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Fishing News/“Finding the Wahoo”

by Dr. Ken Neill, III

Oct. 2, most of my crew were busy doing other things so I took Dr. Julie Ball out after her first wahoo. I pulled a couple of baits on wire and the rest were big baits on heavy mono. We pulled the spoon on the planer rod and I broke out the down rigger and pulled a purple/black Islander on 400 lb mono off of it. I put out the spread and turned the cockpit over to Julie. She did a good job rigging baits and dealing with the scattered grass field that we were fishing in around the 200 line in about 50 fathoms. It turns out that I should have just pulled the two down rods. The baits with wire never got hit. The purple/black Islander was the hot bait until it got bit off at the end of the day. Our first fish was a 60 pound yellowfin.
Julie caught the fish giving her 6 over 50 pounds this year, which means something in her fishing club. I had it on the leader and was ready to stick it when I realized that I had a different crew. I knew I didn’t want anymore tuna and Julie doesn’t keep many fish. The fish was more than long enough for a release citation but she had already weighed one over 70 pounds last week. After some discussion, she decided one tuna would be okay. So I stuck him and brought him in and proceeded to drop him on my toe. A 60 pound tuna can hurt when you drop him on your toe! This fish was caught in the cold water in about 30 fathoms.
We didn’t want tuna so I didn’t even go back over that area. Around 50 fathoms, we found the wahoo. The purple and black down deep accounted for 3. The drone spoon caught another one plus we had the spoon pull on two others. I had a couple of baits cut off including that black/purple with purple head Islander. We are going to have to replace it. I had to special order that one. We also had several ballyhoo cut off- right behind the hook.
Overall, we had 10 or so wahoo bites. Julie was happy with her first wahoo. I weighed it on the boat scale and it looked like it was going to be a little shy of a citation, 33-34 pounds. She caught two more that looked about the same. Each was over the 50 inch minimum for a release citation but I never even considered it until I had already gaffed it.
Each time we would say, man we could have released that one. It became apparent that Julie was going to stay until dark if she did not get one that we knew was a citation. All of them were going to be close. Her 4th wahoo looked bigger but I wanted to go home eventually. I held it on the leader and we photographed it and we were going to release it. I hate releasing a wahoo but I didn’t want to gaff another 34 pound fish. Instead of cutting the leader, we opened the tuna door and just slid it in. The fish behaved very well. It was 50 pounds on the scale so in the box it went.
Back at the dock, the tuna weighed 59 pounds. Her big wahoo weighed right at 50 pounds and the other 3 just under 35 pounds. More photographs and then Julie asks if I want her to clean the fish. I told her she could give it a try. She knocked out the tuna while I was fueling up. I went to help, and yes I did clean a wahoo. While I did the smallest one, she did the other 3.
A sad thing is that not only was she a lot faster, she was a lot better. The really sad thing is, there were witnesses. I can’t even try for a cover up. For some reason, they thought it was funny. Good thing I am confident of my manhood (I think). Now Julie is calling me up to see if I need her to come and clean my fish even when she doesn’t go on the trip. I guess she thought it was funny too.
Ray Rainone, Larry Turner and Gary Donaldson ran out of Oregon Inlet. They had a fairly slow day around the 830 line. They did manage a few gaffer dolphin. Brent Meadors fished the 50 fathom curve a bit south of us. They only had two bites all day. They caught them both. Slow day but they did end up with two yellowfins.
Dr. Neill writes a weekly column for The Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman’s Association (

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