Charter Capt. Tyler Levesque from Madeira Beach, Fla. was fishing with a crew of anglers on his 31-foot Bertram boat the “Lady A” Dec. 5 off San Salvador in the Bahamas. It’s the famed spot where in Oct. 1492 Christopher Columbus discovered the New World.
The anglers were targeting wahoo and headed out that morning in calm seas and beautiful weather.
“We fished all morning with no bites, which is crazy because the fishing had been on fire for wahoo with 5 to 8 strikes per day,” said Levesque via email to Sportfishing. “We went back to land for lunch, and headed out that afternoon during a falling tide, which is when the fish were most active.”
At 4:45 p.m. that day, and nearing to the prime full moon phase, a big fish smashed a “cow bell” lure set up on a far back long line in 430 feet of water.
The wahoo’s first run was incredible, reports Levesque, as angler Drew Johnson grabbed the heavy-duty custom rod with Shimano “Beast Master” reel.
“That first run was awesome as it pulled close to 1,000 feet of line from the reel,” said Levesque, who runs South Atlantic Outfitters in Florida. “Drew was on that fish for 40 minutes before we could get it near the boat.”
But getting the fish into Levesque’s Bertram wasn’t easy.
“The wahoo surfaced and we could see it was a big fish,” said Levesque. “The last 30-feet of leader the fish was hand lined to the boat. Right beside us the wahoo did a last ditch head shake and threw the hook. Just For a millisecond the fish was free, but we hit it fast with a gaff behind the gills, then my mate Tyler Barrett hit it with a second gaff.”
Capt. Levesque saw the chaos trying to boat the wahoo. So he left the Bertram tower, rushed to the stern of the boat, and grabbed the tail of the still-flopping fish.
The group of men pulled the ‘hoo into the boat stern, then into the fish box, as they realized how huge the wahoo was.
“The size of the fish really began to sink in, and cheers rang out with hugs and excitement all around our crew,” said Levesque.
Back at the marina that afternoon the wahoo officially weighed 111-pounds, 2-ounces, a giant by any measure. But in San Salvador such fish are regularly seen. Currently there are four IGFA world line class records from San Salvador, including two fish weighing over 150 pounds.
The IGFA All-Tackle record for wahoo is a beast of fish, weighing 184-pounds, caught off Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in July 2005.