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Wahoo — I wonder who came up with that name? If fishermen named everything by the reaction it gave us, we’d have names like “frustrateds,” “holy cows” and “dagnabbits.” They are appropriate names for when a fish bites the line, your reel goes into a high-speed scream and you achieve an instant adrenaline rush.
Fall has long been considered a peak time for king mackerel fishing in our area. They are closer to shore and more accessible. They also have more history in our area. However, I have been beating the drums of the wahoo fishery for the past few falls and the fishery is continuing to get better.
I would say the fall wahoo season starts in September and reaches its peak from mid-October through Thanksgiving. We typically see numbers of 20- to 40-pound wahoo in the early part of the season, particularly October, but as we move into November the big boys show up.
There is no better time to target a 100-pound wahoo than the month of November. In the next month, we will likely see several fish in the 80-pound class with 60-pounders as near normal.
The wahoo will be holding along the edge of the continental shelf from 150- to 300-foot depths in 72- to 78-degree water. If you can find these conditions while also locating current rips or bait concentrations, then you will be where the wahoo are living.
The standard tactic is to troll rigged ballyhoo behind dark colored skirts, but trolling large lures at speeds in excess of 12 mph has also become popular. Wahoo are fast and trolling fast is a way to incite their predator instincts and trigger a strike. I hope to have more wahoo pictures in the coming month. I hope to be grinning beside a 100-pounder in one of the pictures.
The king mackerel fishing continues to be very good in our area, as well. The kings are holding in the 50- to 70-foot depth range, but I am looking for the large concentration to start moving to the 70- to 85-foot range very soon. There is a large cold front coming this weekend and the cooldown will likely push the fish offshore.
The large schools of menhaden that have been holding along the beachfront are dispersing and with them the bull drum are as well. This awesome fishery for large drum was great while it lasted and it may spark back up again, but not until the schools of bait come back to the beach.
One surprising find this week was the large concentrations of Spanish mackerel. Typically, we see the Spanish thinning out this time of year, but we have found them in large numbers the past couple of days in 35 to 45 feet of water.
That’s pretty much the state of our offshore fishery at this time. It is starting to get cool, but that does not mean it’s time to hang up the rod and reels. Pick your days and you can still get some great action.
I will not be writing for the next couple of weeks. My family and I will be down in Biloxi, Miss., fishing the Southern Kingfish Association National Championship tournament. We have fished this tournament for many years, having won in 2009 and 2011.We are planning to give it 100 percent this year in an effort to bring the trophy back to Brunswick County.
There are several teams from this area attending and I will try to provide results of how the Carolina teams did in the national competition.
Brant McMullan, a two-time winner of the SKA national championship, is a charter captain and fishing columnist for the Beacon. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.