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Wahoo: Cowbells? Spread?

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Old 11-05-2018, 07:56 AM
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Default Wahoo: Cowbells? Spread?

Fishing out of Charleston.
As is the story of my life with fishing, I spend more money and collect more gear than I actually need:
That being said, I did acquire a couple Tiagra 50s this summer and would like to put them to use HST this fall/winter.
Now, time to drop a couple $ on lures.
What are the thoughts on the 32 oz cowbell lures? They say you can HST them without trolling weights. Is that true? Would appreciate some personal testimonials.
What's your favorite lure spread for a 3 line HST?
Anyone run a Yozuri bonita on your shotgun with a 32-48 oz trolling weight?
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Old 11-05-2018, 08:54 AM
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It's nice to see another fisherman who realizes that with this addiction, overspending on gear is part of the game. I have the best luck on the following lures when hunting Wahoo - marauders, Ballyhood cowbells or jetheads, and iLander (blue/white). I have success when there is variety in what I'm trolling. Putting out 3 or 4 of the same lure doesn't help but when I add variety to what we're dragging one of the lures will get bit first followed by the others. I don't normally put weights on what I'm trolling, however, if I don't have a lure like a DTX minnow that will swim deeper, I have sometimes added weight. For me, the conditions and the area that I'm in will have more significance than a particular lure. With that said, some get bit more than others. The iLander was the most hit lure the last time I took it out. Wahoo travel in small packs. When you get bit there will be a few more in the immediate area. We will cast out while we're bringing in bite on the troll. My preferred Wahoo casting lure is Captain Jimmy's Wahoo bombs. If the conditions are good, these lures will do very good. I fish the Gulf south of Mobile and the Pacific west of Mexico. Good luck with your trolling and looking forward to seeing pics of your monster catch!
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Old 11-05-2018, 08:57 PM
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The Yozuri Bonita is okay behind a 64 oz. trolling lead in the shortest position on the boat. The orange one seems to get hit more often in my waters.

I’m a big fan of the Red Eye Lures SB-3, also for a short position. I cut about 3” off the skirts and drag them behind a 48 oz. weight.

For the further back lures I like a Mr. Big, Wahoo Express or similar in the 9” range. Depending on seas these trail a 32 or 24 oz. trolling lead.

I’m one of the few here who is not a cowbell fan. They pull like tanks and aren’t as productive as my other lures so the extra fuel needed to drag them around just doesn’t pencil out for me. I never got one to run where I wanted it to without a lead. Many here say it needs to be WWB but due to the geography of my area I don’t have that position available.
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Old 11-06-2018, 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Outboard Fish View Post
It's nice to see another fisherman who realizes that with this addiction, overspending on gear is part of the game. I have the best luck on the following lures when hunting Wahoo - marauders, Ballyhood cowbells or jetheads, and iLander (blue/white). I have success when there is variety in what I'm trolling. Putting out 3 or 4 of the same lure doesn't help but when I add variety to what we're dragging one of the lures will get bit first followed by the others. I don't normally put weights on what I'm trolling, however, if I don't have a lure like a DTX minnow that will swim deeper, I have sometimes added weight. For me, the conditions and the area that I'm in will have more significance than a particular lure. With that said, some get bit more than others. The iLander was the most hit lure the last time I took it out. Wahoo travel in small packs. When you get bit there will be a few more in the immediate area. We will cast out while we're bringing in bite on the troll. My preferred Wahoo casting lure is Captain Jimmy's Wahoo bombs. If the conditions are good, these lures will do very good. I fish the Gulf south of Mobile and the Pacific west of Mexico. Good luck with your trolling and looking forward to seeing pics of your monster catch!
what's your trolling speed? If you're running 15 kts without a trolling weight, I would think a lot of your lures would be skipping?
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Old 11-06-2018, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by bonecrusher1 View Post
what's your trolling speed? If you're running 15 kts without a trolling weight, I would think a lot of your lures would be skipping?
7-10 knots.
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Old 11-06-2018, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by bonecrusher1 View Post
Anyone run a Yozuri bonita on your shotgun with a 32-48 oz trolling weight?
I just fished the Yozuri bonita in the Keys last week. I ran mine at 15mph without any weight and had no problem with it skipping. I also tried a 32oz weight. preferred the no weight rig and had a vicious hit that left teeth marks in the Yozuri, but I lost it. I used the 8 1/4'' Yozuri
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Old 11-06-2018, 08:41 AM
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Subscribing to learn a little...and thought I'd ask as well.

I keep hearing about fuel in regards to trolling lures. Do these lures really create enough drag to make a noticeable difference in trolling GPH?

I haven't done much trolling, and no high speed.
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Old 11-06-2018, 08:48 AM
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Thanks for asking the question Shawn. I have newer Yamaha 300's on the Parker CC and I have not seen decreases in my fuel consumption when I troll in the 7-10 knot range. As I bring the speed up past 12-14 knots I begin to see a small increase in fuel usage. I am also interested in what others have experienced and what they've learned.
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Old 11-06-2018, 08:57 AM
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15-18 mph

Cowbells catch 75% of our fish. 4-5 rods.

Fuel never factors in to the trip, it is what it is,
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Old 11-06-2018, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by ShawnQ View Post
Subscribing to learn a little...and thought I'd ask as well.

I keep hearing about fuel in regards to trolling lures. Do these lures really create enough drag to make a noticeable difference in trolling GPH?

I haven't done much trolling, and no high speed.
I have a test setup to pull HST lures and measure the static drag. The 32 oz. cowbell pulled 11 pounds more at speed than my largest streamlined lure. OP said heís running 50ís, maybe not the best match with a big cowbell? The Bonita pulls pretty hard too but I canít measure it because of the swimming action. I think both are better suited for 80ís.

I am considering another go at the cowbells with some of the mini versions, any FHE?
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Old 11-06-2018, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by bonecrusher1 View Post
Fishing out of Charleston.
As is the story of my life with fishing, I spend more money and collect more gear than I actually need:
That being said, I did acquire a couple Tiagra 50s this summer and would like to put them to use HST this fall/winter.
Now, time to drop a couple $ on lures.
What are the thoughts on the 32 oz cowbell lures? They say you can HST them without trolling weights. Is that true? Would appreciate some personal testimonials.
What's your favorite lure spread for a 3 line HST?
Anyone run a Yozuri bonita on your shotgun with a 32-48 oz trolling weight?
1. Since the OP says he wants to HST for wahoo...and...

2. There are posters throwing out Iislanders and such... (which in my understanding will skip with HST)... and...

3. Since I know Lone Ono has been doing HST for just a little while... could we please get a definition of HST? - of the MINIMUM speed which defines HST for wahoo ? (that's your cue, Lone Ono, please. 30 years of HST for wahoo suggests you might have an idea).

I only bring this up so we have some clarity on just what is HST, so as not to muddle up this topic (with Iislanders) which we aspire to, if not master - at least, find some success. Outboard fish: no offense, I just think you're introducing apples into an orange discussion.

For what it is worth, in my mind's eye, HST is 14 kph to 18 kph, or higher if your lure swims without skipping. This, I have determined after a lot of reading and asking questions locally. I might be completely off-base and I humbly ask y'all to correct me if I am out in left field.

Anyhoo, great question OP and eagerly look forward to more replys,

Cheers, T.
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Old 11-06-2018, 11:27 PM
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Not fair T., calling me out on something that can’t be defined. To me HST is traveling as fast as the water conditions allow while maintaining good lure presentation. 14 knots is often thrown around as the entry level for HST, and I mostly agree with that. I will run as low as 12 knots if that’s all the water will allow, any less than that I’m out. I peak out around 18 knots. I could run higher speeds with higher drag sets and heavier leads but never felt the need. If I fished in flat water I prolly would go a little faster.

Just driving fast doesn’t put much fish on the boat though. The real key for me is taking multiples from the same pack. Finding them takes most of my time. When you find them you have to keep hitting the pack repeatedly at the same speed that got the first one to bite. Hanging one out to dry every ten minutes or so for an hour is just too much fun.

Islanders are pretty common in HST. Behind a lead they stay down like anything else. Don’t know a specific name for them but people run Islanders over a size 50 trolling skirt with an egg sinker stuffed up in the skirt. “Bahama Mamas” or something like that.
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Old 11-07-2018, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by trejsic.mejsic View Post
1. Since the OP says he wants to HST for wahoo...and...

2. There are posters throwing out Iislanders and such... (which in my understanding will skip with HST)... and...

3. Since I know Lone Ono has been doing HST for just a little while... could we please get a definition of HST? - of the MINIMUM speed which defines HST for wahoo ? (that's your cue, Lone Ono, please. 30 years of HST for wahoo suggests you might have an idea).

I only bring this up so we have some clarity on just what is HST, so as not to muddle up this topic (with Iislanders) which we aspire to, if not master - at least, find some success. Outboard fish: no offense, I just think you're introducing apples into an orange discussion.

For what it is worth, in my mind's eye, HST is 14 kph to 18 kph, or higher if your lure swims without skipping. This, I have determined after a lot of reading and asking questions locally. I might be completely off-base and I humbly ask y'all to correct me if I am out in left field.

Anyhoo, great question OP and eagerly look forward to more replys,

Cheers, T.
Good points.
Maybe I should refine or clarify by question that instead of HST, how about "whatever lures catch the most wahoo and whatever speed that is". But you're right, that will really muddy that waters, and yes, I was asking specifically about HST which I would define as you do, 13-18 (depending on a few factors). And you're also correct in that HST requires specific lures/gear or your baits will be waterskiing.
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Old 11-07-2018, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Lone Ono View Post
Not fair T., calling me out on something that canít be defined. To me HST is traveling as fast as the water conditions allow while maintaining good lure presentation. 14 knots is often thrown around as the entry level for HST, and I mostly agree with that. I will run as low as 12 knots if thatís all the water will allow, any less than that Iím out. I peak out around 18 knots. I could run higher speeds with higher drag sets and heavier leads but never felt the need. If I fished in flat water I prolly would go a little faster.

Just driving fast doesnít put much fish on the boat though. The real key for me is taking multiples from the same pack. Finding them takes most of my time. When you find them you have to keep hitting the pack repeatedly at the same speed that got the first one to bite. Hanging one out to dry every ten minutes or so for an hour is just too much fun.

Islanders are pretty common in HST. Behind a lead they stay down like anything else. Donít know a specific name for them but people run Islanders over a size 50 trolling skirt with an egg sinker stuffed up in the skirt. ďBahama MamasĒ or something like that.
Outboard Fish, please accept my apologies, my ignorance has ME muddying the waters.

Lone Ono, I hope you're just joshing me about calling you out - I view that as a bad thing and I would not want that. To me it makes more sense to ask an experienced fisherman for clarity than not...so tag, you're it. Price you have to pay for your success LOL, so thank you for your ample generosity and willingness to mentor us rookies.

Have you tried a big 200 Nomad DST yet ? We caught some dolphins with them but could not keep them down past 12-13 kph. We'll see down the road, it was petty rough that day.

OP, I'm gonna send you a little present to help you as you stick your toe in the water, PM me if your interested.

Cheers, T.
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Old 11-07-2018, 03:03 PM
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TM - thank you for apologizing, not required but appreciated. I am okay with you calling my comments apples on an orange discussion, however, let's at least make them honey crisp apples.

The goal is to catch fish. I am always open to new ideas and am happy to share what I'm using and doing. I am also interested in what others are doing as it may help me catch more fish. I have better success in the 7-10 knot range than I ever did in the higher speeds. To me, 7-10 is an appropriate trolling speed. I do get it that it's not as fast as others troll and catch fish.
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Old 11-07-2018, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by bonecrusher1 View Post
Fishing out of Charleston.
As is the story of my life with fishing, I spend more money and collect more gear than I actually need:
That being said, I did acquire a couple Tiagra 50s this summer and would like to put them to use HST this fall/winter.
Now, time to drop a couple $ on lures.
What are the thoughts on the 32 oz cowbell lures? They say you can HST them without trolling weights. Is that true? Would appreciate some personal testimonials.
What's your favorite lure spread for a 3 line HST?
Anyone run a Yozuri bonita on your shotgun with a 32-48 oz trolling weight?
I have caught a lot of wahoo with cowbells, they will troll up to about 18 knots with no lead only if it is flat calm, if there is any chop what so ever you need to run a trolling lead and shock chord. I run 48 oz Supreme cowbells and use 64 oz trolling leads with wire (they do get hit) on my bent butts and 80 wides, take a lot of drag.
However with that said ive noticed bigger wahoo hit while going slower and trolling ballyhoo with a sea witch and planer, so ill use the high speed set up to cover ground and throw some 30-40 pounders in the boat and then go over the areas where I had success with the planer and ballyhoo. I have actually had a 60+ pounder hit my cowbell when I stopped the boat and it was sinking really fast. So that's what lead me to believe the big boys are slow and deep and its proven true. Not to say you cant catch a big boy high speeding because it does happen... im just saying my success rate has been much better low and slow....one planer rod or off the cleat, one with a big trolling lead, and two off the outriggers. Ive filled my boat and known guys to catch 30+ wahoo with nothing but ballyhoo.....its all about location and finding where they are schooled, which is where the highspeed is useful.
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Old 11-07-2018, 08:04 PM
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Do you “no lead” guys run also use a heavy anchor and no chain?
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Old 11-08-2018, 03:37 AM
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Originally Posted by ShawnQ View Post
Subscribing to learn a little...and thought I'd ask as well.

I keep hearing about fuel in regards to trolling lures. Do these lures really create enough drag to make a noticeable difference in trolling GPH?

I haven't done much trolling, and no high speed.
no they don't...however its the speed you need to go that burns fuel. Your boat planes at 17-20 mph which may be a bit fast to troll depending on the conditions and how much drag your reels have. However between 13 - 17 mph your going to be burning a lot of fuel compared to being on plane at 17+ mph. If the weather is rough I find a good alternative is 12 knots...this keeps the fuel burn low and still allows you to pull the lures fast enough to cover some ground, however you will see some bi-catch at this speed from barracuda or kings depending on where you fish.
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Old 11-08-2018, 09:21 AM
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I trolled my cowbells for the first time up to 16 knots and they didn't skip the water. How far back to you guys usually run the cowbells. I think I've read people do them WAAYY back. Whats way back?? 300 ft? 500 ft?
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Old 11-08-2018, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by e_deher View Post
ive noticed bigger wahoo hit while going slower and trolling ballyhoo with a sea witch and planer.
question? when you are pulling planers with a longer leader, how are you bringing the fish in to the boat? I assume you have to manually unhook the planer and bring it in by hand? Guess what I am getting at is in a smaller boat even going to the bow and hoping your gaff man has enough room before you come tight on the planer the the rod.
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