Thursday, January 19, 2012

Change in Season | Wahoo fishing

Wintertime blue water in northeast Florida is all about wahoo fishing. Guys who chase 'em know what I mean, a wintertime addiction... Experience tells you to be ready and when conditions line up, you've just got to go. Everything was lining up just right for this trip. C & H Mr Bigs and Wahoo Whackers, rigged and ready to go! And even better, it worked out that my son-in-law, Steve Grant, was able to come along as 1st mate on this trip.
Steve is no stranger to putting big wahoo in the box. We both learned from the best, Capt Don Combs- owner of C & H Lures.
We met our charter at 5:30 for departure, they had never fished the blue water before, do we knew they were in for an adventure. I think Steve and I were more excited than the charter- we knew we were prepared- and memories of wahoo past made for an hour and a half ride of pure anticipation to the break.
After the cool 64 mile run, we found a temperature break just inside the ledge. Time to put out the high speeds. C & H Mr Big white over blue, the C & H BAMF both occupy the riggers. The black and red Mr Big and Wahoo Whackers are on the flatlines. All rigged behind trolling weights with shock leaders- ready for action. Conditions were a little rougher than expected, 3-5' would be putting it nicely.
About a half hour into fishing, the black and red Mr Big gets slammed! Almost instantly, the white over blue Mr Big is also attacked. If you've never heard lines scream off a 70 when you are going 12 knots in one direction and a wahoo nails it going the opposite direction at 30 knots, you are missing out... Talk about something that will get the boat excited in a hurry.

Yeah man!
Double header.

Steve works hard to clear the other lines, as our anglers strap in for the fight. 1st fish comes in, textbook- rod tip up, secure the trolling weight, leader the fish up , for Steve to make the perfect gaff. 1st fish, in the low 30's, hits the deck, but we still have lots of work to do. This fish is acting like The Man. Even though our angler is inexperienced, he is hanging tough in rough seas and reeling like a pro. We finally see the fish as he approaches the boat- and he's a good one. I turned over the wheel so I could secure the weight and leader the fish. When the fish got within ten feet of the stern, he made a short dash, landing his head straight between the engines. Steve reacted quick, and sunk the gaff into his head. After getting a couple more hands on the gaff, he flew over the stern. Catch our Wahoo fishing shirt at Salt Life!

Wahoo baby!
This fish is pushing 80 pounds... - that's what I'm talking about! Even though fish over 120 lbs are caught each season off of the break in NE FL, we were pretty happy to have this one in the box. After a couple hours of more trolling in building seas to no avail, we decided to call it a day and make the 64 mile run home.
As each of the clients found their cozy spot for the ride home, Steve and I couldn't stop talking about new tactics we want to try and when we can get back out to he blue water to feed our deep sea wahoo addiction.

Wintertime Wahoo- now that's the Salt Life.

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