The world-record wahoo caught on hook and line is 158 pounds, but some reports say it can grow as large as 218 pounds. Because it's so difficult to catch, there are no limits for either numbers or size.

Wahoo is often served in restaurants as a white steak, similar to tuna or swordfish, and listed under the name ono (Hawaiian for sweet or delicious). According to one legend, early European explorers discovered waters filled with such fish along the coast of Oahu. When they looked at maps, Oahu was often spelled "Wahoo," and the name was given to the fish.

Chasing down wahoo is an expensive sport, and many charter operations don't bother. You must painstakingly hand-tie steel leaders to the monofilament lines in order to withstand the wahoo's powerful attack. You can't use steel leaders for some other fish, like tuna, because they can see them easily and will ignore the bait.

In Louisiana, you need to stop at the Puglia's Sporting Goods shop in Metairie, go to the wall of colorful wahoo lures, and pick up some Braid Marauders and Rapala Magnums. You might need teaser lures, too, such as the Dancin' Dolphin daisy chain of three rubber dolphins, which look realistic and attract the fish's eye. You should also bring onboard a downrigger - a device that lowers your bait depth when trolling. You need a boat big enough to handle blue water up to 80 miles offshore. And you'll need lots of fuel, because you're always moving. The boat we're on cost half a million dollars. To go fishing.

Earl Dufrene and his My Lil' Buddy Charters are one of a handful of boats based out of Venice that will fish for wahoo on request. Similar charters operate through the southern U.S., as well as in Mexico, ­Thailand, Brazil, and South Africa. The Bahamas hosts an international wahoo championship each year. In the Gulf of Mexico, wahoo season runs all year long in blue water, and from November to April closer to shore.

Kevin, the skipper, and Jonathan, his first mate, finish tying up the leaders. Like a lot of guys in the delta, both are well acquainted with a fishing boat. As he climbs back up onto the captain's deck, Kevin pulls out 39 cents from his pockets and flings the coins overboard for good luck. "He does that every trip," says Jonathan.