Yahoo, a wahoo!
It's been quite a while since I've seen a wahoo. Even when I was sportfishing daily in the Keys they certainly weren't plentiful, but when you specifically wanted one you put on a black and red feather lure and cranked up the boat to ten or 12 knots. But down here between the islands or sailing windward side, they are the last thing I expect, especially on a green and yellow dolphin lure. Barracuda (on blue and white), sure every day. A tuna or a dolphin once in a while, but catching the elusive wahoo is just not a common occurrence. And one near on 40 pounds, well that's a once in a decade catch on a sailboat around here!
"Fish on" is our call to arms. Nikki goes aft and begins to haul in the 'meat line', a hand line with 500# test line kind of camo colored, and roller bearing swivel connectors. A 12' length of shock cord takes the jolt of a hook up and it's just a matter of pulling in whatever is hooked. We don't stop the boat or even slow her down to bring in a fish, just hand over hand with gloves. This wahoo was pretty easy to get up to the boat as it's torpedo shaped and it couldn't get it's head turned, unlike a tuna or dolphin. As it neared the boat it was immediately apparent that this was not just another barracuda, all be it a very large one. It was lit up like Times Square on New Year's eve, neon blue vertical stripes ablaze. There was no way this fish was coming aboard without the gaff, so I scurried below to get the ornamental gold pole (up to this point) that has been secured to the overhead hand rails in the salon for years.
The razor sharp tip of the gaff slid effortlessly into the fish just behind the gills, but it required both of us to lift it aboard. Golly gee this was a big fish, perhaps 25 pounds, I was thinking (remember, I'm getting old!). We'll eat well for a few days.
Poor Nikki could not even lift it for pictures, but to give her some credit, this fish was nearly as long as she was tall, the deck was pretty slippery with fish slime, and we were sailing the windward side in 15 to 20 knots of wind. So we used the mizzen staysail halyard (with my sportfishing scale) to get the weight and pics. Long tiring fish cleaning story short, we ended up with 27 wahoo steaks, which we distributed to the immigration and customs officials in Rodney Bay, the sailmaker who has cared for our sails when they needed it, the laundry lady, Gregory the vegetable and fruit guy, and a few friends anchored in the bay.
However, the highlight of the whole experience was taking a some of the steaks into Bosun's in the marina, and asking them to grill up a couple of them for us and keep the rest. Though I love grilled food, I just never learned how and wahoo is best grilled, for sure. So, for the price of a couple of side orders and our drinks, we ate like royalty, and had no dishes to clean afterwards.
The steaks left in the fridge will be used to perfect our Teriyaki marinade and each bite will be enjoyed with a little thank you to Neptune for his kindness to Skipping Stone and her crew.
On a side note, we had a HUGE current along the north side of St Vincent and down to the Pitons, so we managed the trip, still w/o an engine, in a shade over 12 hours, lee and all.
"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
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