by Jim Cox
Let me go ahead and make a ‘Captain Obvious’ statement to start this article. The mighty Blue Marlin is the ultimate prize for any bluewater trolling trip in the Gulf of Mexico. I am always trying to target them, but for most of us who primarily troll in open water around the FADS or other popular spots like the Nipple or Elbow, hooking one of those beautiful creatures is a rare occurrence. But when it does happen, it creates an instant life-long memory, and a lot of times for the angler, it’s the fish of a lifetime. I can vividly recall each Blue Marlin caught on our boat. I can tell you the angler, the lure I was pulling, what position it was in the spread, and on and on. Each one is burned into my happy memory bank.
But if you asked me what my favorite fish in the Gulf is, my answer would be a Wahoo. How much do I love Wahoo? If someone offered me five pounds of pristine sushi-grade Yellowfin tuna, one of my absolute favorite things to eat on the planet, or one pound of freshly caught same quality Wahoo, I’d take the fresh Wahoo every time. Almost like some too-good-to-be-true product hawked on a late-night infomercial! Hell, I love Wahoo so much that when I started my own company in 2000, I put it in the name of the new entity!
And here’s why. First of all, Wahoos are stunningly gorgeous. Their iridescent blue stripes display the artistry only mother nature can create. And while Mother Nature was at it, she added freakish speed to their slender missile-like perfect muscular build.
Some say Wahoos can swim at speeds up to 48 MPH, while others say their top end is 60MPH. I doubt one has ever been clocked with a radar, but that speed is undeniable when you hook one.
“I love targeting big Wahoo because there is nothing like the initial run,” said JJ Tabor of the Double J fishing team. “They just have an extra gear that makes that clicker scream like no other fish!” And he would know. I don’t think there is anyone who has caught more big Wahoo in the Gulf in the last twenty years than him.
That first run after the strike can also be momentarily confusing. My wife and I were trolling around the 131 Hole a few years back when the starboard outrigger rod went off. At the rate the line was peeling off the reel, I knew we just hooked another Blue Marlin! All I needed to see was a greyhounding billfish to confirm it. But when there was no jumping marlin behind the boat, and the reel kept screaming, I told my wife that I now thought we must have a huge Wahoo on the line. To this day, that 82-pounder is the biggest Wahoo we ever caught on our boat.
I think it’s now pretty easy to understand my love for Wahoos. But like that special late-night TV offer, Tabor adds the obligatory ‘but wait, there are yet more reasons to love catching Wahoos!’
“I still get excited to put my friends and family on their first Wahoo. That blistering speed and fight are almost as good as the way they taste! They make the best sashimi!”
Talk about burying the hook in the lede with that little epicurean fish nugget about our favorite great-tasting pelagic species. I totally agree with JJ that the resulting sashimi is the ultimate
reward that catching a Wahoo provides. But that’s still not all! If you act by ordering Wahoo when you see it on a restaurant menu, you can enjoy it grilled, seared, or even smoked.
Then you, too, will join us as big Wahoo fans. Unfortunately, I’ll have to add you and JJ to the list of those who will not be taking advantage of my limited-time-only, never-before, once it’s gone, it’s gone forever offer of 5-to-1 Tuna for Wahoo trade.