While fishing for billfish is typically an ego stroking activity, fishing for Wahoo equalizes the captains with big and small boats alike. It is also a way to catch some great tasting fish. “We thought it would be a good idea to organize for small fishermen. We’re against billfish fishing,” Said Joseph Jackson, local tournament organizer from Jonesville.
Fifteen boats registered for the Sunday, November 16 tournament, based at Barefoot Cay. The competition lasted from 6am to 6pm. The pelagic fish tournament gave points for catching Wahoo, tuna and mahi-mahi, the biggest fish being Wahoo. The original tournament was scheduled in late October, but was cancelled due to threats of hurricane weather in the area.
Smaller boat owners who can’t really compete in billfish tournaments in the Bay Islands had their day. Sherman Arch from French Cay brought in the biggest fish, a 48.5 pound Wahoo caught off Cayos Cochinos. The French Cay crew also placed first in the combined weigh category with three Wahoo amounting to 94.5 pounds.
At 6:05pm a car brought in a 30 pound Wahoo. “It’s from a boat that broke down. But they called in to let us know they were coming,” said Doug Hayes, Barefoot Cay tournament coordinator. At the end of the day 11 fish were caught and weighed and the biggest one came out to be a 48.5 Wahoo. All the sign-in money went towards the prizes and was paid out as a percentage of the purse. The first prize, $350 or 50% of the sign in money went to the winning boat – Miss French Cay.
One of the tournament participants, Douglas Whitney, an American resident, decided to trot between the North side of Barbareta to Pigeon Cays. “We hooked three Wahoo and landed one,” said Whitney, captain of the 19 foot Island Adventures boat based at Fantasy Island. “We fished with live tuna and, we think it was a shark we hooked into, and it spooled our entire rod. We just lost the drag and broke it so we wouldn’t loose the entire line,” said Whitney, who brought in a 31 pound Wahoo, using an islander lure with a strip of tuna behind it. Whitney first fishes for tuna to use it as bait for bigger Wahoo. [/private]