A Long-Range Journal: Day 3

An editor’s trials and triumphs on his first-ever, 11-day, long-range fishing trip off Baja.

mp day 3

mp day 3

Master angler and Shimano marketing representative Marc Mills with Royal Star Chief Engineer Paul Caramao presenting Mark's 40-pound class wahoo.

Today I learned to dance. I wouldn’t say I was 100 percent successful, but at least I learned the motions. At about 11:30 a.m., we finally got to wet some lines for wahoo. And the action was wide open!

Teams took turns at the stern, trolling Yo-Zuri Marauders out behind the boat at stepped distances. Capt. Tim Ekstrom navigated along the ridges that skirt the Rocas Alijos in 100-plus feet of water. Once an angler hooked up on the troll, the other trolling lines were reeled in, and all other anglers cast out behind the boat.

This is what I learned was called “fishing on the slide.” As the boat slowed down, non-trolling anglers cast out behind the boat, hoping to cash in on a second or third wahoo bite. They threw all types of metals, including Raider, Salas igs and Shimano Colt jigs. Anglers also cast wahoo bombs, which were highly successful. Just about all anglers hooked fish, and some landed as many as four or five ‘hoos.

At one point, eight to 10 anglers were hooked up. Around here, that’s known as “getting hung.” This is when it was time to dance. As soon as that wahoo bit, you had to follow your fish around the boat. Anglers were lifting and lowering rods over and under each other. Some anglers were running down the rails after their fish, others just tried to stay the heck out of the way. It wouldn’t be fair to call it chaos, so they call it dancing. Surprisingly, there were few tangles. Thanks to the wahoo, there were plenty of cut offs.

In total, it’s one of the best wahoo bites I’ve ever seen. Being an East Coast fisherman, I’m not used to seeing so many wahoo caught in a single spot, especially by anglers casting surface metal. At a couple different times during the day, Capt. Ekstrom slowed the boat because he marked so many wahoo on his meter. During those times, we were all able to cast to wahoo.

For me, I’m still waiting on my first wahoo from the Pacific Ocean. I hooked a couple on spinning reels that broke off due to operator error. But the most memorable fish was one I hooked on the troll. The good size fish was staying out away from the boat, wearing me out. But just as the fish began to budge, a massive dorsal fin shot through the water’s surface and my ‘hoo was chomped in half.

There’s always tomorrow. I think we’re trolling in the morning.