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Ken Perrotte’s Outdoors Calendar: Anglers’ hauls shatter old marks
Two fish caught over the past two weeks are destined for the state record books.
One confirmed new record is a white perch caught by Beau McLaughlin of Virginia Beach.
The fish was 17.75 inches long and weighed an incredible 3 pounds, 2 ounces, easily besting the existing record of 2 pounds, 8 ounces set in 1995.
McLaughlin caught the fish June 13 in a private pond in the Virginia Beach area. The perch hit a live minnow.
The bigger news for McLaughlin is that this monster perch (an infrequently used term for any perch) is being reviewed by the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) for potential certification as a world record. If certified, the white perch will best the previous world record by one once. That fish was caught in New Jersey in 1989.
The other notable catch came Saturday in the ocean waters off the Virginia Eastern Shore. Susan Nelson of Whiteford, Md., caught a fish of a lifetime when she boated a 122-pound, 1-ounce wahoo while fishing with Capt. Keith Neal aboard the Wachapreague-based charter vessel Teaser.
I always thought the wahoo must have earned its name when the first English speaking hooked into one and then yelled “Wahoo!” as this powerful, extremely fast-swimming fish stripped line off the reel in the first of what is often a couple scorching runs. But then I learned that wahoo are sometimes known as “Oahu fish” or “Pacific kingfish.”
Wahoo are said to be able to swim at over 50 miles per hour. Besides screaming runs on hookup, these speedsters sometimes explode out of the water on the strike.
The IGFA points out that most wahoo are caught incidentally when trolling for other species of fish. I’ve never heard anybody complain about lucking into a chance encounter with this incredible gamefish.
Bill Hall, the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament committee member who examined Nelson’s fish, sent word that it measured 80.25 inches in length with a 33-inch girth. The boat was entered in a tournament and trolling for tuna when the big wahoo took the bait.
Hall noted that the fish took a Joe Shute Lure and ballyhoo combination. Nelson reportedly landed the fish using a custom rod with a Shimano Tiagra reel loaded with 80-pound Mamoi Hi-Catch Diamond line. The lure/ballyhoo combination was rigged on a 130-pound monofilament leader with a Mustad hook.
Hall reported that Capt. Neal said the wahoo hit the bait as it was fished from the longrigger and made a “blistering run.” The fish came to the surface four times but did not jump, causing the crew to think that it had foul-hooked a blue marlin.
The fish was weighed on certified scales at the Wachapreague Marina. If all of the affidavits and other paperwork are approved, Nelson’s fish will easily top the existing record of a 109-pound wahoo caught off Virginia Beach in 1994 by Delmo Dawson.
As incredible as a 122-pound wahoo is, consider that the world-record wahoo weighed 184 pounds. That fish was caught off Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, in 2005 by Sara Hayward.
HOMER CIRCLE DIES
Online tributes flowed over the weekend when the word was spread that legendary fishing writer Homer Circle, often referred to as “Uncle Homer,” died in Florida at age 97.
Anybody with a love for fishing and reading about fishing over the last 50 years surely was touched by Circle’s work and his passion for time spent on the water.
Circle had a nearly 35-year run as the fishing editor for Sports Afield magazine and wrote a monthly column for Bassmasters. He authored several fishing books, hosted three national fishing shows and was the star of two bass fishing films, “Bigmouth” and “Bigmouth Forever.”
Circle was a past president of the Outdoor Writers Association of America and had an award, the Professional Outdoor Media Association’s Homer Circle Sportfishing Communicator Award, named for him. He was awarded the American Sportfishing Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award and was selected as a member of the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, Bass Fishing Hall of Fame and International Game Fishing Hall of Fame.
One short piece of writing he was frequently called upon to recite at invocations during various conventions of kindred souls was called “The Fisherman’s Prayer.” Circle’s many friends and admirers shared it abundantly over the weekend.
It goes: “God grant that I may fish until my dying day; And when at last I come to rest, I’ll then most humbly pray; When in His landing net I lay in final sleep; That in His mercy I’ll be judged as good enough to keep! Amen.”
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY
Have a happy and safe Fourth of July and try to spend some time enjoying our beautiful Virginia outdoors. The fish are biting somewhere. Weather permitting, I may target cobia or flounder sometime next week.
As always, give thanks for the military men and women who fought to give us our freedoms of today and think of those serving in distant lands, working to preserve those freedoms and make the world a safer place.
Ken Perrotte can be reached at The Free Lance–Star, 616 Amelia Street, Fredericksburg, Va. 22401, by fax at 373-8455 or e–mail at email@example.com.