Three fishermen made the right call when they left the nearshore waters of Beaufort Inlet after trolling for king mackerel on Oct. 3 to head offshore to a piece of livebottom, a spot that produced the fish of a lifetime: a 6-foot wahoo that destroyed a trolled menhaden and strained the scales at 95 pounds.
“We had found a lot of bait near the beach, but there weren’t any kings,” said Brian Hudson of Greenville, who owned the vessel, Chasen Kings. “Also, the places we fish near the inlet and beaches can get pretty crowded, so we started trying different spots.”
After reaching the livebottom, which was between 12 and 13 miles southwest of the inlet, Hudson, Ricky Moore of Grifton and Ryan Hardee of Ayden put out three rods for kings, their reels spooled with 20-pound line, and the business being contained king rigs with No. 4 treble hooks on wire leaders. All three were baited with 8- to 9-inch menhaden.
Two of the rods were in holders on each side of the T-top, one 25 yards back and the other 50 yards back. A third rod was in a holder on the leaning post, with its bait riding close behind the boat in the propeller wash.
“We started out catching a couple of sharks and had a king ‘sky’ on one of our baits, then, the prop wash rod started screaming,” Hudson said.
Moore grabbed the rod and started fighting the fish.
“After about 20 minutes, we knew it wasn’t a king unless he was foul hooked, because they’ll tire out and come on in,” Hudson said. “When Ricky had enough, he gave the rod to Ryan.
“Ryan got him up under the boat, and we saw long and silver. That ruled out shark or albacore. Then we saw the stripes and knew it was a wahoo.
“I told Ryan to take it easy on him, but he kept right on pumping. The fish went around the boat three or four times, and when he got close enough, I stuck him right behind the head with a 12-foot gaff,” Hudson said. “I couldn’t get him over the gunwale by myself and yelled for help. It took all three of us to pull him in, but when he hit the deck of the boat we were happy. The fish never moved; he had just about had it.”