Susan Nelson, Angler with 122-lb. wahoo
A 122-pound, 1-ounce wahoo, caught June 23 by Susan Nelson of Whiteford, Maryland, while fishing with Capt. Keith Neal aboard the Teaser out of Wachapreague, may be a new Virginia state record.The fish measured 80.25 inches with whopping 33-inch girth. They hooked the fish while trolling for tuna off the Lumpy Bottom, on a Joe Shute Lure and ballyhoo combination rigged on a 130-pound mono leader with a Mustad hook. Nelson landed the fish using a custom rod with a Shimano Tiagra reel loaded with 80-pound Momoi Hi-Catch Diamond line.
The fish came up to the surface four times but did not jump, leading the crew to believe it was a foul-hooked marlin. Only when the crew saw the telltale stripes did they realize what they had, and also knew all too well they had it on a mono leader. “We knew we had one shot at gaffing it with the mono leader,” said Capt. Neal commented. “The fish came alongside and when the mate hit it with the gaff, the rubber gaff handle pulled off. We put a second gaff in it and pulled it aboard.”
After taping the fish, Neal said he knew they had a shot at beating the existing Virginia wahoo record, so he called his wife as soon as he had cell service to verify the existing record was within reach. The current record is a 109-pounder caught in 1994 off Virginia Beach. The fish was weighed at the Wachapreague Marina. VSFT State Record Committee member Bill Hall, in accordance with VSFT State Record procedures, identified the fish and filed the State Record Application.