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The Hunt For Big Fish

Written by Merry Beth Ryan  

Florida Sport Fishing A Woman’s Quest for Wicked Wahoo Results in the Fish of a Lifetime

On the first weekend of February 2008, Lena Black, an avid angler from Pompano Beach, Florida, arranged a fishing trip to Chub Cay in the Northern Bahamas. Lena has been a member of the Ladies Let’s Go Fishing organization for six-years, and has been an avid angler for as long as she can remember.

With the peak of wahoo season approaching, Lena was looking forward to whipping a few wicked wahoo into submission. While February is, in fact, prime-time to target these ferocious predators along the bountiful Bahama Bank, little did she know that this trip would lead her to the fish of a lifetime.

It’s no surprise that Lena scheduled her winter wahoo trip to coincide with the hot-bite that occurs just off the coast of the Berry Islands. The Bahamas Wahoo Championship is well aware of the area’s reliable action as well, as Chub Cay annually hosts a leg of this prestigious multi-destination tournament.

Captain Art Kamm of the Reel Deal, a 45-foot Cabo, put Lena on some quality fish during their first day of fishing, however, they were plagued with cutoffs and pulled-hooks. On the second day of Lena’s trip, they decided to go searching for really big wahoo. Lena has caught many of these camouflage-killers in her angling career, but she has never landed a wahoo that could take the title of “Fish of a Lifetime.” That was about to change.

Florida Sport Fishing

The fishing started out slow on day two with the wind clocking around as a cold front was rapidly approaching. All of the other boats wahoo fishing were about to call it a day and head back to the marina, however, Lena and her crew had other plans. Never one to throw in the towel, Lena still had dreams of wrestling a fast and furious wahoo. After all, she was well aware of their speedy-capabilities and she was looking forward to subduing a monster.

As sea conditions continued to deteriorate, Captain Art had no choice but to make the decision to head towards the marina, but with Lena’s persistence, they left their spread deployed and trolled their way home. With the action slow, it was a great time to grab a bite to eat – so she thought. At the precise moment Lena took the first bite of her turkey sandwich, one of the Shimano TLDs screamed to life. Lunch was going to have to wait!

“Fish On!” yelled Captain Art from the bridge. As the line melted off the reel, Lena quickly grabbed the rod and readied herself for the fight. It was too early on to know exactly what type of fish was hoping to peel every last bit of line off the reel, however everyone had their own opinion. “It’s a tuna…It’s a marlin…It’s a wahoo,” shouted Captain Art from the bridge!

The powerful game fish’s spirited first run took 200-yards almost immediately. While Captain Art carefully maneuvered the boat, he realized the fish managed to strike the only offering that wasn’t rigged on a cable leader. Realizing that this fish had some serious horsepower, Lena and Captain Art had to work together and be in sync at all times. With a monofilament leader, the concern was that if this fish was indeed a wahoo, with one wrong move it would be gone in a flash.

Lena was ten-minutes into the fight before the giant fish finally broke the surface, showing everyone on board that the “wahoo express” was about to shift into overdrive! Wahoo are one of the fastest fish in the sea and they have some serious dentures that deserve the utmost respect. Lena was in the zone and she was ready to battle the whopper wahoo she had always dreamed of. This was exactly what she came for.
Florida Sport Fishing
In all of Lena’s angling adventures, she had never been up against such a determined and clever fish. Her trophy wahoo made a second run, dumping another 100-yards of line off the reel. What happened next caused Lena’s heart to jump into her throat. The wahoo made a beeline directly towards the boat creating a big bow of unwanted slack in the line. Captain Art was on point and he skillfully worked the Cabo’s twin diesels to keep just the right amount of tension on the line.

After an exhausting 60-minute tug-o-war, Lena managed to bring the monster ‘hoo to within gaffing range – a solid hour of nail-biting stress where at any moment, the wahoo could have chewed through the monofilament leader. The transom door was opened and the fish was gaffed. Then disaster struck – with two strong headshakes the trophy wahoo worked his way off the gaff and disappeared back into the cobalt-blue-water. One of the crew members quickly took action and wired the fish back into range for a second try with the gaff. This time, the big hook found its mark and Lena let out a huge sigh of relief. The beaten warrior was quickly brought through the transom door and into the cockpit. The giant wahoo was furiously tweaking on the deck and tried to take a quick bite at any nearby ankles. After 15-minutes, the fish finally settled down and lay motionless on the deck.

After 20-minutes of staring at her subdued adversary, Lena was still frozen in astonishment. Weighing in at a remarkable 72-pounds, this wahoo was now her greatest catch of all time. Her arms were weak and her legs were trembling for several minutes as her body was in total exhaustion. When she tried to speak, all Lena could utter was that she had won the fight and what a great feeling it was.

A true woman of the water, Lena will cherish her big wahoo forever and like all enthusiastic anglers, she will surely be back out there trying to catch yet another fish of a lifetime. She left us with her words of wisdom. “Fishing is an amazing sport that is very capable of teaching anglers something new each and every time they venture offshore. The next time you are about to bring in your spread and head for the barn, let your lures drag for another five-minutes. Who knows what might happen. You could hook the fish of a lifetime!”

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