Spanish mackerel and wahoo are by far one of the most targeted and sought-after pelagic species offshore, during our summer pelagic season. Not only do they taste great, they're also excellent sportfish that fight hard and fast.
Without a doubt the most successful and easiest way to catch these awesome sportfish is to troll, whether it be with lures, dead baits or live baits. It's easy enough trolling around generic lures, tackle and baits and catching a few fish, but there are ways to maximise your catch rates. Refining your gear, lures, rigs and bait and learning how and where to troll can make a huge difference to how many fish you can catch, and how big they are. There's no better feeling than setting out a perfectly righted bait or lure for a troll, finding a school of fish on the sounder, then turning back to watch your rods in anticipation before they fold over and scream off.
There are a lot of options when looking for a trolling set-up for wahoo and Spanish. Spin, overhead, long rods, short rods, braid or mono? It can be a little confusing, but in my experience the best set-up you can get is an overhead, either a star or lever drag reel in the 20-30 size range with a fast gear ratio, matched with a 7-8ft trolling rod in the 15-24kg or 24-37kg range.
Using a longer rod has several benefits. The first is manoeuvrability around the boat, as these fish can change direction or dart off quickly when boat side, and with a shorter rod you could lose them to the prop or hull. Setting baits and lures apart is also easier with a longer rod, and they're excellent for absorbing the lunges and headshakes during the fight. I also find, with the addition of mono to a longer rod, there's a good amount of stretch and a slightly slower take up of pressure to set hooks, which allows the fish to hit and turn before the pressure is applied and the drag screams off...