Record Wahoo Worth $100,000

J Guthrie | August 1, 2000

When Michael Stefanick finally got the fish to the boat, he knew it was good one. But he didn’t know the 123-lb., 3-oz. wahoo would be a new state record and worth $100,000.

Michael was fishing with four friends in the 3-day Bull River Yacht Club Billfish Tournament on June 24, when they hooked the monster on a black-on-black islander jig tipped with a ballyhoo. The tournament was part of the Governor’s Cup Series.

“It had been a slow day that day — we had been fishing deep and decided to come back in, probably seven or eight miles on the east side of (tower) M2R6,” Michael said. “We were trolling down around 50 feet with a down-rigger and Z-Wing. That’s where he hit.”

The bait was only out two minutes when the fish hit in 140 feet of water. Michael said it took 30 minutes to land the monster wahoo.

The anglers on Cold Duck fished another two hours before returning to the dock. When another angler saw the fish at the weigh-in, he remarked that the wahoo “was a $100,000 fish.” Michael had no idea the tournament had been insured to pay a prize if anglers caught a state-record wahoo, dolphin or tuna.

“I knew it was a good fish,” Michael said. “I was down to 50 yards of line at one time. He put up a good fight.”

Michael’s fish beats the previous state record 113-lb., 3-oz. wahoo, caught by 15-year-old Ty McGinty of St. Simons just last summer, by nearly 10 pounds.

This 123-lb., 3-oz. wahoo, caught by Michael Stefanick (second from right), of Savannah, broke the state record and won a $100,000 prize. Other team members fishing the tournament with Stefanick were (left to right) Allen Proctor, of Statesboro, Dr. Jim Clifton, of Swainsboro, Jeff Mullis and Garland Nessmith, both of Statesboro


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