A 122-pound, 1-ounce wahoo, caught on June 23rd by Susan Nelson, of Whiteford, MD, has been certified as the new Virginia State Record by the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament. Nelson’s catch surpassed the existing record of 109 pounds, caught nearly 20 years earlier by Delmo Dawson of Zuni, VA.
Nelson made her record-setting catch off Wachapreague, in an area known locally as the Lumpy Bottom, while fishing with Captain Keith Neal aboard the Wachapreague based charter vessel Teaser.
The monster wahoo hit a Joe Shute lure ballyhoo combination rigged on a 130-pound monofilament leader crimped to a Mustad hook. Nelson was using a custom built rod mated to a Shimano Tiagra 50 reel and loaded with 80-pound test Mamoi Hi-Catch Diamond monofilament line.
The Teaser was competing in a MSSA Tuna-ment and hooked the huge wahoo while trolling for tuna. Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament State Record Committee member Bill Hall of Bloxom verified weight, length, and girth measurements and positively identified the wahoo, in accordance with the Tournament’s State Record procedures, and completed the State Record Application.
According to Captain Neal, the wahoo hit the longrigger, made a blistering run and later came up to the surface four times in the early part of the battle.
The fifth time the fish came to the surface during the 45-minute fight the crew saw the distinctive stripes and realized a huge wahoo was hooked on the monofilament leader. Realizing they could only hope for one shot at landing the fish, the group made ready two gaffs which were used on the wahoo.
As the wahoo was brought on board, the crew thought the fish might weigh 90 pounds. Next, a rough measurement indicated the fish was over 80 inches long. “That’s when we knew there was a shot at the state record,” said Captain Neal.
The 122-pound, 1-ounce record-setting wahoo measured 82-1/4 inches in length, had a girth of 34 inches and was registered at Wachapreague Marina by weighmaster Z.R. Lewis III.
The prior state record of 109 pounds was caught off Virginia Beach along the 100-Fathom Curve, by Delmo Dawson of Zuni Virginia on September 25, 1994.