Wahoo in January - Pensacola Fishing Forum

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Old 01-17-2013, 01:31 PM   #1
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Default Wahoo in January

A boat delivery that turned into a Wahoo story.....

Last month, a repeat customer of mine and good friend was looking for a small "pocket sport fisherman" after losing his last boat to Hurricane Issac. We found a nicely equipped 31' Cabo located in Wilmington, NC named "Seahorse Jr". We negotiated a fair price on the boat, then went up there to do the inspections. The boat checked out very well as the previous owner took very good care of her. We closed on the boat just before Christmas. I don't recall how it happened, but I "volunteered" to captain deliver the boat to her winter resting spot in Stuart, FL. Ultimately, the boat will go to her home port of Pass Christian, MS.

We waited a couple of weeks for a good weather window. The window opened on Jan 5. The crew consisted of me as first captain, Captain Jud Burkett of Ft. Walton Beach as second captain, and Devin Sanderson of Tampa as mate. The plan was to round Frying Pan Shoals and head south direct for Fernandina, FL to make fuel. Since we would need to cover 350 miles between stops, we took the conservative approach and ran slow and steady day and night. The weather forecast was 10 - 15kts, with seas 2' - 4' and subsiding - not bad for January off the banks of North Carolina. We departed at sunup after fueling and all systems were operating properly. After clearing the shoals, we set the autopilot for our destination and steadily made our way south at 7.5 knots. We knew it would take some time to complete the trip so we came prepared. We set out a couple of lines in search of finding one of those toothy speed demons that patrol the edge known as Wahoo!

Our Wahoo "prospecting set up" as I call it when covering great distances consists of (4) rods - 80lb gear with bent butts. Attached to each is one of our favorite bullet-shaped wahoo lures (email me for info on the secret lures at [email protected]). In front of each lure is a 25' long 300# shock leader attached to a cigar-shaped lead weight in either 48 oz / 64 oz / or 96 oz. We stagger them at 50 yds / 75 yds / 100 yds / 150 yds back so they don't get tangled. The heaviest weights are on the short lines. We then set the drag on the reels tight - maybe 25 - 35# so no "false alarms". And, trust me when I tell you that the wahoo have absolutely no problem stripping line off the reel when you can hardly budge it pulling with your hand. We were getting closer to the mostly likely spot to find a wahoo - on the edge where the depth drops off rapidly from 150' to over 300' deep. The chart platter shows it as the 50 fathom line. With many miles to go, we settle in for steady cruising when all of the sudden we hear that unmistakable sound of reel clicker and line screaming out......Zinnnnnnng!

Mate Devin looks at me and at exactly the same time we say to each other - "Yep, that's a Wahoo!" They hit with so much furry and determination. We slowly make our way to the screaming reel knowing that the more line the fish pulls out, the more likely we will catch him. This is because the extra line out creates its own friction and drag. If the makes a turn toward the boat the belly in the line will keep the hook set tight. We leave the rod in the holder and and Devin reels until we see the rod bending. It is now up to the captain to keep tension on the line. I pull the throttles back to idle and adjust my heading so that line is straight behind the boat. I slow the boat down just enough so the angler can gain line. But, I'm always at the ready to increase speed to insure no slack in the line which could cause the fish to spit the hook.

It is a tricky time as the fish gets closer to the boat. Wahoo tend to try to dart left or right or worse yet - run under the boat where they will surely get cut off by the props. As the fish gets closer, Capt. Jud takes a firm grip on the leader and holds the fish's head steady while Devin puts the rod down and gets the gaff. We try to gaff the fish near his head to best control the fish. It is a thing of beauty when everything goes as choreographed. The gaff man gets a good shot and controls the fish along side. We open the in-floor fish box, and in one effort, the fish comes over the rail and directly on the ice. This time all went as planned and a beautiful iridescent silver bellied fish with blue tiger stripes is now on ice - nice! High 5s all around and we rest assured with confirmation - there are definitely Wahoo to be caught off the coast of North Carolina in January.

We proceeded to catch 2 more before the sun set. The biggest one weighed about 70#s and the other 2 were closer to 50#s.

We successfully completed the delivery to Stuart. I can personally attest to the quality and fish catching ability of the 31' Cabo - she is an awesome little pocket sport fisherman. This one will be christened "Little Easy".

Capt. Matt Condon / Galati Yacht Sales
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Wahoo in January-capt-jud-mate-devin-70lb-wahoo-jpg   Wahoo in January-mate-devin-wahoo-jpg   Wahoo in January-31-cabo-underway-jpg   Wahoo in January-31-cabo-jpg  

Last edited by matttheboatman; 01-18-2013 at 12:43 PM. Reason: spelling changes
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Old 01-17-2013, 02:07 PM   #2
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Awesome!! That has me foaming at the mouth!! Great read. Sounds like a very fun delivery!!
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Old 01-17-2013, 02:15 PM   #3
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Nice read nice boat and nice fish man
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Old 01-17-2013, 02:40 PM   #4
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awesome fish.

Kevin
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Old 01-17-2013, 02:49 PM   #5
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Nice fish!
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Old 01-17-2013, 02:57 PM   #6
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Those are some good fish!!!
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:21 PM   #7
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nice hoos, read, & boat!! GG
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:33 PM   #8
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Sounds like an awesome trip, and got paid for doing it!
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:50 PM   #9
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And I know one of those made dinner!
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Old 01-17-2013, 04:25 PM   #10
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Awesome fish and a great looking boat as well.
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