Fish story: Landing the elusive Dorado

By Janice R. Edwards

The Bulletin


Recently, I was looking through some old posts from July 2016 and came upon my post about catching my first Mahi-Mahi.


Fishing has always been kind of a rush for me – especially something big pulling on the other end of the line. I thank husband Roy for helping me to indulge in this experience.


I have kept a fish identification book with the different kinds of fish I’ve caught from the time Roy and I started to fish. We’ve fished fresh and saltwater (a lot of inshore, a little offshore). My favorite way to prepare fish is amandine style.


I learned how to do this after my first bite of Mahi-Mahi (Dorado) Amandine in Hawaii. It was like heaven. Before then, I thought the only way to cook fish was to fry it in cornmeal. But amandine - that’s a whole different animal.


When Hawaii was ruled by royalty, it was against the law for normal folks to eat Mahi-Mahi. If you were caught eating it, the punishment could be death. The taste of this fish is almost worth the risk!


Anyway, I always wanted to catch one. Roy had tried numerous times to make this happen, but the Dorado eluded me - until that trip.


Roy and I got to know “Mooch” (Pat Webb) and the Goddess (Connie Webb), and they became good friends. Mooch found out that I REALLY wanted to catch a Dorado. One Sunday afternoon he called with a weather report and an offer to go offshore in search of the Silver Bullet, King Mackerel, and possibly Dorado. Mooch used to run offshore charters.


Heck, yeah, we were going offshore!


Have you ever been so excited about doing something that you couldn’t sleep, and anticipation kept creeping into your night and filling up your every thought? I was up before the alarm clock.


There, as promised, appeared Mooch, his friend, Alan Ham, and their boat, the WEBCO, at our dock, ready for anything. Roy and I jumped in, and Mooch eased the throttle down, and off we went on our great ocean adventure!


Mooch navigated down the San Bernard and hung a left at the Intracoastal Canal. Barge traffic in the canal was like Loop 610 in 5 o’clock traffic on the way to the west flood gates at the Brazos.


An acquaintance, Nelson, was at the gates. There was some banter back and forth, ending with a comment about it being a nice day for the fishing trip.


We motored down the Intracoastal and made a stop at Bridge Bait and Tackle for Cigar Minnows, then out through the jetties we went.


It didn’t take long for Mooch to find the blue water. Allen put four rods out, and the troll for treasure of the deep began. Roy and I truly appreciated Mooch’s and Alan’s talent; they could stand up and do things while the boat rocked in the chop. Neither Roy nor I ever found our sea legs, and we fished sitting down.


With two rods out, Alan was bringing one back in to check the bait when the water directly below his hand exploded, line started disappearing, and the drag started screaming. He handed me the rod, and the fight was on.


It was a war between me and that fish. He’d strip the line, and I’d reel him in. He’d see the boat, and the process started all over again. Roy told me to start reeling in, and I think I said something like, yeah me and which army?


The guys were great. They “let” me get this one by myself, except Roy did hang on to the rod. Don’t quite know if he was helping me or just didn’t want to replace Mooch’s equipment.


Just before my arms fell off, Alan and Roy put that 30-35-pound Jack Crevalle on deck.


While I was pasting my arms back on, Roy, Alan and Mooch each took turns catching King Mackerel. I’d never seen a King Mackerel before, and Mooch said they were babies. All of them we caught were legal sized – bigger than 27”.


We each took turns catching fish as we trolled the depths. Alan and Mooch each took turns at the helm, so we all caught fish. Early on, Alan put out a funny winged-looking top water bait called a “bird”, which was Mooch’s secret weapon for the illusive Dorado.


Though we trolled the floating seaweed patches that Dorado are known to hang out around, we didn’t catch anything except seaweed.


As Alan was trolling, and Mooch was recounting a fish story, it looked like the “bird” had caught another piece of seaweed. So, before removing the seaweed, Mooch finished his story. Then he picked up the rod and started reeling in. The next thing I knew he was putting the rod in my hand and telling me to reel. Not much of a fight later, she was magically on the deck. All blue and yellow –like God’s hand-painted porcelain masterpiece. Now I understand why only Hawaiian royalty could eat these fish.


We only lacked two King Mackerel to reach the limit for all of us. Mooch caught a Bonito, and I caught my first King Mackerel, too. The afternoon got hot, and it was time to go back and clean the catch, but I was still thinking about that Dorado.


I owe a lot to all the guys. I was able to do what a lot of folks never get a chance to do, which was to catch my first “treasure”. I can mark catching a Dorado off my bucket list. Too bad she wasn’t big enough for all of us to have amandine; she sure was good, fellas.


(Write Jan in care of The Bulletin. Email: john.bulletin@gmail.com. )Snail mail: The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton TX, 77516.)