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Wahoo the speed machines

I was watching the lure spread on a day where the bites were few and the hours rolled by without the single click of a reel drag. After many years of watching lures you learn to pick out the little things that sometimes turn into big ones. I saw an almost imperceptible blue glint in a swell about 50m away. It wasn’t the neon blue of a dolphin fish nor the purple hue of a striped tuna, but it focused my attention for a second as we trolled on down sea. Five seconds later I saw the tail fin of a fish blistering its way at high speed through the blue water. The outrigger gave a jolt but the fish was gone. Ten seconds later the shotgun lure, about 70m back, disappeared in a large frothy boil and the reel screamed as the now hooked fish charged across the surface. It was long and purple. I knew we’d hooked our first wahoo of the day. The fish took a lot of line but in about 10 minutes was boatside. It was a solid plank of a fish over 20 kilos in weight and was soon carefully gaffed and dispatched. There are a lot of fine meals in a big wahoo.

Wahoo are a strange creature subject to many mood changes. I’ve seen big schools of them asleep on the surface of a mirror ocean where no lure could tempt them. Conversely, I’ve seen packs of wahoo tear a tuna school to pieces and destroy a full trolling spread of lures in seconds, leaving bare mono flailing in the breeze. As an open ocean predator they’re dependent on speed and great eyesight. The meshing action of their fine and sharp teeth allows them to virtually swim through a tuna at speed, taking out the mid section and leaving a head and tail drifting in the current…

David Green

This story was first published in the Fishing World April2013 issue.

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