Ray Myers of Jacksonville, N.C., and his father, Jim, headed offshore from Atlantic Beach, N.C., early on June 1, hoping to catch some dolphin. They were doing just that — and having a good time — when a fish hit and one of their reels began to scream. They immediately assumed it was something other than a dolphin, and when it didn’t jump, they hoped it was a big wahoo and not a billfish.
It was — and what a wahoo: 102 pounds, 74 inches long and 34 inches in girth.
"We got an early start and ran to the Big Rock in our 23-foot Sea Hunt Ultra and began trolling," Ray Myers said. "We had out several lines on smaller outfits, and I put out one larger outfit with a black and red Hoo-Da-Bomb (with) a cigar minnow rigged into it. We had caught a couple of fish when we had a hit that missed on one of the other lines. Almost immediately, something hit the big rod and had the Okuma Solterra 50 Wide screaming.
"It took an easy 300 yards, maybe 400 yards, on the first run," Ray Myers said. "I had the rod and it was fighting hard. It took about 25 minutes before we saw it down in the water for the first time, and then another five or so minutes to get it to where my dad could gaff it. It was big and strong and fought all the way to the boat."
The fight wasn't without incident, either. The wahoo got its line wrapped around the line that had been hit without a hookup. Ray Myers said his father reacted quickly, got out a knife and cut the other line off.
Finally, Ray Myers got the wahoo to the boat, and his father sunk the gaff home in the fish’s shoulder.
"We thought it was a big fish when we saw it in the water, but it got even bigger once it was in the boat," Ray Myers said. "We just couldn't believe how big it was. It was huge.”
Ray Myers said catching the big wahoo made them cut their fishing trip short.
"We didn't have anywhere to store it fully iced, so we fished just a little longer and then made the decision to come in and not take a chance on letting such a nice fish spoil," he said.
The two anglers took the wahoo to Chasin’ Tails Outdoors on the Atlantic Beach causeway, where it was officially weighed and measured.
"This is the largest wahoo we have ever weighed," said Matt Lamb at Chasin’ Tails. "They didn't have a fish box or cooler long enough to store it straight, and it had bent and gotten stiff, which allowed us to weigh it. If it had been straight we couldn't have gotten it all the way off the ground. Even with it still bent, its nose was barely off the deck."