St. Augustine Wahoo

One of the great perks of my job here at Marlin is that I'm sometimes tapped to tape an episode of Sport Fishing TV. A great bunch of guys work on the show and it's always a hoot to spend time with the crew. On our last adventure (yesterday), we were pressed to shoot an entire episode in a single day - something that usually takes three days! And our task became all the more improbable because we were targeting wahoo out of St. Augustine, Florida, in February. Now, this is the season for wahoo in northeast Florida, but the weather and sea conditions this time of year are iffy at best, so the idea that we could hit a weather window just right, catch enough elusive wahoo to make a TV show and do it all in one day of scheduled shooting...I gave us a 25 percent chance of success. As we motored out of the inlet, a dense fog started to move in from the north. But the presence of fog is a good thing; when you see fog, there's usually no wind. Sure enough, after clearing a few rollers at the mouth of the inlet, we were greeted by flat, calm seas. The 36-foot Yellowfin with three 300 Mercs on it ate it up all the way out to 60 miles - I don't think we ever went under 50 knots! Upon reaching the 27-fathom curve, we saw a few nice current rips and put out our ballyhoo/Ilander combos. Within the first five minutes, a 50-pounder hit the shotgun like a rocket - flying 10 feet into the air on the assault, but no joy on the hookup. As soon as our mate got the chopped shotgun bait in and changed out, the lead line went off. My fishing companion for the trip, Mark Badzinski, picked up the rod and was on. After a brief tussle, the 50-pounder came to the boat, and I stuck it with a gaff and onto ice it went. Now that the skunk was off, everyone settled down and started having fun on the glorious day. The temperature was in the low 70s and the seas barely pushed over a foot. Lucky for us, the bites didn't stop. We ended up catching five wahoo up to 50 pounds, with three over 40, one 30-pounder and one that might have been 20. We had one fish get tangled up in the props of the chase boat and another that dove into our own props and suffered a few gashes - but we still ended up catching both of the fish! The fishing gods were definitely smiling on our little adventure. Not bad for a spur of the moment trip! Thanks goes out to both Capt. Paul Dosier for putting us on the fish and Dave Workman of Strike Zone for setting us up with bait and putting us in touch with Dosier. It's great when a plan comes together.