This is a cross-post from our sailing blog FetchinKetch http://fetchinketch.net I am guessing it will be quite a while before I run into another wahoo this big!
The winds last night were light and variable, but enough to keep moving. We kept push on until about noon, when they dropped the less than 4 knots, so we fired up the diesel to keep moving. Now, we are in the full blast of the Gulf Stream, we are being pushed along by a current of between 3 and 3 1/2 knots. Our cruising speed under power is about 6.5 knots, so we are flying along at almost ten relative to the ground.
Much more sealife visible around the boat today. Several pods of dolphin, lots of flying fish. Karen even spotted a turtle. We took some time to set the fishing lines this afternoon.
Karen woke me from an afternoon nap (Hey, this Captain stuff is hard work!) to look at what she first thought was a whale, which turned out to be another group of dolphin. A few minutes later, the drag on one of the rods screeches the announcement: We have been bit! I throw the engine into neutral, and on my way to the stern, I see it is the “big” rod. The largest lure, trolled the deepest with 80lb wire.
Karen clears the other lines out of the way, and all I can do is hold on while line peels off the reel, and the fish dives deep, violently shaking his head trying to throw off what he thought was going to be a tasty dinner.
Half way back to the surface, he dives again. Pulling 80lb strength wire rapidly off the reel. For a little bit he runs back toward me, and I think he has gotten off, but getting the line tight again, he’s still there.
I have since learned that this is a common wahoo trick and results in a lot of fish being lost as they shake off the slack line. To help prevent this, keep the boat in gear as you fight a wahoo. Its forward motion will help keep the line tight.
A few more shorter runs, and I get him up to the side of the boat. It’s a big wahoo. A REALLY big wahoo. Karen is ready with the gaff, and gets a perfect head shot. She hands the gaff to me. While I hold his head up, she dispatches the fish by squirting vodka in his gills. He’s heavy enough getting him up over the rail takes all I have.
We didn’t weigh him, but did bring up the tape measure. 5 feet 5 inches. Steaks and fillets now fill our freezer!
For those of you who may not know the wahoo, it is a long, streamlined member of the tuna family. One of the fastest swimming fish in the ocean, with a mouthful of razor sharp teeth. Their modus operandi is to lurk deeper in the water column, looking up for their prey. They charge up from below at close to 50 miles per hour, chop the unlucky target in half with those fearsomly sharp teeth, and come back for the pieces.
Here is what we caught him on. This lure was new and unmarked when it went in the water…
In Hawaiian the are call “Ono”, which also means “delicious”, which they are!