SEATTLE — A longtime saltwater angler caught a new state record mahi mahi off the coast near southwestern Washington last week.
Wade La Fontaine, from Camano Island, caught the 21-pound dolphinfish 42 miles off the coast near Westport on Aug. 25.
The dolphinfish was checked by a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Fish Program biologist and weighed on a certified scale at Ocean Gold Seafoods. The catch was officially certified on Aug. 30.
Dolphinfish are caught by recreational and commercial fishers targeting albacore tuna and other species off the Washington and Oregon coasts. According to WDFW, most mahi mahi caught off the state's coast are in the 6- to 12-pound range. La Fontaine’s fish — which was 48 inches long and 40 inches — was more reminiscent of large dolphinfish caught in warmer waters off southern California, Mexico, and Hawaii.
WDFW said the charter reported the water temperature in the area measured 70 degrees, warm but not unprecedented during El Nino years.
Washington’s previous state record dolphinfish was 16.27 pounds caught by Albert DaSilva out of Ilwaco in 2013.
La Fontaine has been going on trips off the Washington coast for more than 10 years, according to WDFW.
“I’m so appreciative to Keith Johnson, Darrell Johnson, Raymond Paraíso, and Aden Kallerson with Far Corners Adventures Sport Fishing,” said La Fontaine. “Without these charters doing it (making the run offshore) day after day, I wouldn’t have had a chance to connect with this fish.”
“I’m blessed beyond comprehension,” he said. “I’ll be getting another tattoo of a mahi!”