High Speed Wahoo Fishing in West End, Bahamas – Wahoo migrate through the Bahamas in impressive numbers between November and March every year. While wahoo fishing is typically excellent in all parts of the Bahamas this article will focus on fishing near West End and Bimini. Due to the proximity to Florida, West end and Bimini tend to be the most popular wahoo grounds for Florida based fisherman. During the winter months it is not uncommon to see boats with 10 or more Wahoo over 50lbs while you walk the docks at popular marinas such as Blue Marlin Cove or Bimini Big Game Club. The primary obstacle when trying to plan a Bahama Wahoo trip is timing the weather so the seas are crossable. During the winter months, the prevailing winds are typically between 15-20 knots from the north. Due to this, the gulf stream can be very rough making it extremely difficult and dangerous for small boats to cross. Because it is so difficult to cross to the Bahamas during the winter months, the waters off of West End and Bimini receive very little pressure 95% of the time. Anglers with flexible schedules are by far the most successful wahoo fisherman. You must be ready to roll, with only a day or two notice when a favorable weather window is available. Unfortunately, favorable weather windows are typically between 1 and 2 days long so most trips are typically short.
West End Wahoo Fishing – Now that you have crossed, refueled, and cleared Bahamian customs the fun can begin. The most productive wahoo grounds are along the western edge of the little Bahama bank to the north of Old Bahama Bay at West End. When viewing the map, one can see the bottom topography transitions from the very flat and shallow sandy bottom of the little Bahama bank to very deep ocean in approximately ¼ mile. This drop off or edge creates incredible structure to congregate lots of big wahoo. This edge runs from Old Bahama Bay all the way up to Matinella shoal or more commonly refereed to as the corner, approximate 50 miles due north of Old Bahama Bay.
Hover Over the image to see the locations we talk about below.
This 50 miles stretch of drop off is a large area to fish. The three most popular sections of the edge/drop off to fish are commonly referred to as Sandy, Memory Rock, and White Sands. The reason these sections are the most popular is because the ledge is very dramatic in these areas and there are landmarks for fisherman to reference.
Sandy Cay Area – only 8 miles north of West end, this section of the edge is closest to west end. This area is called sandy as it is in 150-500 feet of water due west of the small island called Sandy Cay which serves as a land mark for fisherman. While this is not my favorite location to fish, this is the only place I have ever caught 6 Wahoo in under 20 minutes(Quad on the first pass, and double on the second).
Memory Rock Area – at 20 miles north of west end, this section is the second closest to West End and usually one of my go to areas. This area is in 150-500 ft of water due west of Memory Rock which serves as a landmark for fisherman. One of best reasons to fish Memory rock is there is also excellent deep drop spear fishing near there. Which can be a productive way to kill an hour or two during a tide change.
White Sands – at 35 miles north of west end, this section is the furthest from the west and and one of my favorite areas to fish in all of the Bahamas. In my opinion, the edge is the steepest near white sand. Due to this, this area is known as a consistently good area to target wahoo. While there is not a island to use as a land mark, most modern chart plotters will highlight this area on the map.
South of Old Bahama Bay – I typically do not fish the drop off that parallels the coast from old Bahama Bay and south. The primary reason: there is not as much water flow compared to the area north that lines the grand Bahama bank. Because the grand Bahama bank is relatively unobstructed by land masses the water is able to flow freely creating additional current. When fishing to the south you are fishing parallel to grand Bahama. The large land mass of grand Bahamas acts as a damn and reduces water flow.
Bimini Wahoo Fishing – Bimini is surrounded by excellent wahoo fishing, and while you walk the docks you will often hear many captains debating weather the north of south will hold better fish on any given day. I Personally always let the winds dictate which area I fish,
Fishing North of Bimini – when I fish north of Bimini I focus on the edge that runs west to east near great Isaacs light. I tend to fish this area if seas are moderately choppy and winds are are out of the north or south. This is because you will always be trolling with the seas on your beam, which is much easier and more pleasant than high speed trolling in a head or following sea. This edge starts just west of Isaacs and continues all the way to the ginger breads.
Fishing South of Bimini – When fishing south of Bimini the ledge runs from north to south. I tend to focus on this area if the wind and seas are out of the east or west as this will prevent high speed trolling in a head or following sea. In the southern direction the ledge goes for many many miles al the way to the southern tip of the Great Bahama Bank.
Time Depth and Tides:
The Wahoo bite in the Bahamas is best during low light conditions with a strong outgoing tide. However, the fish are not nearly as picky as their brothers who live off the coast of FL. I have caught many fish during incoming tides in the middle of the day. When fishing the Bahamas I don’t worry about the moon phase as much, as good crossing conditions.
If I had to pick a single depth to troll in a straight line, it would be 175 ft. However, there are many days where you will find them deeper, and some when you find the fish shallower. But for the best and most consistent results you should focus your efforts on covering lots of ground until you find where the fish are holding. To cover ground I troll in a zig-zag pattern between 150 and 450 feet of water. In many of the very good fishing spots in the Bahamas the ledge is so steep that it feels like you are maybe only zigging and zagging 100 feet, but do your best to stay in that depth and you will be rewarded.
The Bahamas, may have one of the worlds healthiest barracuda fisheries in the world. If you have any doubt about this troll you lures in less than 150ft of water and you will soon agree. I specifically try to avoid going too shallow to prevent barracuda by catch.
While wahoo can be caught tolling at any speed, they are one of the fastest fish in the ocean. Wahoo do not have a problem destroying baits that are pulled upwards of 20 mph. I prefer to high speed troll between 15-20 MPH(speed over water) depending on seas and current. When trolling with the current, your GPS speed will likely be at the top of the range or possibly even above. When trolling against the current, your GPS speed will be at the lower end of the range. With all that being said, your boat will have the final say on your trolling speed. Every hull is different, and each will have a sweet spot.
Bahamas Wahoo Trolling Spread – generally speaking, large lures are more productive when fishing in the Bahamas. Due to the light fishing pressure, and the sheer number of large aggressive fish in the area.
Shortest Line(150 Ft behind boat) – I always run my heaviest trolling weights closest to the boat, The additional weight helps to keep the baits down below the prop wash. I run a 48oz trolling lead on my shortest line. From the trolling weight I run a 25ft shock chord made with mono. I always prefer to run my largest bait on the shortest line. This will make it appear as the strongest and healthiest fish is the leader of the pack. My go to lure for my short line is a Hollow Point XL or Money Fish XL.
Second Line(200ft behind boat) – I run a 48oz or 32 oz tolling wieght on my second line. If the conditions are very calm, I will run a 32 oz as you do not need as much weight in calm seas. If it is rough, I will run a 48oz trolling weight to hold the lure deeper in the seas. My go to lure for my second line is a Medium Hollow Point or a Medium Money Fish.
Third Line(250ft behind boat) – I run a 16oz trolling weight on on my third line. Large weights are not required on longer lines as the additional distance from the boat allows the lure to run deeper compared to your shortest lines. My go to long line lure is a Mini or Medium Hollow Point.
Fourth Line(300ft behind boat) – Running a fourth line is 100% optional, many tournaments have been won using a three rod spread. I personally only run four lines if my crew is very experienced, as the complication associated with more lines can often cost you a fish. I run a 16oz trolling weight on my longest line. My go to long line lure is a Mini or Medium Hollow Point.
You should not run any lures more than 300ft behind the boat. If you run lines further back then 300ft it will take too long to reel a wahoo in, and the chances of getting sharked increase.