June 7, 2003 - Well gang it's been about a year since I last wrote a report/story. Just seemed like nothing new and interesting was happening but was probably basic laziness on my part. So here goes. Three guys wanted to go out and get some action and of coarse I would have just as soon gone for all or nothing (Blue marlin) but they were the customer so off we went. The King bite had been good inshore for about two weeks so we headed out about five miles and dropped in a few rapala's and three ribbon fish. Hit all my close in hot spots with the result being one kingfish. It was a little choppy but otherwise a sunny hot day with the wind out of the North. Blowing out of the North for the last three days had really killed the bite all over. People even complaining about the Snapper bite.
Well it looked like we might get a King every hour or so, so the decision was to head for Blue water down at Southern. Kind of a risk hoping the winds would lighten up by late afternoon or it would be a long rough ride in. Made Southern in about an hour and a half and put out two Rapala's, three Ballyhoo and a feather. Past the rig, up the structure over and over again. Two other boats in the area and they looked like they were having the same luck as us. Finally a strike. Bonito, then later another, etc. One small Dolphin among the scattered weeds and that was about it. Just nothing interesting around. I looked around and found ourselves alone. Funny feeling when everybody leaves an area. If you stay and the bite comes on you look like a hero, if you hang around and it never gets any better you look kind of dumb. What to do.
The guys were hanging in there, no Green faces today but I could tell they needed some action so we decided to troll over to Hospital Rocks and try our luck on the bottom. Not one strike on the 7 mile troll but when we hit the first structure the bottom looked full of fish and there was some bait popping on the surface. So we hauled the lines and baited rigged to bottom fish. Strange drift with the seas moving North and the wind moving South. Didn't really move much drifting. What a dead spot. Couldn't even get a strike. We changed bait thinking maybe yesterdays left oven's smelled bad or something. Nothing! It was looking like it might be one of those dreaded slow days.
So we pulled them in and tried another spot. Finally we had a good long drift and the Snapper were there. I think maybe we had one undersized fish on the first drift. There is always one guy who seems to have a knack for bottom fishing and we had one. He just seemed to catch them all. Then one of the other guys seemed to catch on and the party was on. Now Mr. J just seemed to be Mr. Bad Luck. Every time he would hook up it would be a big one and would proceed to loose it half way up. I was drifting out a few Ballyhoo while we hit the bottom hoping for something interesting. Eventually we got a shark. After that I think I went through 10 Ballyhoo and rigs loosing fish on the drift. Sometimes they would come back and hit two or three times and sometimes they would just cut through the mono leader. I was convinced they were shark's. I was running out of Mono leaders so I put out a wire one thinking this will teach jaws to steal my tackle. Another nice 4' shark in the boat was the result.. And Mr. unlucky actually got his first Snapper about then. Of coarse it was undersized so we let him work the shark hoping he would loose it, but he didn't.
Running out of Ballyhoo leaders I put one out I had made with 400 lb mono leader material. No sooner then it was out about 40 feet we had another Shark on. It really fought hard so it had to be a lot bigger. I offered it to Mr. Bad Luck but he wasn't in the mood to fight a shark. Nobody seemed to want to fight this fish so I proceeded too. It was wearing me out so I asked the deck hand to work it for awhile and it wore him out. I thought about tightening the drag and getting it over with but resisted the temptation. I took over for awhile more but it plum wore me out again so back to the deck hand. We were all looking forward to getting this exercise over with so we could get back to bottom fishing, so I tightened the drag just a little bit. Well he went under the boat, around the back, under the boat again, etc. Finally some color.. It was a big WAHOOOOO. I screamed Wahoo and grabbed the rod away from the deck hand and told him to get on the gaff. Meanwhile two of the guys had put down bottom rigs and guess where the Wahoo headed. So we were tangled up pretty good and I kept yelling "stick him". My deck got a good gaff on, grunted out loud as he hauled a beautiful Wahoo into the boat. Now Mr. Unlucky just stood there saying "I thought it was a Shark!". This guy is really not very lucky but it gave us something to kid about all day.
About then we could see fish under the boat about thirty feet so we rigged for kings and got a ton of them. A ling wandered by about then and hit a ribbon fish offered to him right away. We left him in the water trying to decide if it would make 37 inches. We finally decided to try for a mild gaff but failed and stuck him pretty good. 36 inches laying on the deck and we had to send him back. There was a real big Porpose hanging around and I think he enjoyed the lunch. Well the bite was really coming on but it was getting late. The seas had calmed down and it looked like it would be an easy run into Port Aransas. Picture of the day at my web page wahooooo.com. It was just one of those great days when the weather was excellent, the company good, and the bite came on and saved us.
Wahoo Bob reporting from the bilge's of the wahooooo.com somewhere on Padre Island
June 15, 2002 - I haven't really had anything unique to write about since January until today. Old time customer had ordered two boats for their annual male bonding, beer drinking fishing trip. And of coarse a little gambling between the two boats. The boat with the most pounds of fish would win. Around 6:30am we were all ready to go and the other captain said they were heading to the Cities Service rig to Amberjack fish and whatever else they could get. They had me really worried that not only would they win the day but might embarrass us at the dock too. With these thoughts in mind we headed out.
Forecast had been for pretty lousy weather, but as usual it was wrong. Seas were the calmest I've seen this year. On Friday we hadn't been able to find any weed lines or rips to chase wahoo and dorado so I decided to make the the easy decision and head to the rocks to bottom fish. We've had a lot of luck getting big sharks in this area and if we could boat one we might win the day. With calm seas we made the Hosp Rocks area in about two hours.
Now these guys know how to party. At least one case of beer was gone by the time we started fishing. No wind and flat seas. It was great.. Mel my deck for this year actually got some sleep on the fly bridge on the way out. I think she had averaged about three hours sleep for the last four days. Been working her hard. I've got to say ol Mel is probably the best deck I've had since I started chartering five years ago and not bad too look at either. If you fish with me this year you'all enjoy having her on board.
Anyway Mel woke up about a mile short of lines in and got to work rigging for the day. We drifted out a ballyhoo and ribbon and sent the rest to the bottom. Well we had a problem. The lines would go straight down for about 30 feet and then a strong drift would pull them straight out.. To add to our problems we were drifting the short way over the structures so we would have to pull in the lines often and move the boat back to the starting point. And I hadn't seen anything interesting enough on the way out to give us any alternatives, so we were committed.
Down went the lines to work the bottom. One of the customers chose to drift a ribbon way out and hope for something interesting. We got a lot of small snapper and finally a few keepers. Mel was kept busy untangling all the lines while the beer flowed. Not sure how she kept with six guys snokered and tangling all day. But what a fun group, these guys know how to have a good time. As soon as we got a good shark bait on the boat we drifted it out with a slip sinker and hoped jaws would find it. Left the 115 with 130 lb line in clicker mode only.
Some more snapper in the boat and Fred had something take his drifted ribbon and the battle was on. As he got the fish close to the boat all hands were yelling "Shark" between gulps of beer.. The mistake we all make when we first see a ling at distance. Of coarse this really woke up ol Mel since she has developed the nickname "Shark Queen" around the docks. The Fred yells "Ling" and of coarse everybody forgot what the were doing and ran to the Port side of the boat. Well the enavdable happened while Fred was yelling "get your lines in". I don't think the ling missed tangling one line we had out. And while trying to get in gaff range straightened the hook. Kind of a downer and it got quiet for awhile while the job of untangling the mess went on.
Back to the bottom with some more lines looking for the big one. Click. Click, click. Click, click, click went the shark rig we had out. Well there was also an individual bet on the biggest fish of the day so everybody was grabbing at the rod while I'm trying to get it into freespool to give jaws time to swallow the bait. I finally won the battle and let him take about 100 yards before setting the hook. We had em!!! And it was a big one. Taking the 130 line like it was on a 30. "Who wants it?" led to another struggle between the anglers and the pillow boy won. I call him the pillow boy since he would suck down the beer and fall asleep on the couch hugging a pillow on his belly off and on during the day. The pillow boy is really a cool guy. Had tee shirts with a picture of my boat on it made for the charter. The XXL shirt really fit me well but hung a little on Mel at 4'4" and 90 lbs. It was really neat. Anyway within a few minutes the shark got off. Turned out I hadn't waited long enough to set the hook and we never really had it. All we got was the bait back with some big jaw marks. But we still had a lot of time so we all went back to work.
The drifted ribbon finally produced a kingfish so every body wanted to drift now. We kept two lines on the bottom and the rest went out for kings. With all these lines out I put one ballyhoo out forward on the bridge without a rod holder with a real light drag. Didn't want to loose a 114 and rod. Meanwhile Herb had something else big on the drifted ribbon fish. In came the head of a nice kingfish. Jaws was still lurking around. About then the 114 up on the fly bridge went off screaming and we had another king. Things were looking up. Then ol Herb came through again and we got a nice AJ. A little later and a few more snapper and Fred did it again with another Ling! Looked undersized too me but we got it on board this time and it was just over the limit. Everybody was pretty excited with the catch and we still had a few hours to go. I was guessing that the other boat might get 5 Amberjack and some other catch for between 100 and 150 pounds of fish and we were looking at the real possibility of winning but needed a good big heavy shark to ensure the win.
Move the boat back to start for another of many drifts and put out the some spread. Except we had only one bottom rig out. Lines everywhere drifting ballyhoo and ribbonfish. So I put out another Ballyhoo forward on the bridge with the same ol light drag setting. The guy working the bottom was mumbling about loosing his bait again and starting to wind up the 200' feet from the bottom. Somebody yelled "Ling!" off the Port side of the boat. Then three at once yelling "Big Ling!". I was turning to look when all I heard was ziiinnnngggg and saw out of the corner of my eye the 114 on the fly bridge flying through the air and into the drink. Mel yells "Want me to dive in for it?". Figured it was gone and I said "Been thinking about some new tackle anyway."
With the excitement over the guy on the bottom rig had hooked the bottom and was just loosing line as the boat drifted. I took the rod and tightened the drag to see if I could pull it off the rocks on the bottom. You loose a lot of rigging bottom fishing and I hate to waste it without trying.. But when I put my hands on the line and pulled it seemed like I was getting a little . It was only 30 lb line and I really cinched down on it and got a few more feet. It dawned on me the possibility that it had snagged the rod that went over and was just dead weight. So I turned it over to one of the anglers and he went to work. Just plain dead weight. Mel went to the bridge and backed up the boat from time to time to help get some line. I was kind of hoping the line would break so we could get back to fishing. A little rip with a few weeds had been forming and we drifted over it each time we moved back to go and it might hold wahoo and dorado. And I was looking forward to trolling it a little.
Finally after what seemed an hour we saw line. "THE BOTTOM RIG HAD ONE SMALL HOOK ON IT AND HAD A PIECE OF LINE THAT LOOKED LIKE IT CAME FROM THE 114!!!" . The line went off like a big "V" in two directions. Mmmmmm. Wonder which angle to pull in first. We rigged a swivel off another rod on the line in case I had to let go. Another person wrapped the gaff on the line just for insurance. For some reason I guessed the right side and started hand lining into the boat. A lot of line was out and it was really piling up on the deck. None of us could believe our luck at having the real possibility of retrieving the rod and reel. It would make a good story. It was just dead weight so I was sure I had the rod end of the line. All of a sudden I saw color and saw a fish. As I got line it got bigger and bigger. I started yelling "BIG WAHOO!!!". And it got bigger. Everybody was yelling "GIANT WAHOO!!" about then. Somebody had the sense to open the transom door since it was going to be too big to pull over the side. I couldn't believe I was hand lining something this big, but it was tired and not showing much life. I got it to the back of the boat and ask for a gaff. I could just see the fish getting off and I started yelling "Somebody get me a GDMF gaff. Mel had run to the cabin to get the camera and finally somebody produced the backup gaff and I dragged it through the door. What a celebration. Hoop's and yells for the longest time. What a beautiful fish we had. Nobody was ever going to believe this one. I mumbled "I'd rather be lucky than good" with no comment from my mate Mel. Last time I said that she came back with "I'd rather be good, luck runs out".
Tones of pictures, the big ol Wahoo in the bag , we got back to fishing. Talk about a good mood. Great fish, great company and perfect weather. If all days were like this I'd be in haven. Few more kings and tangled lines and it was time to head for the docks. The real issue that drove us to head in was the beer was getting short and I didn't want to face the potential mutiny. Well the boat just wouldn't come up on plane with all the weight of six big guys and a bunch of fish. And the he pump out on the fish box had failed so were also holding a lot of cold water. It was pretty calm so I asked for volunteers to go up forward and get some sun for the ride in. With five big guys on the bow we finally got up to 20 knots for the smooth ride in. As we approached the dock Mate Mel blasted "Who let the dogs out:" on the stereo and the celebration was on. I knew the weigh in would be close and it turned out we lost to the other boat by less than five pounds. But, we had a moral victory with the Wahoo and everybody waited for the official weight. 85 pounds! Three pounds bigger than any other I've had on the boat. So everyone felt like a winner for the day and had a lasting story to tell.
If you want to see a picture of the wahoo, drop by www.wahoo-charters.com and have a look.
Wahoobob and the Sharkqueen Mel reporting from the bilge's of
the wahooooo.com somewhere on Padre Island.
Jan 18, 2002 - We all know the tuna season has not developed this winter and we just keep hoping any day may be the day. I had just recently returned from the South Pacific Marlin fishing and was really suprised at how warm it was. Then the forecast started looking like we may get some good weather this spring. It was with these thoughts that I got a call from an old friend Rob Landingham, owner of a Hatteras somewhat like mine but also had a 30' Grady, saying that he and Matt his new Capt wanted to know if I'd like to join them offshore the next day. I took some time and it looked like it may be nice day offshore so I dived in.
Friday morning after looking at the satellite photo's we had a long discussion on weather to take to 80's or lighter tackle. Matt and I finally agreed, you never know there might be an early Blue out there, so go with the heavy tackle. Tuna was really on our mind but there just haven't been around. Maybe today would be the day. Off we went and broke the jetties about 8:00am. The chop was close with 2.5' seas with some whitecaps. The Grady found a home where it could make about 24 knots about 120 degrees. So it looked like the dumping grounds was out and Southern in. About 2/3rd of the way out in 160 feet of water we spotted a shrimp fleet. Decided to make a troll around and see if there were any fish.
Before we started trolling we had our answer. Lot of chum on the surface around the boat with nothing hitting it. But we gave it the ol college try with expected results. There were some more shrimp boats in the area but we all decided to give Southern a try. We had been experiencing a lot of weeds and were hoping Southern might be clear. The water temp was up to 69 degrees about 10 miles short of our destination. A good sign. About 5 miles off Southern we broke out of the weeds and the sun started breaking through the clouds. Out with the Tuna and Wahoo spread. One Mann's 50, one small Rapala, one Pakula, Texas Turd and one Ballyhoo.
As we passed over the structure there were no other boats in sight and the water was Blue Gray. Really didn't look bad for this time of year. No action over the structure so we decided to make a pass over around the rig and cross our fingers the winter wahoo may be around. We hadn't heard any wahoo reports of late but some day has to be the first. First pass the center went of with a bang. The fish on was jumping and taking a ton of line on a Penn 80 wide. We all were thinking big barracuda since it broke so much water but they are really rare this time of year. Rob and were convinced it was a big wahoo but Matt held to the barracuda theory. Anyway it got off, after looking over the lure it was beat up but we really couldn't decide what it was. Another pass and we had two fish on just houndogging off and jumping. This was really strange.
I figured we were hooking wahoo and a shark of very big cuda was chasing and eating our fish. Lost the Texas Turd completely and the other got off after some big tugs. We were now convinced something was eating our catch. Another pass and we lost a ballyhoo rig and a Mann's 30 to big strikes. I was getting concerned the bite may turn off before we ever got a fish to the boat. Finally a good hookup and we brought a wahoo to the boat, or two thirds of one. Back end had been bitten off. But now we knew we were into the Spring Wahoo. Man were we excited. We now had out two ballyhoo, pakula, manns'30 and a rapala. Next pass we hooked three and the took off jumping again. There was a very big fish chasing everyone of our hookup,s. This produced one whole wahoo and another 2/3rd fish.
We started working future out in the middle of nowhere to get off the shark, sharks. Next pass we had multiple bites again and got two nice 40 lb Wahoo. So far the big ones had gotten off and all we had were about the same size. Lost another Mann's 30 and a wire Ballyhoo rig. Matt made us some with 160 lb wire and we smarted using them with great success. We finally had a triple and got them all in, in one piece. By now it was warm and we started disregarding some cloths. Sun, 75 degrees and the water temp was up to 70.5, very warm for this time of year. Maybe we'll have an early fishing season this year like 1998. We set a limit of 10 Wahoo and worked toward that goal. I kept expecting the bite to die off, but it didn't. It did slow a little around noon and I finally got one of those splashing strikes around the rig. Well I love being wrong, a Barracuda. Couldn't believe it, this early in the year. For the first time I got excited about the prospects of 2002.
Well we got out 10 but had lost all of the real big ones. Things had slowed a little and we decided to head home. It was 2:00pm. But you know how it is, just one more pass over the structure while kp'ing the boat up. Bam, one more fish on. Hit a nice Ballyhoo. You could tell this was a good sized one. It turned out to be the big fish of the day. What a great day. So we headed in at 30 knots to arrive in time to get some good pictures and finish up before dark. I proceeded to the Banana Bar to celebrate with a few cold ones and dream of an early Marlin bite. Need to get home and start working on the winter projects and get the Wahooooo.com offshore.
Wahoobob reporting from the Bilge's of the Wahooooo.com somewhere on Padre Island
PS: Word got out and boats got caught in bad weather the next day, someone
caught a 160 lb Mako at Big Southern, others returned at 4 knots to the
harbor. Sunday Matt and Landingham went back down to Southern and got 7
Wahoo including one at 103 lbs!!!!!!!!!