Aaron Kludzenski of Geneva, N.Y., was treated to some real southern hospitality this past Saturday when his charter with Capt. Dick Harris of Fintastic Sportfishing out of Oregon Inlet Fishing Center took a turn for the best. While he and his party took home a heaping helping of yellowfin tuna, Kludzenski landed a citation wahoo that weighed 95 pounds and was 72 inches long.

“Tuna fishing has been tough for a while, and the sharks have been bad for eating them,” said Harris (252-202-6301). “But my charter wanted some fish to take home, so we decided to troll an area southeast of the inlet. Luckily, the tuna were there, and the sharks weren’t. We kept eight yellowfin and released 15 that were undersize.  About 11 o’clock, the tuna fishing slowed down and, we headed north to try and catch a marlin or a wahoo.”  

Over 30 miles offshore, near a popular fishing spot known as “The Point,” Harris trolled skirted ballyhoo on wire leaders in more than 100 fathoms of water in case a wahoo visited their baits. 

“We were fishing the canyons,” he said.  “The current sweeps across from the shallow to the deep, and when the bait gets swept over, the fish are waiting for them.  When I made my turn into the canyon, we got the bite.”

Despite an already eventful day, Kludzenski sat at the ready, awaiting another opportunity.

“It was just me and the mate on the deck, swapping duck-hunting stories, when the line started screaming,” he said. “He grabbed the rod, set the drag, and put it in the fighting chair.”

From the chair, Kludzenski held on for dear life and attempted to muscle line back onto the reel whenever the fish would allow. 

“We were using heavy tackle, but for the first 10 to 15 minutes, that fish pretty much did what he wanted to,” he said.  We finally got it close to the boat, and it rolled the first time where we could see it, then it made a couple nice runs from the stern.”

“We fought it around the boat for a little bit and the mate was able to get a gaff in him,” Kludzenski said.  “One of the guys came down and got a second gaff in him, and they both brought him in. Everybody started screaming and yelling; it was a blast.”

“(Aaron) did a great job getting him back to the boat,” said Harris.  “My mate did and exceptional job wiring the fish, taking his time, and not letting him have any chance to get away.”