The 122-pound, 1-ounce wahoo caught June 23 by Susan Nelson officially tops Virginia’s previous state record by more than 13 pounds. The catch, certified Wednesday by the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament, occurred during an MSSA Tuna-ment aboard the charter vessel Teaser out of Wachapreague, Virginia, captained by Keith Neal.
Nelson, from Whiteford, Maryland, caught the wahoo on a Shimano Tiagra 50 reel with 80-pound Momoi Hi-Catch Diamond mono. The Joe Shute lure-ballyhoo combination had been rigged on a 130-pound mono leader for tuna. The crew was trolling in an area known as the Lumpy Bottom.
A Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament press release states that the wahoo hit the long-rigger bait, made a blistering run and surfaced four times in the early part of the battle, according to the captain. The crew first believed the fish was a foul-hooked blue marlin, but the fifth time the wahoo surfaced, everyone saw the fish’s stripes and realized they had hooked the toothy fish on monofilament leader.
After gaffing the fish, the crew took a quick measurement and saw that the 'hoo was more than 80 inches long. In fact, the fish measured 82 ¼ inches long and had a girth of 34 inches. The previous record fish — a 109-pounder — was caught in 1994 off Virginia Beach along the 100-fathom curve by Delmo Dawson of Zuni, Virginia.