We’re cruising across open water between Roatan and Utila with the throttles wide open. I’m up in the wheelhouse driving and the crew are on the back deck, fishing. We’re making 10, almost 11 knots with a five-foot following sea. We’ve been running for a couple of hours like this, and just about the time I start thinking, “what can they possibly catch at this speed,” a shout comes over the radio.
“Fish on! Fish on! Fish on!”
I jump for the throttles and pull back until we’re in neutral, but the boat takes a while to slow down, given the following seas. Another call comes over the radio, “Pete, can you back down?”
Not likely with these seas, I respond.
“It’s running, and it’s taken all my line!”
OK, OK, I’ll try.
By now all the passengers are milling around trying to find out what’s happening. The captain’s voice comes over the load speaker: “Ladies and gentleman, we’ve stopped because we have a fish on the line and are trying to reel it in.”
Seventy-two passengers rush for the stern all at once to witness the contest. Meanwhile, I’m trying to keep the boat’s stern square to the oncoming seas. The captain pops into the wheelhouse. “Screw it, he says,” and backs down hard — green seas coming over the lower lazerette deck.
“Anything for a fish,” I’m thinking.
Wahoo! Comes the shout. Indeed, they have landed a fabulous wahoo, one of those rare fish fast enough to bite while you’re trolling at 1 knots. Our proud second mate, Paul Znamirowski, hooked it, but we all feel like we caught it. Everyone did their part, right down to the cheering passengers who got to taste fresh wahoo just a little while later.