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Pre Winter Wahoo’s on the Gold Coast

For quite a few years, the Gold Coast has been a solid destination for those chasing Pelagics, and whilst there have been some decent catches this season – it looks as if the turbulent weather and change in climate has disrupted the once fruitful area.

Despite a strange season, one thing has not changed – the tenacity and determination of the local fisherman, who are often referred to as the Palmy Army.

The Palmy Army are in no way a club or an association, merely a group of kayak fisherman who share a passion for the sport in the area. Chances are; if you looked inside the Palm Beach Surf Club on a Saturday morning between 09:00 and 11:00, you find a few of them sipping lattes and discussing the days haul or lack thereof.

Some fisherman in the Palmy fraternity have shown their worth this year with their uncanny ability to land some serious fish; some incredibly difficult to catch fish. Wahoo.

Wahoo are one of the most highly coveted pelagic fish in sport fishing circles, particularly kayak fishing circles, owing to their phenomenal speed, razor sharp teeth and aggressive nature.

I caught up with a few of the Palmy Army to discuss the ins and outs of Wahoo fishing.

Duran Jacquelin was the first of the Palmy Army to successfully land a Wahoo this season. The young, but very experienced fisherman landed one of the largest Palmy Wahoo this season (large enough to straighten the hook on a 25 kilogram scale).

Duran managed to gaff this monster and put it into his hatch, after nearly an hour of fighting.

Duran HOO

Duran said that the main trace he uses for wahoo is a standard couta (Spanish mackerel) trace with 2 stingers, a home-made bait swimmer and a pink skirt.

Duran said “I try keep my lead trace wire as short as possible which all depends on the fish I am targeting and I never go more the 30cm and I always use a number 4 or 5 wire never any heavier.”

“Early morning or late afternoon is the best time to fish. I find the best time to pull lures is first up in the morning just as it is getting light and then after that I change to baits for the rest of the day,”

“I use 2 outfits normally they are the exact same; an overhead reel loaded with no more the 20lb line, and at the moment I am using two of the Poseidon Paddle Pro rods by Kingfisher. They are great rods”

“I also always carry a spin stick; I use this stick to jig for bait and flicking slugs at bust ups,”

“If I had one tip it would be spend your time on getting you bait to swim right. The better your bait looks the more fish you will catch. One of my favourite tricks is to pull my bait upside down - the theory behind it is that bait fish are dark on the top and silver on the bottom which helps his them from predators. When a fish is under them they are light and blend in with the surface of the water and when a fish is above them they are dark and blend in with the bottom, but if you reverse this and swim them upside down they stand out” said Duran.

The Next member of the Army to secure a Wahoo this season was Ant Wright; often referred to by the army as the General. This season Ant secured four…. Yes four Wahoo’s – Three of them landed in one single day.

Ant kept the smallest of his 3 Wahoo’s for dinner.


Ant said that he uses the standard ‘Safa rig- click here to see it’ with and without a pink skirt; for both dead baits as well as livies.

He said “I'm a morning person, I head out with just enough light so as the boats don't run over you.”

“With dead baits I like to troll fast, and with livies – the slower the better.”

“The wahoo go hard, with the big ones hard to lift once they go deep, but take your time bit by bit, light drag”

“My tip for first timers - Talk to the guys that catch them, look at their gear, rigs and methods and copy them. You know what they say ‘If at first you don't succeed, try and try again’ it will happen. Don't be sad about the one that got away, it lives for another day.”

Next on the list of Army Wahoo catchers was another veteran of the area, Chris Carnster, or better known on the kayak fishing forums as King Carnster.

Carnster landed this Monster at the end of April with live bait under his kayak.

Hoo00 copy

In response to my question about how he does it Chris said “lots of luck, plenty of line, drag not too tight and a live tailor or tuna is prime bait.”

“Also just keep paddling fast and also stop intermittently. April and May is a good time of year for them.”

No doubt Chris was right, because within a few hours of receiving this response I got word that Palmy local Rodney Pacitti had caught his first one. Rod – known as RodPac on the forums – earned his keep by making frequent visits to the reef during the weeks prior to landing this baby. It just so happened that Rod caught his first Hoo, on his maiden voyage on his new ski.


Rod said that his Wahoo was caught on a dead slimy mackerel trolling at 8 Kph.

“I have been chasing one ever since I saw Ant and Chris post them up on the forum last year. Back then I was fairly new to the Gold Coast when it comes to Kayak fishing and I had no ideas what to expect when I started. Once I saw them holding 1.3+ meter Wahoo up for show my expectations have skyrocketed. The more I’ve learnt this past year the more I have gained confidence in catching some of these monsters myself and when my chance came it was definitely an awesome experience. I must admit a big part of the fun for me is when I sit down at the table that night and feast on fresh fish with friends and family.”

“Early morning or dusk is better but to be honest I have caught fish most times of the day. I think I would almost prefer to be there at the change of tide rather than at a particular time of day,”

“As fast as you can paddle is the rule for me these days. I used to think I had to slow down but after Ant told me one day that I was paddling like an old woman I quickly changed my strategy! I can comfortably maintain a pace of around 8-9kms on the Profisha, that is what I was going when the Hoo struck. You just need to make sure your rig can take the speed otherwise you will end up with spinning baits. That’s a definite game over.”

The most recent Gold Coast kayak fisherman to pull one of these magnificent fish out of the depths was Clive Mathias – ‘Safa’ on many of the Forums.

Clive Hoo

Clive, like Ant and Chris, is also no stranger to landing Wahoo – Although this seasons haul is a new personal best for the local yak fisho.

Clive said that a waxing moon always fishes better than a waning moon for pelagics.

“For Wahoo I use a standard Pillie rig but upgraded with 38lbs swivel, the smaller the better (Shogun have a good one) and also using 38lbs wire single strand, pink skirt of course- but I do like to upsize it to a 6inch instead of the usual 4 inch.”

“Tuna (long tail) and Cobia (Black king fish) I think are the hardest fighters and can just trash your gear if they are big, they also more unpredictable than say the Mackerel or Wahoo.”

“Take what you will eat fresh within 2 days if possible ,enjoy yourself and don’t make fishing the primary objective ,then the fish will come .”

I hope this article has helped any aspiring Wahoo fisherman – and if you are ever on the Gold Coast be sure to drop me a line.

If you would like to watch Clives Wahoo Video Click Here.