Outdoors Column | Catching a fish of the lifetime in the Gulf of Mexico

“That’s been my summer goal,” said Captain Jason Stock, who specializes in big fish offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. “Seems like there’s a lot of big wahoo out there right now. I had someone tell me he saw four of them in one trip.”

Wahoo are one of the rarest pelagic fish caught in the Gulf of Mexico. They’re built for speed and elusiveness with a long slim body and razor sharp teeth. Big ones often leave anglers with heartbreak about the one that got away.

When Stock pulled up to a wreck about 50 miles offshore he noticed something interesting

“The almaco jacks weren’t there. We started chumming and I looked back and a massive wahoo just swam up to the boat like a snake,” he explained.

“I had a Hogball on and he cut it off. I told the anglers to clear their lines and I needed to rig for this thing.”

Stock grabbed a large 20000-sized Shimano Saragossa spinning reel. His first attempt to tie wire leader on it was unsuccessful as it broke when pulled tight. The second time worked, and he tossed a live threadfin out to the lit up wahoo. It was immediately eaten and the speedy fish took off for the horizon. “I stayed on the big motors and chased it like a tarpon. It was peeling line. I think if we were sitting on anchor it would have been spooled, those runs were real. I also didn’t want to get that fish sharked up. They’ve been bad out there eaten everything from snapper to tuna when hooked and the longer the fight the more chance a shark would show up.” Nearly two-tenths of a mile from the original hook-up the wahoo was close to the boat. Stocks’ mate, Roman Langley, readied the long gaff as it approached inch by inch. “He nailed it with the gaff when it got close. I told him to make sure to use both hands lifting it in. When it swung in the boat everyone was fired up.”

At more than six feet long the massive wahoo was so big it didn’t fit all the way in the fish box. To make it fit, the tail section of the fish was cut off and folded inward.

Back at the dock it weighed a massive 80 pounds! Upon inspecting the fish further it had been eating well and it wasn’t the first run in that speedster has had with anglers.

“There was a jighead in it’s mouth and three hooks with the Hogball still in it’s stomach,” described Stock. “We accomplished the summer goal and that was the fish of a lifetime.”

Read more here: https://www.bradenton.com/sports/outdoors/fishing-boating/article243982762.html=cpy

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