When Filipe Balbino of Wilmington gathered visiting friends and family last Saturday for a relaxing fishing trip, he wasn’t planning on doing battle with a nearly triple digit wahoo. However, while trolling for king mackerel near Carolina Beach, his crew decked a 72-inch, 98.2 pound beast that struck not one, but two of his king rigs.
After stopping to net a morning’s supply of fresh pogies outside of Carolina Beach Inlet, Balbino set sail with his 6-man crew to a king mackerel hotspot. Resting 10 miles offshore, the 10-Mile Boxcars is an artificial reef submerged in 60 feet of water and comprised of 10 railroad boxcars plus chunks of concrete.
“We got set up and started trolling, said Balbino. “It didn’t take very long, maybe 40 minutes, and we got the strike on the long line.”
Balbino, who was trolling close to 2 knots, had 5 lines out at the time. His 2 long lines were trailing at about 80 yards, one off each side of the T-top. Two lines followed closer, set at the stern, along with a rod for the prop wash bait. All rods featured free lined pogies on king rigs, secured by a 2/0 nose hook and a #4 treble. The rods were spooled with 20 to 30 pound mono attached to #4 wire leaders.
“When he hit, I grabbed the rod and got set up,” said Balbino. “The guys started reeling in the lines and grabbed the other long line rod that had been hit. We thought we had a double.”
“The first run was a big one, I thought he was going to take all the line, but he stopped just in time,” Balbino said. “I was telling the guys not to let the lines cross, I was scared it was going to get cut.”
“But I started to realize that when my fish would go to the left or right of the boat, the lines would go together,” said Balbino. “I told the guys that I think we’ve hooked the same fish, but we didn’t know for sure until we saw it.”
In an attempt to gain line, Balbino handed his rod off and took the helm to chase the fish. “I started to follow him, working the boat. I wanted to drive, especially when we got close, to make sure we didn’t cut the line.”
After a 30-minute struggle, the anglers managed to coax their trophy within visual range, where they confirmed that it was indeed the same fish on both baits. The tired wahoo made for an easy target when Balbino gaffed it and the crew hoisted it aboard.
“We didn’t have anywhere to put a fish that big, so we put all of my ice on him and headed in,” said Balbino.
“It was pretty good teamwork. The guys didn’t have a lot of experience; I was just taking them out for fun. But, they helped a lot.”
The wahoo, which had a girth of 30 inches, was weighed and measured at Island Tackle and Hardware in Carolina Beach.