Alex “Fishmon” Dupre, of Dana Point, California, left Dana Point Harbor at 5 a.m. this past October 26, hoping for any of the usual big-game suspects that Southern California waters offer this time of year — swordfish, thresher, mako, maybe a striped marlin.
He headed for a special place his father told him about when he commercially fished for swordfish.
“When I arrived, the ocean temperature was an amazing 72.8 degrees. Birds were everywhere,” Dupre told SF, reaffirming the unprecedented warm water temperatures that moved in off the Southern California coast this fall.
Hopeful, the angler set out lines. After trolling for about 40 minutes, a reel went off as something ran like hell — but not for long. A quick cutoff ensued.
Dupre retied and resumed trolling. He was promptly cut off again. And again — twice more.
“So that night, I re-rigged my lures with wire,” said Dupre. He headed out the next morning, “more determined than ever to catch this mystery fish in the waters south of Dana Point.”
Dupre put out lines where his GPS told him he’d gotten cut off the day before. Within an hour, his “Talica 25 started screaming as line peeled off. I left the boat in gear and frantically reeled in the other poles.”
Just after, the fish began a sizzling run toward the boat, and Dupre quickly headed away to minimize slack line. After about a half-hour, the mystery was solved when he gaffed a real surprise: a wahoo and in fact a big one “even for Cabo.”
As Dupre was hefting the prize in the boat, a glimpse of blue in motion caught his eye. At first, he assumed they were dorado, but “then I realized they were huge wahoo — a wolf pack of six, all of them dwarfing the one on my deck!”
He managed to hook up two but couldn’t hold either.
Still, he brought in a new state record wahoo that weighed 84.3 pounds — for a state that historically has been far north of the wahoo’s range, making it unknown from state waters until this year. A handful of other wahoo were taken by California anglers this past season, up to about 50 pounds.