Sunday was here and what I had been waiting for the Rocks and wahoo fishing. I had been there three years earlier but the timing was off. Another vessel had been fishing the Rocks before we arrive. And they hooked just about all the fish that were in the area at that time. But today would be different. The Rocks had not been fished for weeks due to Hurricanes and great tuna fishing in off of San Diego. Drew’s game plan was put into play this morning. We had taken our time to get there, the weather was great, now let’s find out if anyone is home. It didn’t take long to find out. Maybe 10 minutes had passed when one of our four trollers got hooked. I tossed out a chrome candy bar jig and got a slight tap on my first cast. Second cast got a solid hit and just kept grinding on the reel trying to set the hook. The wahoo finally made a short run up the port side of the Supreme and showed itself. It was a small wahoo or skin as some call them. I followed the fish up the portside and then the skin did a head shake and released itself. All I could think was three years and I blew it. Most fall trips you may get one shot at landing a wahoo. Now I just missed mine.
Trollers went back out again. As the crew cleared the deck and put the wahoo in the Raw Sea fish hold, I noticed that all the skins on the first stop were small. They were 20-25 pounds just like the one that I lost. But that is a good sign. Small fish are more aggressive and maybe the larger ones would show up soon. The crew didn’t have much time as a trolling rod was hit again. Again more of the same, a troll fish landed and a couple of fish on casting jigs. No action for me on that stop. I was up on the next troll rotation so I quickly got my trolling outfit and found a corner to fish. I like to troll in close and with a very tight drag. Maybe 5 minutes had passed and my troll rod jumped to attention and the reel was slowing giving line out. I un-hooked the rod from the trolling straps in the stern port corner, followed the fish across the stern and up the starboard side of the boat. Grinding as I walked, the boat slowed and the skin came in with a little muscle on my part. The fish was gaffed and I had ended my drought. It wasn’t a big skin maybe 25 pounds but it was a skin!
Out again went the trollers and again the same thing, one maybe two fish on the troll and a couple of jig fish. I wasn’t getting any more bites on my chrome candy bar jig so I switched to a chrome and red sinker bomb. It’s a little smaller and easier for the small wahoo to hang on to. The change of lures worked to perfection on the next stop not only did I hook another wahoo, but this one had some size to it.
When it was weighed at the landing it went 40 pounds. Nice size for the Rocks. The stops continued until late afternoon. Most stops had 3 to 6 wahoo each and there were a couple of stops where more than 10 fish were landed. As the day progressed I had 3 wahoo in the fish hold, missed two strikes and had three taken by sharks, aka the taxman. This was the first time I experienced sharks eating wahoo at the Rocks. I’ve seen them eat tuna but not wahoo. I was not happy paying the taxman but I did have two fish on the sinker bomb and one on the troll an excellent day by most fall trips. There were a couple of anglers who were “hot”. They fished their butts off but it paid off very well. I wish I could still cast and crank all day long like those guys but I was totally out of wahoo fishing shape.
As the day was ending I was trolling on the starboard stern corner. The angler on the port stern corner had a trolling plug that just would not run straight and second skipper Jed asked me if I would trade places with him. So I reached down to grab the rod and crank in my plug. I had just gotten the safety straps off when a wahoo decided it wanted my plug. All I could do was yell “FRESH ONE”. Jed looked over and said “really”. This wahoo was ripped off line so I knew it was a good one. A few minutes passed and the fish neared the boat. Jed was ready with the gaff and was raking me over the coals for not getting the fish in quickly. I told him this one got some size to it. Jed said “you’re just getting too old”. When we saw the fish at deep color the joking stopped. After a couple of quick dives to try to free itself, the wahoo was gaffed and introduced to the deck of the Polaris Supreme. Finally got a decent wahoo from the Rocks today, it just missed the 50 lb. mark by a few ounces great way to end an amazing day of wahoo fishing. Time for a quick photo with crew member Mark with the Rocks as a backdrop.
This was the best day of wahoo fishing I have seen on a fall trip. Everyone on board had many chances of landing wahoo. If you were not good at casting lures you still had plenty of chances getting them trolling or live bait fishing. Everyone was talking about how they missed a few but no one was upset about it. We all had more than enough chances to get some wahoo today. We would stay the night at the Rocks and give it a try in the morning to see if we had missed any wahoo. Second day at the Rocks could be tough. We had hooked most of the “stupid” ones today.
Monday morning at the Rocks was flat calm just a little ripple on the water. You wouldn’t know that you were 160 miles offshore. I knew today was not going to be an amazing as yesterday. You do not get two days back to back of even good wahoo fishing at one spot. This morning the troll stops were farther apart. Yesterday maybe 20 minutes was the longest time between stops. Today 20 minutes was the shortest time. Most anglers were still fishing the trolling plugs they used the day before. By the time my trolling team was up I had switched lures to a chrome jethead with black, clear and purple skirts. I dropped the lure in one of the center positions and placed it far enough back that it was smoking (trailing bubbles) pretty well. I was out numbered 3 to 1 but I knew this lure had proven itself many times when fishing for wahoo was tough. After 20 minutes no strikes but I had to take a “break”. I called over Byran to watch my rod while I disappeared to the head. Well you know what happened. The rod goes off while I’m in the head. When I finally return to the deck there’s my jethead and a 45 lb. wahoo coming over the rail. I joked with Byran that he did a great job landing my wahoo. I took the trolling rod from him and gave him one of my tags for the fish. Byran had a look on his face that was priceless. Eventually we placed his tag on the fish.
Fishing continued to be slow compared by the previous day. I was able to hook one 40 lb. wahoo on a sinker bomb. I think we landed 25 fish by noon. It was time to pull the plug, the Rocks had been good to us and it was time to north.
Stay tuned for part 3