A fleet of 29 boats competed for two days to catch the heaviest fish in the fifth Wahoo Smackdown out of the Bimini Big Game Club on Friday and Saturday the Bahamas, with the six-man Broward County team on Cash Out taking the $10,000 prize with a 47.3-pounder.
But on Thursday, one day before the contest opened, Boca Raton angler Michael Ghanem, who wasn’t even signed up for the tournament, reeled in a new Bimini record of 122 pounds aboard his 65-foot sportfishing yacht Enigma.
Enigma captain Brian Greik said the boat was “screaming down the edge at 15 knots” — referring to high-speed trolling the Bahama Bank south of Bimini — when they hooked the fish on a blue-and-pink Ilander lure.
The fish won’t be eligible for any IGFA world records because it was caught using an electric reel, but the news galvanized the Smackdown fleet, all of whom longed to catch a wahoo that size or larger.
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But it didn’t happen.
Captain Jimmy Wickett on the Cash Out said his 46-foot HydraSport motored more than 100 miles one way to Cay Sal Bank on Saturday where they encountered their winning fish.
It hit a trolled green-and-black Andy Moyes lure, according to crew member R.J. “Bobby” Boyle.
“We caught it in the first two minutes, and it was the only real wahoo bite we had,” Wickett said. “It was slow — but it was good enough.”
The crew of Island Runner, skippered by Joe Slobodian of Jacksonville, caught the second-largest fish, a 46.1-pounder reeled in by boat owner Doug Williams of Atlanta.
A junior angler, William Thomas, 14, of Orlando, caught the third-place fish, a 45.4-pounder, aboard Fishing Alone.