Fluorocarbon leaders provide a “happy medium” for wahoo anglers

By Steve Carson

More long range anglers are opting for fluorocarbon leaders when fishing for wahoo. (Steve Carson)

SAN DIEGO – A possibly excellent solution to a long-running conundrum for anglers throwing iron jigs for wahoo is emerging this season. The choice for anglers targeting these sharp-toothed beasts has long been to use a wire leader and hope that the wahoo will not be spooked by it, or to use straight monofilament, and hope that the fish don’t bite you off.

It often seemed like the most productive rigging was whichever one you did not have tied on, but switching back and forth was frustrating.

A reasonable solution: Although not perfect, it looks like a 3-foot piece of 120-pound fluorocarbon leader material attached to the main line via a size 6 (163-pound test) Owner Dark Wahoo ring creates the “happy medium” that can maximize your wahoo catch rate. The invisible fluorocarbon definitely gets more bites from skittish wahoo than even 40-pound-test wire, and the heavy fluoro is reasonably resistant to bite-offs when used with iron jigs in the 6- to 12-inch range like the 5-ounce Williamson Benthos Jig.

You will still lose jigs to the wahoo’s razor-sharp dentures, but fewer than you would with the straight tied 40- or 50-pound monofilament that most anglers resort to when confronted with reluctant fish.

It should be noted that the heavy fluoro does not work at all with wahoo bombs, and experimentation is still ongoing in the area of live bait leaders.

The right mainline: The second part of the wahoo puzzle solution revolves around use of straight superbraid line attached directly to a 3-foot fluoro (or wire) leader for all jig and bomb casting at wahoo. The use of the non-stretchy 65- or 80-pound superbraid, and drag set snugly at 20 to 22 pounds will drive the hook solidly into the wahoo’s iron jaw in a way that even 60-pound mono just can’t do.

Caution is necessary when casting with straight braid for a number of reasons; most obvious is that getting a backlash with a spool full of superbraid is a true nightmare. Super-long casts are not needed, so take it easy.

Another thing to remember is to never make a cast with dry line, or you may end up with a severely burned thumb. Some of the silicone-based commercial line sprays like Line Tamer can be helpful as well. Last, when the wahoo is ripping line off your reel on its trademark 50 mph runs, don’t let yourself or others come into contact with the braid, as it can cut like a knife.