Well, the blue finally came through.
It has been howling here. In the winter the wind picks up and even when it's calm it's very choppy. Then, when we get the east current that we need for wahoo it is usually against a very strong east wind. Those oppose each other for those that don't know and the offshore swell gets big with a nice enormous chop on top of it. But, that is what we need.
Christmas Eve forecast was 16 - 18 mph southeast sustained with gusts exceeding 20. Southeast is even worst as it still goes against the Gulf Stream but also has plenty room across the straights in between Key West and Cuba to stack everything up. Alas, we make it to the reef running in the trough which wasn't bad but when we hit the drop off the waves grew tremendously. I turned around and want back about 1/2 mile to the inside of the fore reef to get suited up so we could actually stand.
We get out to the proper depth and throw the float lines out (which is rare for me). I drop the flashers right under me and ease myself in. Usually I would load my gun on the boat but it was just way too rough for that. I clear my snorkel, the bubbles clear...
there are 5 wahoo swimming right at me very slow, lit up. What an unreal sight.
I load up 2 bands, discuss with myself if I should dive now or load the third... they're under me moving away! I load the third band and drop with a 1/10th of gas in the tank. I let the closest and smallest go right behind me and a 30# on my gun side closest go under my gun going for the leader of the pack, a 40 plus. I'm out of air and they are not cooperating. The shot is just way too far. It's a no go, Dammit.
We drift up on the reef in less than 10 minutes. The Gulf Stream is in close and the east current is pushing 2 to 3 knots. The water is purple and there is not a particle in it. This is NatGeo stuff here. I call for the boat and set up the drift again.
We jump in a little south of the original spot because a charter boat anchors right in line. No problem. We're loaded up this time. We drop in and the first thing I see is a bait ball of sardines that are from about 80' down to about 10' from the surface that counted in the 10's of thousands. It was incredible. We drifted for about 5 - 7 minutes, enough to get bored when you have seen a wahoo that quick. I can tell we are approaching the reef again as I can see the bottom in 90' which means we've hit the drop off. About 30 seconds later I do a drop to look for grouper. I level off at 70 or so and realize we need to set-up again because the bottom is 80'. I come up and wave to the boat to get myself and G. I drop my head to clear my snorkel and hear a shot
I look down and see G off my left about 30' but before I can focus on him I notice he shot a fish in the back of the pack and there are 3 wahoo 15' underneath me. I breathe and drop instantly, spooking the 2 on my gun side slightly. They drop and do a zig and then zag to look back at me as I leveled off under the waves. I send a perfect high quarter shot behind the shoulder of the closest fish. I look up and G's fish goes by me less than 8' from my face, mouth wide open, pulling his line. Scary as shit.
My fish goes North (shallow) and within 50' u-turns toward the south, rips the 12L Rob Allen out of my hands and sinks it 20' moving at an astonishing speed. I catch it after 10 seconds then in less than a moment it rips under water 20' again and is moving out of site. I've never swam so hard in my life. I look back the fish are splitting us, we are at least 150 yards apart at this point. I'm kicking as hard as I can and the fish has now taken the float out of site, a couple hundred feet from me. Amazing power.
In an effort to wrap this up G lands his fish. I ask the boat for a ride through these giant waves to my fish (which I don't like to do). As soon as the boat is there the float is only 50' from me now and the fish has wasted his energy. I decide to just swim to it and in 2 minutes or so bring it slowly kicking up from 100'.
I get in the boat and G and I are screaming like little girls. This was G's first fish, admitting to losing his first 6. I'd estimate his just under 60#'s. Mine was in the low 40's. The waves are huge, we are both overheated and within 1 minute we go from pure excitement to puking. Neither one of us can hold it in. We started dumping water on our heads and down our suits but it lasts a minute and we both over heat again. The water is not cold enough yet to wear a 3mm and chase those fish. That plus the waves and boat moving made it unbearable.
We take our tops off and decide to go into the reef and chill to try again. We take the 1/2 mile trip into the reef and sit in 30' of water where the waves are only 2 to 3'. We try to untangle the catastrophe on the boat and soon as either of us duck our heads we just start puking. The conditions were beyond epic. We wanted to stay there all day but that rush just got the best of us. It was christmas eve, we all had dinners to go to and 100# of fish in less than 40 minutes.
We couldn't take it any more and decided to leave the greed behind and go have plenty time to spend with our families. We started headed home at 9:57am.
I couldn't be more fortunate to live where I do.