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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
October 17, 2014     The Catalina Islander
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October 17, 2014

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Reveage of the Wahoo BY CAPT. JOHN KING AFISHINADOS CHARTERS Many young people would be surprised to dis- cover that Wahoo is a fish, not an internet search en- gine. It is served in res- taurants as Ono and is con- sidered one of the finest eating fish of the sea. It is also one of the fastest and most elusive fish to target. In my experience the Wa- hoo is also the most dan- gerous fish around. Wahoo are notorious for swim- ming right through your fishing line. I remember fishing for tuna on the Jaime Bank off Cabo. We stopped in front of a pod of Dol- phin and dropped our baits. Noth- ing. No bites. Well maybe a slight tick, but nothing hooked up. As we pulled in our lines we felt the tell- tale sign of a break-off, no weight, no hook, just a pure and perfect surgically cut line where the hook should have been..."Wahoo", the deck hand muttered. My first successful encounter with a Wahoo occurred on my first long-range trip from Catalina to Cabo aboard Afishinado when she was a brand new boat. This was an exciting journey that required serious planning since we would be out of touch for up to a week at sea (before satellite phones were With Capt. John King affordable option). We had enough water and meals for 10 days just in case...we would not need it. The first three days of the jour- ney were filled with new sights and un- usual catches, but it was on the fourth day that we knew things had changed. The ocean changes at the elbow of the Baja Peninsula just south of the San Benito is- John King lands and Turtle Bay. At that point, the Columnist weather warms, the seas turn purple blue and the fish increase in size and in numbers. As we left Turtle Bay we put out the trolling jigs. Watching jigs behind a boat in a gentle fol- lowing sea is akin to watching a bonfire on a beautiful beach. You can simply let your eyes enjoy the ever changing patterns while your mind takes a little vacation...until a monster comes flying out of the water and takes a bite out of the 'Mean Joe Green' lure. This was a big fish, at that mo- ment it was certainly the largest fish hooked aboard Afishinado. The drag screamed out and the fish showed itself in one incred- ible leap. At the time my buddy Bob was cooking hamburgers for our lunch. When he realized what I had on the line he started flipping the burgers into the sea and yelling 'Change in menu, Wahoo burritos are today's special'. The fish was easily 85 pounds. I will never forget the teeth; small, razor sharp and tightly packed with no gaps, somewhat like those overly ambitious steak knives that you see on infomercials cutting through bricks. The sea lifted and the Wahoo slid across the deck bumping Bob's fishing boots that were left in the corner. It was not until a bit later that we discovered the right boot had been completely sliced across at the heel. My second encounter with a big Wahoo came during a tournament. We were slow trolling a live 12- pound skip jack tuna as bait near the Iman Bank, hoping for a'big Blue Marlin. The bait got attacked and the battle was on. Something wasn't right. We knew it wasn't a Blue, but we were not sure what it was until it was near the boat. A huge Wahoo, easily over a hun- dred pounds had gulped the bait. My deckhand seemed to have the fish under control at boat-side as he held the 500 pound test leader in one hand and went in for a gaff shot with the other. The big fish lashed forward, propelling itself right through the leader and into the air, landing about 10 yards in front of the boat. In that split sec- ond, an $18,000 fish was no longer ours. You might think my encounters with this fish would be over. How- ever, this year, for the first time that I can remember, we have had local anglers hook Wahoo (El Nino?). My enterPrising artist wife Karen decided to have one of her wood carvers make a Wahoo to sell in Afishinados Gallery Store. This turned out to be the most treacher- ous Wahoo of all. I had hung the fish according to the artists wishes, but I was not entirely confident of the arrange- ment. Sure enough, the very next day, while hanging another item the Wahoo jumped from the wall and hit me square on the head. I want to thank Nurse Carl and Dr. Tracy at the Catalina Island Medi- cal Center for the fine job of stitch- ing me up...nine beautiful staples. Wahoo is off of my menu for now. Capt. John runs Afishinados Charters and can be reached at or 888-613- 777 Watson From page 1 ties of three will chronicle my trav- els in one of my favorite regional destinations, the High Sierra. Capt. John King is seen above with stitches in his head. Courtesy photo LAS VEGAS What's that you say? Las Vegas isn't in the High Sierra! Well, technically you're right. But a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single misstep and as I began that journey I found myself racing across the blistering desert "towards that gorgeous Venus fly trap in the sun. Every place on earth has its mysterious dark side and one need not scratch deeply to find it in Ve- gas. Even the name is something of a mystery: the name "Las Vegas" translates to "the meadows." Go figure. Not only is the history of Vegas tied inexorably to the Underworld, but not far beneath the fun and fri- volity lurk tales of suicides, broken dreams and no shortage of para- normal stories, including a pair of particularly chilling ones I will re- late to you forthwith from one of our very own Islanders. A SORDID PAST The foundation of modern-day Vegas was laid in the late 1940s by one Bugsy Siegel, a mobster as- sociated with the Luciano crime family and the driving force be- hind the infamous crime syndicate known as Murder, Incorporated. Maybe you've seen the movie. Siegel helped finance the origi- nal Flamingo Hotel & Casino, billed at the time as "The World's Greatest Resort Hotel." But as with most bets in Vegas, the Flamingo didn't pay off, at least not initially. In its first year of operation, the resort was showing little or no profit and Siegel's mob investors were losing their shirts, and there- fore their patience. After a number of Mulligans, reprieves and second chances-- none of which proved successful-- Bugsy met his end in true mobster fashion when he succumbed to an acute case of "artillery sclerosis" while relaxing in his Beverly Hills home. Although Siegel met his end in California, the influence of the mob has helped give the city a reputation, though largely unde- served, as one of the murder capi- tals of the United States. In reality, murder rates in Las Vegas tend to fluctuate around na- tional norms and precious few of them these days are tied to orga- nized crime. But murder isn't the only way of leaving Las Vegas feet first and the city also holds the dubious honor of being the suicide capital of America, a title it does deserve. The chances of dying by sui- cide there, say the statisticians, are twice the national average, so watch your step. Legion are the beleaguered souls who toss one last desperate Hail Mary pass in their lives: run- ning off to Vegas with their life savings in the hopes of winning it big, thereby giving themselves Watson, Page 15 FISH & TOURTHE ISLE IN 'I want my bae0n 0n Beae0nl' Support your new V0n's 4 i Friday, October 17, 2014 THE CATALINA ISLANDER