Monday, August 27, 2007

Waves, Wahoo And Wasabi

The fishing season is heating up in Playa and Cupcake’s sister who was visiting from Oregon wanted to see what it was all about. After a couple days of delay for one reason or another, she and I made it out on the last day of her vacation.

We arranged our trip the night before with Kike and José for 7 o’clock the next morning. Kike keeps his boat just a couple hundred yards up the beach from our house. It’s a typical small fishing boat or lancha, nothing fancy but adequate for a short 4 hour trip. The seats however are hard and unforgiving and there is not much protection from the high waves we experienced. As a result we finished the day a little sore and wet but more than happy with our results.
Cost of the trip was $150 US for four hours. This included some snacks, pop, beer and water, bait, four fishing rods, a skipper and a mate. Everything was on time and we were on the water by 7:10 am. We were looking for dorado (mahi mahi), wahoo and maybe even a marlin or sailfish. I was most interested in the dorado and wahoo for my refrigerator and dinner table. While Kike pointed the boat north towards Xcalacoco, José prepared the 4 rods with fresh bait. Three rods were set up with bait that simply skimmed the surface of the water from 30 to 60 meters behind the boat. These were intended for dorado which are surface feeders and travel in schools. Dorado can swim more than 50 miles per hour and can often be seen approaching at very high speed as they attack the bait. It’s pretty exciting to see, especially if it’s your bait! The fourth rod was set up with a downrigger in hopes of finding a wahoo or two deeper down. Wahoo are solitary fish and are also capable of reaching speeds of over 50 miles per hour. Wahoo and dorado are not only two of the fastest fish in the Caribbean but two of the best tasting as well.

While we were trolling around about two miles offshore in big 6 to 7 foot swells, I noticed a large log with branches drifting about 75 yards away. I casually mentioned it to Kike who immediately headed towards the drifting wood. As we approached the driftwood, Kike and José started talking excitedly in Spanish. Suddenly two, three or maybe all four of our fishing rods were arching towards the water. In the confusion, we came up empty on all but one of our rods but still managed to bring in one dorado. After getting all of our gear under control and back in the water again, we drifted through the same area again and picked up two more dorado at the same time. With three dorado now on board, we went back one final time and pulled in a wahoo from the deeper water. We were more than content with our catch by this time but still trolled for another hour without results before finally pulling in our lines. Kike brought the boat in close to shore and we enjoyed the scenery and shoreline from just a couple of hundred yards out as we covered the 4 mile stretch back to Playa.

While we did not catch a marlin or sailfish, we did see a large sailfish being caught from a larger boat in the area. We watched the last five or ten minutes of the battle complete with the obligatory aerial display provided by the sailfish before it was hoisted aboard.
Back on Coco Beach, José and Kike filleted our catch on the beach. We left them one whole dorado and half of the wahoo and still went home with a dozen or more dinners. Unfortunately Trish, and her friend Margie had to get to the airport in the afternoon and didn’t get to stay for dinner. I have a feeling they’ll be back. After taking them to the airport, Cupcake and I had a quick and simple dinner of fresh wahoo filets with wasabi mayonnaise, white rice and tossed salad. It was great! Wahoo is awesome! Here’s how we did the fish:

1 nice, thick wahoo filet per person
Johnny’s seasoning salt or other
Fresh lime juice
Purple onion coarsely chopped
Make a tin foil pan from aluminum foil. Rub surface with a little salad oil to keep fish from sticking
Place fish filets skin side down on oiled tin foil
Sprinkle filets with Johnny’s
Squeeze a little lime juice on each filet
Put a little of the diced purple onion and parsley on each filet
Top each filet with a couple of slices of butter
Bake the fish uncovered in the oven for about 20 minutes at 325 degrees until just cooked
The wasabi mayonnaise is simple and tasty with the fish. Just mix the desired amount of wasabi paste with mayonnaise until you get the flavor you like. A squeeze or two of fresh lime juice never hurts.

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