City charter fleet is standing ready to take you and your group – give any of us a call and we will put you on the fish!

Capt. Troy Pate aboard the James Joyce II