"Tails From The Darkside"
TV Shoot with T.A. Mahoney Co.
This past week we had a truly awe inspiring offshore pelagic bite with a nearly 100lb wahoo followed the next day by a big sailfish! Plus, we are seeing the tuna action out there still from time to time and we still have the occasional kingfish roaming around too. If you make it offshore right now, do not forget to have that flat line out because its just a crazy time of year with a chance for just about anything pelagic wise. That wahoo was truly crazy, we were filming a fishing show with the guys from Ta Mahoney Company in Tampa. They have a show called ‘Tails from the Darkside’ on WayPoint TV that I highly recommend if you haven’t seen it before. So we are fishing around 170-200ft of water for red grouper, scamp, mangroves, triggerfish and whatever else we can get chewing. Unfortunately it was right behind the full moon and we were being inundated with the red snapper really heavily with the occasional big gag grouper so it was kind of a tougher bottom fishing start to the day.
We luckily didn’t forget the flat line though and we casted it out at our stops once we all got rods to the bottom. Around the third stop of the day the flat line went out and only about 5 minutes later the reel literally started to scream to the point of smoking a bit. The line ripped through the water like nothing I had ever seen before while the reel screamed drag. The fish ran away from the boat at first, but then turned and ran towards the back and beyond the boat ripping the line through the water. Then turned and ran forward ripping more line as it ran. We started to scream for everyone to reel in their lines and before we got all the lines in the fish had already changed directions four times and started to lap around the boat. It ran around the boat three times and after interacting with the anchor line a little too much and almost getting hung in the motors once we decide to pull the anchor and fight this fish while keeping it where we want it using Capt Dave’s boat handling skills to keep us broadside to the fish.
This was no easy task as it continued to make huge runs and try and make laps around the vessel but with the anchor up and motors on those big Yamaha 425s were able to keep us right where we needed to be. After around thirty minutes of intense runs and big direction changes and about four of us on the reel passing it back and forth around obstacles and avoiding snags the fish seemingly changed techniques. Instead of fast runs and intense movements it just started staying steady and deep with more just dead weight. It was another 24 minutes or more of this until she finally came up to the surface and there was this boat wide gasp as we couldn’t believe the size and confirmed it was our intended targeted species of wahoo. Screams of directions were given, gaffs prepared and we all ran up to the bow to where we had now positioned the last guy on the rod.
Once the fish got up on the surface, Capt Dave brought the boat up to the fish and I had the pleasure of the long gaff in hand and stuck it just behind the eyes right into the brain. The gaff struck with all my force and weight and the fish didn’t even move, normally when you stick a fish they nearly come out of the water but this fish was so heavy it felt like I gaffed a sunken red wood tree. Just a massive thud and no movement! Luckily Mike was next to me and he got a second gaff into the fish and we were able to hoist her onto the bow. As she hit the deck the stressed and tired single strand stinger rig popped right out of the mouth. We only had the trailer hook in the fish and only one prong of the treble hook was left in the mouth of the fish as we hoisted it.
Once it smacked the non skid the rig popped clean out of the fish and the single barb that held this trophy fish onto the line was clearly bent nearly straight we were just seconds from loosing this fish clearly and we were all speechless for a brief millisecond realizing how close we came to loosing this fish of a lifetime before screams and elation began to erupt around the vessel! The best part was the cameras were filming this whole time from multiple angles and its going to be a sick fishing show episode for the ‘tails of the darkside’ fishing show that TA Mahoney’s was out there filming with us aboard the Flying HUB 2.
Classic example of never forgetting your flat line, this fish would’ve just passed us by without that flat line out. Also, a great example of why its important to finesse the fish once you get them hooked up and away from any possible snags or break off areas to back the drag and let the rod tire the fish. As we passed this fish around from angler to angler to fight this monster at one point I noticed one of us were thumbing the spool to try and slow or stop the big runs and we had to holler at everyone if the fish wants to run let them run let the drag do its thing and lets not pull a hook! Luckily, we all worked together and we didn’t pull that hook till she hit the deck! What a memorable fish we all won’t soon forget. Definitely one of the nicest fish I have had the pleasure of gaffing through the brain!