Allen and I played hooky from work this week and did a quick trip in hopes of a wahoo or two and some sword fishing. We had a great time and checked all the boxes.
We knew things were good when a mahi free jumped right in the boat. If that fish was in an Olympic jumping competition it would have gotten a ten for form as its jump was pure poetry in motion. I wish I had a video. What a beautiful display, but it ended with a bit of a thud on the deck. Its luck was not all bad though as we quickly released it in hopes of catching it in more conventional fashion on a future trip after it puts on a few pounds.
Wahoo fishing got off to a quick start with the first fish on literally within 90 seconds of putting the first bait in the water. Man that fish made me look like a pro. I pulled back the throttle and said, “This is the place. Let’s start here.” Bam, fish on! It was like I had X-Ray vision. O.K., I was just plain lucky.
Here are a couple of shots of Allen with his quick start wahoo. That is going to taste great.
The sunset cruise to the sword grounds was nice and smooth. Sunset was beautiful and just as it faded to dark, we had a pod of porpoise come up to check us out. It was pretty cool. Video embedded below, but I noticed these are not embedding in the emails that go to blog followers so I added a link as well (or you can just view directly in the blog at: (http://www.bluewaterhowto.com))
We set up for sword fish just after dark and things were quiet until the moon came up at about 9:30. As soon as the moon came over the horizon we were hooked up. The fish came up to the surface and was streaking along towing the disco light through the darkness. Allen was on the rod and it seemed like a solid fish, but then it was gone. The hook and bait came back to the boat in good condition so it seems we were never really hooked to the fish. May have been wrapped around the bill or the fish may have just been holding the bait. Disappointing, but at least we were getting some action.
We redeployed the baits and were soon catching some z’s and storing up energy for the sword fights of which we dreamed. We were the only boat anywhere in the area without a single blip on the radar. I love mid week fishing.
About 11:30 the 80W goes off. Again, the fish is up on the surface trailing the disco light through the dark. The rod was in the bow and the fish was bee-lining it back around the transom to the other side of the boat so I had to go from fast asleep to full on fire drill trying to prevent a break off.
I was able to get the rod around to the transom and get in good position to fight this fish. Allen was up and helping me get into a fighting belt. Unfortunately, I took my eye off the ball as I tried to get strapped in and something went horribly wrong as the fish surged and the 80lb mainline snapped with a large bang. Shit! Not sure if it crossed the other line that was still out, hit something on the transom, wrapped the tip or what, but the fight was over. Not sure how big this fish was, but have you ever tried to break 80lb test line? It ain’t easy and this fish did it like it was dental floss.
I have been several times with zero bites. One or two bites a night is a good night. We had blown the first two with no guaranty of another. A little depressing, and it was disturbing our sleep with no reward.
We redeployed the baits and settled in for another nap. I was in the bow and Allen was in the cockpit when the transom rod started screaming drag. I got up yelling “Allen!” as I headed aft, but he was fast asleep. A few more exclamations and he was up and on the rod, alert as if it were high noon!
The fish put up a good fight, but Allen was on the job.
It was now occurring to me that there were just two of us and no flying gaff or harpoon. It might turn out to be a bit of a challenge to land this fish. Note to self, bring flying gaff next time! We were surprised when the fish came up that it was not as large as it seemed during the fight. On the smaller size, but this fish had heart. We had decided to release it to fight another day, but unfortunately it was bleeding profusely from the gills. This is one of the few times I have seen a circle hook catch deep in a fish rather than the corner of the mouth. Checking to make sure it met the legal limit we decided it was unlikely to survive so we brought it aboard and put it on ice.
Mission accomplished. Wahoo and swordfish in the boat. That was our goal.
As the sun came up we put out a spread and started looking for a weed line we had drifted through during the night. Water color was decent, but not great and no bites as we searched. When we finally found the line it was very scattered and presented a slow conversion from blue water to blue-green. We worked this for a while, clearing lines constantly, but had no luck so we packed up and headed north.
On the way home we put the high speed lures back out in search of another wahoo. We worked it for a while without any luck so we decided to change our position a bit and immediately saw a nice hoo skyrocket 12-15 feet out of the water scattering hundreds of flying fish. Again, I wish I had a video to share. That fish was a high octane hunter flying through the air like a jet fighter with its afterburners on. I swear you could see rippling muscles as his tail continued to pump in mid flight. The flying fish were in full on panic.
We brought the boat around pulling the baits through the kill zone and boom!, fish on. Yeehaw! Nice fish, now we have two wahoo in the box. My favorite fish to eat of any species, full stop.
We decided it was time to head home and get everything cleaned up so we stowed the gear and pushed the throttles down for the run back to the hill. On the way we ran across this interesting debris.
It looks to be a bulkhead, all from a boat and it has a coffin box for an EPIRB mounted on it. The hydrostatic release seems to have been tripped and the EPIRB released, but not any time soon as there was some growth on the debris and it was covered with small cobia and mahi. We played around for a bit catching a few of those and then continued on to home. We reported this to the Coast Guard primarily because it would suck for someone to hit that thing while running. Sounds like they were going to try to tow it in.
We flew the flags as we came through the pass.
Once we got the boat cleaned up (except for the squid that I apparently left in the fish box (yuck)), we set about making up that wahoo sashimi. The recipe is simple: Filet wahoo. Cut filet into small pieces. Eat after dipping in soy and wasabi. Lick lips. Pairs well with Ranger IPA 🙂
Great trip. Lots of fun. Good company. And watching that wahoo sky was worth the price of admission.
Until next time, catch em up!