Wahoo Fishing – Slow Trolling with Mike Dupree

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Instructor: Mike Dupree
Categories: Saltwater , Wahoo

Unearth the secrets of slow trolling for wahoo with Capt. Mike Dupree. From gear intricacies to bait preferences, dive into the art and science of capturing this elusive predator, all while maximizing your sport fishing experience.

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Video Summary:

  • Introduction: Dive into the world of wahoo fishing and the art of slow trolling.
  • Wahoo's Life: Understand the predatory behavior, habitat, and diet of the wahoo fish.
  • Tactics and Techniques: Learn from Captain Mike Dupree’s expertise on tackle, gear, and slow trolling.
  • Satellite Data: Using satellite data to isolate productive areas.
  • Trolling Dynamics: Get insights on trolling patterns, water temperature, and tide effects.
  • Focus on Tackle and Bait: Detailed breakdown of rods, reels, line, leaders and must have equipment
  • Using Planers: The role of trolling planers and bridling techniques.
  • Bait and Lures: Discover the importance and techniques of using ballyhoo for wahoo fishing.

In the vast expanse of the ocean, where the waves whisper tales of the past, there emerges a lone predator, the wahoo fish. And when it comes to mastering the art of catching this elusive creature, none come close to the expertise of Capt. Mike Dupree. Drawing from his extensive experience, Dupree provides an unparalleled guide to wahoo fishing, focusing on the method he champions: slow trolling.

It was once noted that the best fishing in North Carolina happens during the Spring and Fall. These seasons witness the great migration, a dance of nature where bait fish move, and with them, the wahoo. As predatory pelagic fish, wahoo aggregate in schools for feeding, whether they're juvenile or mature. It's a simple logic: where there's bait, there's wahoo. These bait fish, you see, associate with structures, and the wahoo? They lie in ambush, hanging deeper in the water column, ever ready to launch a swift attack.

Into the Depths: The Wahoo Fish

The wahoo fish (Acanthocybium solandri), a lone predator, is a predatory pelagic species. These magnificent creatures tend to aggregate in schools when feeding. Despite their tendency to disperse as they mature, they often concentrate around structures, driven by their insatiable hunger.


Even as wahoo mature and become more dispersed, they still will be found in concentrations on structure.

Mike Dupree

These predators hang deep in the water column, ever vigilant and always ready to attack their prey. Their diet is varied, consisting of shad, flying fish, sardines, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, and blackfin tuna.

The Best Times and Places for Wahoo Fishing

Wahoo fishing in North Carolina is especially fruitful in the Spring and Fall. This period coincides with the seasonal migration patterns of baitfish. Mike reveals his favorite spots to intercept these migrations. While wahoo can always be found in North Carolina waters, their numbers significantly increase during migration periods.

The Art of Slow Trolling for Wahoo

Slow trolling for wahoo is an art, and it bears resemblance to trolling for dolphins. However, the devil is in the details:

  • Wahoo Trolling Speed: Ideally, one should troll between 6-8 knots.
  • Trolling Setup: Combine surface baits and lures while trolling planers.
  • Efficiency: Slow trolling proves to be more fuel-efficient and safer.

Mike Dupree breaks down the philosophy of slow trolling and details about fishing tackle, gear, rigs, and trolling setup. He emphasizes that slow trolling is not as widespread as high-speed trolling, but understanding its fundamentals can yield significant results.

Understanding Water Dynamics

Water temperature plays a pivotal role in wahoo fishing. Mike's expertise doesn't stop at mere observation. He delves deep into the scientific, advocating the use of satellite data—like sea surface temperature (SST), chlorophyll, altimetry, and currents—to pinpoint those productive areas where wahoo are most likely to be found. Tidal patterns, currents, moon phases, and even barometric pressure are all factors in his playbook.


Using satellite data like sea surface temperature (SST), chlorophyll, altimetry, and currents to pinpoint productive areas is something I highly recommend.

Mike Dupree

Furthermore, tidal patterns influence wahoo activity. The mantra is clear: fish in moving water.

Trolling Patterns and Directions

Slow trolling, though not as widespread as high-speed trolling, holds a special place in Dupree's heart. He passionately breaks down the fundamentals of a smart trolling pattern, advising against the monotony of a straight line. Instead, he delves into the art of understanding the currents—whether to troll with them, against them, or even parallel to them. Recognizing bite patterns relative to your trolling direction, he says, is the secret to a bountiful catch.

Essential Equipment on Board

Must-Have Items on the Boat:

  1. Sunglasses: Especially with polarized lenses tailored to different weather conditions.
  2. Safety Equipment: Always prioritize safety.
  3. Tools: Essential for any unexpected situations.
  4. Snacks & Water: Stay nourished and hydrated.
  5. Extra Leaders: Be prepared for any situation.

Mike's emphasis on terminal tackle shines through when he details the rods and reels he prefers for wahoo fishing. The ferocity of the wahoo demands robust rod construction and a deep understanding of line and leaders.

The Magic of Planer Fishing for Wahoo

Planer fishing for wahoo is a game-changer. Mike emphasizes the role of trolling planers and the ease they bring when bridled on your line. Learn how planers work, the advantages of using planer bridles, and how they can significantly increase your catch rate. Get a clear understanding of planer sizes, diving depths, the merits of painting your planers, and how to rig them effectively.

Bait and Lures: The Key to Success

Ballyhoo stands out as the bait of choice, especially when fishing with planers. Mike elucidates on rigging techniques for ballyhoo and the colors that yield the best results. He also touches upon lures, particularly their role in the trolling spread.


Develop bite pattern recognition. Think about the direction of your trolling pattern and the lure color that is getting eaten.

Mike Dupree

Rigging Ballyhoo for Wahoo Fishing

Ballyhoo stands out as the bait of choice for wahoo fishing, particularly when paired with planers. Mike's technique on rigging ballyhoo for wahoo fishing is nothing short of artistry. The bait is meticulously prepared, the hook rig inserted, and all those minute details that make for a perfectly rigged bait are attended to.


In the end, as with many things in life, success in wahoo fishing boils down to two things: preparation and pattern recognition. As Mike Dupree often says, it's about understanding the direction of your trolling pattern, recognizing which lure color is getting the most attention, and always, always being prepared for anything. Wahoo fishing is an art, and like all arts, it requires patience, observation, and the right tools. With Mike Dupree's invaluable insights and techniques, you're well on your way to mastering the art of wahoo fishing.

For those passionate about the sport, understanding the wahoo and the techniques to catch them is a journey of continuous learning. Dive deeper, ask questions, and always be prepared. As Mike Dupree often emphasizes, in the world of wahoo fishing, knowledge and preparation are the keys to success. Join us by subscribing to inthespread.com for more insights and comprehensive video tutorials on sport fishing. Happy fishing!

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Mike Dupree

Captain Mike Dupree, a premier angler and filmmaker, is known for his passion for fishing and sharing his experiences with the X-Rayted Fishing Team. He combines his love for the outdoors with authenticity and adventure, capturing moments on camera to immortalize them. Slick's dedication to honesty and transparency makes him a respected figure in the local fishing community.

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