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Old 06-10-2008, 02:01 PM   #21
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Default RE: The Single Fish You won't..EVER FORGET....EVER

THE FISH I WILL NEVER FORGET....

i was about 40+ miles offshore out of Dauphin Island, just me, my dad,and my old roommatein my college years... we pulled up to a rig to catch some live hardtails that we were about to drop down for some aj's when i saw what i thought was the biggest king terriorizing the bait... i pulled out a 6 oz dimond jig on w. single strand 80 lb wire... pitched it next to the rig and began ripping it as fast as i could back to the boat.. suddenly i saw the shadow screaming towards my jig.... he ate it within 10 ft of the boat... as soon as i set the hook the fish surfaced and began tail walking right towards the boat!! thats when i saw that it was a BIG WAHOO!!! the fish kept tailwalking until he slammed into the side of the boat.. my heart stopped because i thought i lost him... then suddenly he began running under the boat nearly snatching my penn 950 out of my hands... i finally cleared the motor and began fighting this beast... an hour past and we finally had him in gaffing distance... to my amazement this was probably the biggest wahoo i had ever hooked... my roommate struggled with the gaff.... 2 misses and then finally stuck that 6.5' aftco gaff right behind its gills... i then grabbed a smaller lip gaff and helped him bring it into the boat... we estimated it to be around 80 lbs... once we got the fish in the boat we realized we didn't have enough room in the ice box to fit him due to all the snapper and good aj's we had caught... so we had one option... lay him down on the floor and cover him up with a beach towel and head to the island... we got back to the marina and weighed him... tipped the scales at a lil over 92 lbs.... ONE WORD DESCRIBES THAT MEMORY.... PRICESLESS!!!
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Old 06-10-2008, 02:59 PM   #22
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Default RE: The Single Fish You won't..EVER FORGET....EVER

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">I had to take notes as soon as I got in from the following ill fated fishing trip. I added to the notes in the following week or so and pretty much added "The end" to the tale today, more than a year and a half later. <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">TUESDAY Afternoon, <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comffice:smarttags" /><st1:date Day="7" Month="11" Year="2006">Nov. 7, 2006</st1:date>. <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">This is one really strange fish tale. Hopefully you realize that the really strange ones are usually gospel truth as this one is. Right now, I am totally pooped but I have to get this written before I forget some of the details. Yeah, and I gotta go vote too although my heart is not in voting this time.<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">I woke up this morning around 4 with a serious fishing itch. Maybe the approaching front started the itch just as a front often triggers a feeding frenzy with the fishes. I checked tide and weather before cooking breakfast. This is unusual for me because, when I get through shaving and dressing, eating is job 1.<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">I packed camera, cell phone and GPS into my dry box. Next, I slid my yak into my truck and went in to get a couple of rods. I generally don?t use my best tackle when yakin? but this time, my Tarpon rod went in first (Ambassadeur Record 40 on a 5-1/2 Fenwick bait caster) followed by an inexpensive Mitchell Avocet spinning rig.<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">Before I left the house, I checked the leaders on both rods, something that may have made a great difference an hour or so later. I rigged new leaders on both rods, 20# Stren Dura Tuff on the spinner and 30# Stren Dura Tuff on the bait caster.<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">I headed for the C-40 ramp in YT but, after looking at the sky, decided to launch at the FMP Station on the CFBC instead. I seldom fish the canal in my yak but with the fast moving clouds and approaching front, figured it might be a good idea.<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">I rigged a Pop-R on the spinning rod and a Gulp Jerk Shad about 18? under a long line rattle float on the bait caster. <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">I decided to head out to an area of the canal with lots of springs, to see if there were any Redfish around them as there will be in a couple of months. The Jerk Shad was trolled about 50? back and I was paddling hard to cover ground as fast as possible.<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">About a hundred yards past the Hwy 19 Bridge I caught a 5-6# Jack Crevalle. Several hundred yards further on, the rod bowed up again and then straightened. (I was using one of my front mount rod holders rather than one in the rear.) I kept paddling for 50 or more yards when I noticed the line on the rod moving ahead of the boat. It looked kinda strange to me so I picked up the rod and reeled fast to take up slack. The little Mustad circle hook was locked in. I didn?t have to do anything.<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">The fish began to tow the boat. ?Redfish,? I thought. I amended it to ?Good Redfish? a few seconds later followed by an upgrade to ?Damn big Redfish? soon afterward. After about a hundred yards with precious little drag slippage, I angled the rod to the side to sort of turn the yak a little sideways to increase the drag on the fish. <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">This is kinda hard on the wrist so I laid the rod against my knee and kicked back to relax. I passed the old Casino Boat Dock and then the Hollinswood barge loading facility. I was putting a pretty darn good strain on the fish but he didn?t seem to notice. Somewhere about this time, a couple of guys came up in a bass boat and asked what I had on. I was asking myself the same thing right then too. The only logical thing was a big Shark, most likely a Bull Shark. The guys stayed with me as I headed for the Gulf and maybe to <st1:country-region><st1lace>Mexico</st1lace></st1:country-region>. They even shot a few pics.<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">The fish was moving fairly fast but definitely not in a state of panic. At this time, I may have had 50 yards of line out. I decided to tighten the drag a little and aim the yak straight at the fish, crank like hell and see if I could get right on top of him. When I got within about 20 feet, he took off on a smoking run that stripped 50 or more yards of line off the reel and got the yak to moving faster than it has ever gone before.<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">When we passed the next to last pavilion, less than a mile from the Gulf, about 4 miles from where I launched, a big boat went flying by at warp speed. This upset the fish badly and, all of a sudden, there was 7 feet plus of Tarpon headed straight up. He turned and headed back east for a hundred yards or so then jumped again. This time, I was looking right at him and the guys who had been following me were within about 10? of him.<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">The jumps took everything the fish had left and I had him along side my yak within about 10 minutes. He was totally whipped. In the last 10 minutes I tried to break him off several times but couldn?t do it. Twenty pound test Spider Wire cannot be broken from a yak. The tiny Mustad circle hook was pinned in the corner of the fish?s mouth. <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">I slipped my little flying gaff around his jaw bone and found out I couldn?t resuscitate the fish from the yak. Instead of moving the fish back and forth, I moved the yak.<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">The guys in the bass boat took a bunch of pics of me holding the fish along side. I asked them to tow the Tarpon around to see if they could get him going again. They didn?t have a clue what I was talking about and it took a couple of precious minutes to explain. They held him on my little flying gaff and towed him in a circle for a while then on down the canal.<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">All of a sudden, they yanked the fish aboard and headed toward the Gulf at 50mph. They killed MY fish and took my gaff too. Now I am 5 miles down current and wind from my launch site.<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">I hope they have the common decency to return my gaff or the stupidity to have a photo in the paper. I don?t recall ever seeing either of them before and the boat had a GA decal if I remember correctly. <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">If you see a pic of a really humongous Tarpon in your local paper, how about cutting it out for me.<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">Several hours Later Tuesday afternoon: I just heard the turkeys showed my fish off at the Inglis Shell Station. No names yet, though<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><st1:City><st1lace><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10.5pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; mso-bidi-font-size: 12.0pt">Sharon</st1lace></st1:City><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10.5pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; mso-bidi-font-size: 12.0pt"> just asked me how big the Tarpon was. If you've seen the big Tarpon under the cleaning table at Pete's Pier--the one with the white fin, add a foot in length and considerable girth. <SPAN style="COLOR: black"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10.5pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">Honestly, I don't think I have ever seen a bigger Tarpon, much less hooked one. I've had the Tarpon at Pete's Pier eat fish scraps out of my hand so I have seen big ones up close and personal. Several of the Tarpon at Pete's are in the 140-170# class. I had my hand in this fish's mouth, bare handed. (Not a good thing normally but this fish was almost dead.) Its jawbone was almost too big to reach around. <SPAN style="COLOR: black"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10.5pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">When Rhett was about 9 he caught a Tarpon that a Boca Grande guide estimated to be 160#. It was a mighty big fish. My clients have caught many in the 100-140# class and I've caught a few myself but nothing even close to today's fish. This fish may have hit 200#. <o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10.5pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">I am not a serious Tarpon fisherman. I hate to see a fish like that one die. If I had known it was a Tarpon a little earlier, I could have steered by a crab trap and grabbed the float and maybe broken the line. I've never seen a Tarpon fight like that before. I usually know I have a Tarpon on much earlier in the show. This fish was almost exhausted before I knew what I was hooked onto. <o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10.5pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">I'll probably think about this fish every day from now on.<o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10.5pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; mso-bidi-font-size: 12.0pt">WEDNESDAY morning. I have blisters on my right thumb and forefinger, bruises on my gut and chest and my left hand and wrist ache this morning. <SPAN style="COLOR: black"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10.5pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">I am definitely too old for this stuff.<o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto"><SPAN class=posttext><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10.5pt; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">Do folks in <st1:country-region><st1lace><SPAN class=posttext><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10.5pt; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">Georgia</st1lace></st1:country-region><SPAN class=posttext><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10.5pt; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana"> eat Tarpon?<o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN class=posttext><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10.5pt; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">WEDNESDAY Night <SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10.5pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; mso-bidi-font-size: 12.0pt">Ok, we are gonna find these suckers. <SPAN style="COLOR: black"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10.5pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">Their bass boat was red and black. I don't remember the brand. The engine was an older Merc 200hp. The boat had a new 105# thrust Motorguide on the bow mounted dead in the center. (This mounting looked strange to me. I don't think I have ever seen one mounted this way.) The trolling motor was a hand control model. I know the trolling motor was new because it hadn't even started to rust. <SPAN style="COLOR: black"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10.5pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">I don't care what they did with the Tarpon now but I darn well want a couple of scales and some of the photos they took of me with the fish. <o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10.5pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">If I publicize this enough, these guys are gonna have to hide under a rock. <o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10.5pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">I talked to the DEP on Friday morning. They said they?d burn somebody?s butt if they didn?t have a Tarpon kill permit. I talked to Doug Olander at Sportfishing magazine and he said he?d keep his ear to the ground. I called several area newspapers. One of the sportswriters for the <st1:City><st1lace><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10.5pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">Ocala</st1lace></st1:City><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10.5pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana"> Star Banner said he?d talk to friends at other newspapers so I have done all I can do.<o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10.5pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">A couple of weeks later, my flying gaff was hanging on my mail box but no scale or photo.<o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10.5pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">Today is <st1:date Day="10" Month="6" Year="2008"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10.5pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">June 10, 2008</st1:date><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10.5pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana"> and I haven?t heard any more about the Tarpon but he was one of a very few fish I?ll never forget. <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10.5pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana"><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10.5pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">Maybe this is "The End" but, just maybe, somebody here knows what happened to my Tarpon.
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Old 06-10-2008, 03:05 PM   #23
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Default RE: The Single Fish You won't..EVER FORGET....EVER

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Old 06-10-2008, 10:48 PM   #24
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<P style="BACKGROUND: white"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; COLOR: #1f5080; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">I probably won't forget either time I went in the water.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><o></o><P style="BACKGROUND: white"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; COLOR: #1f5080; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">Once was my own doing, once I was pulled in. The one I jumped in after was during the ADFR years back. Just two of us on the boat and we were still within sight of the horseshoe rigs with dusk approaching. My buddyfinallygets a bigAJ (70lbs?)to the surface that he had been fightingfor 30 minutes or so and rightas it breaks the surface the hook rolls out of its mouth. There wassome current running and I didn't want that fish to get away soI took a running step and leaped inafter it. Only took me a stroke or two to reach the fishbut it had recovered enough to start diving. I took a deep breath and gave chase. The fish was obviously fatigued from the fight because Iwas able to catch it about ten feet down. Unfortunately, theydon't put handles on AJs. I was facing head towards the surface and the fishwas facing head towards the bottom. I had him by the tail / mid body and then wrapped my legs around its bodyso I could use my arms to pull toward the surface. But the fish was kicking andits tail was slapping me in the face. I could feel it slipping away. I let go with my legs and tried to death grip its tail with one hand while using my other hand and my legs to pull it back to the surface but it broke my grip. I thought about giving chase again but decided I needed air andswam back to the boat fishless.Got back on the boat and laughed for quite a while about that.<o></o><P style="BACKGROUND: white"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; COLOR: #1f5080; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">Thetime I was pulled in was in the Bud Lite a few years back. We had an AJ to weigh but still had about 30 minutes to fish before we had to run to scales so we picked up and hit one last spot on the way in. Friend of mine hooksa decent king with like 5 minutes to go before it was time to go. He only had the fish on for a couple of minutes when we saw it very closeto the boat. It was definitelystill green.The closest gaff to me was a four footer and I grabbed it to take a shot at the fish when it circled the boat. It circled slightly out of four foot gaff range but I leaned way out and sunk the gaff. Next thing I know I am underwater. Stillgot the gaff and the fish though. That fish was kicking like hell butcouldn't really pull me through the water. Damn sure could spin me in circles though. We were 5-10ft under the boat doing circles. The water wasvery clean blue and I won't soon forget seeing that fish on the end of the gaff as we spun. We had twoother linesout the back of the boat andI got wrapped up in both of them. Still had the fish though. Swam back to the surface using one hand toswim and one hand on the gaff. Got to the back of the boat (still tangled in lines) and handed the gaff off to someone on the boat to lift the fish in. They lifted and the gaff tore out. Splash, fish is back in the water. We lucked out though because the fish was still hooked and we were able to leaditback to the boat. I climbed back in, we landed and iced the fish and headed to scales. I would like to saythat fish won us the tournamentbut it didn't. It did however place on the class of 23 board as it was 35.0lbs.
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Old 06-11-2008, 12:20 PM   #25
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Sorry it's long, thanks for making me put this one down on paper.<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">It was our last day of fishing in Chub Cay, <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comffice:smarttags" /><st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1lace w:st="on">Bahamas</st1lace></st1:country-region> late in June in 1972. It is all but 4PM, time for lines in. It was one of the rare days that I was the angler, rather than the second mate and I had been praying for a blue all day. I see an explosion on the left rigger, get too excited and drop back way too short. Andy, my grandfather?s captain is screaming as usual that I ?messed? up. The fish swings back showing massive shoulders and a huge wake as it takes the Spanish again, 5 seconds later the line is tight and it is slamming me against the transom. I?m no longer the source of Andy?s cursing but surprised that I?m struggling to get to the chair as the pressure I?m experiencing seemed somewhat unusual. Maybe this was the big one.<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">Amazingly, we have the fish by the boat in about 10 minutes. I was trained to advance the drag when you got the double line back. When I asked ?permission? to touch the drag, Captain Andy said, ?Hell this fish has no clue she?s even hooked!? After seeing this massive fish swimming with the boat for about 10-15 seconds it took off heading for deeper water which was toward our bow. The fish took out a good bit on line and put on a very spectacular but brief show on the surface. <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">We were now about 20 minutes in the fight and it began to sound. I had had some experience with Blues sounding but at 5 PM the fish had been sounding a steady 40 minutes and showing no sign of slowing. I was getting worried that it would be another blue that beat us. Having to back off the drag as the spool shrank was all the more disconcerting, but I knew why. The fish began to slow when we got down to about a of the spool but I was really praying we could stop the beast. We managed to slow it down when it looked like we would see the core of the spool any minute. The reel was an International 80; before Wides and Two Speeds, so I do not know how much line was out. I will tell you cranking on a sounded fish with out a two speed was very difficult. I?m glad I was young and in good shape.<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">We were able to play a tug of war with about 20% of the line for a few more hours but I don?t think I ever regained enough to get back to the quarter spool mark. It is now dark. Two boats that had just run across from the states had been cheering us on during the fight but had lost interest and wanted to get in now that it was dark. Now this was before spreader lights and Chub had very little lights on it too. It was a very isolated feeling out there at night hooked to this fish.<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">Suddenly, we managed to regain a decent amount of line, clearly beyond the spool mark. Andy was seeking all feedback, fearing sharks had eaten the shark and that I was just pulling up dead weight. I told him that I could still feel the fish so maybe we were about to get her back toward the surface and have a chance. <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">Then suddenly, I could not gain any line. In a matter of minutes the fish starting sounding but at a slower pace. The slower pace encouraged me, but this time we were getting spooled. As we were approaching the spool?s core Andy appeared with this old gigantic FinNor that had hung in the cabin for years. I had asked him several times what it was for and he always told me, ?You hope you don?t ever have to know what it is for.? He proceeded to clip the Dacron pigtails to the 80 International and told me to put it in free spool and put it over the transom and that now we had to use the FinNor and now I knew why we had this massive 16/0 FinNor. <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">The fish continued to sound for about 10-15 minutes and we recovered the 80 after its 20-30 minute swim. We hosed it off; hit it with a predecessor to WD40. Again, we began a tug of war with at just beyond the spool mark, and then we noticed that the fish was in an upward spiral, but still digging. We managed to fairly steadily gain line but it still was not easy task. One thing a noticed was that I had lost all peripheral vision; all I could see was the reel. <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">We are now approaching 11PM. I had been in the chair for over 6 hours and approaching 7. The fish seemed to surface less than 100 yards away. We backed down aggressively and could see the fish on the surface on it side and sometimes belly up. We only had the moon to go by, but it looked like we were going to pull this one off. As we approached Andy instructed our Deckhand to carefully wire but hold on as the fish was all but dead. <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><st1:City w:st="on"><st1lace w:st="on">Sherman</st1lace></st1:City>, the deckhand took two wraps of the heavy wire with each hand that set up a kink in the wire. Andy screamed at him to hold the wire that there was no way the fish had the strength to run. The fish I guess sensing the boat, made another effort to swim off and as soon as <st1:City w:st="on"><st1lace w:st="on">Sherman</st1lace></st1:City> felt a little pressure, he dropped the wire, the wire snapped and we watched the huge blue sink into the depths of the Tongue of the Ocean. <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">I was too exhausted too care at the time, but in the 40 minutes it took us to get back to the dock it had set in. Oh, how it hurt. I then asked Andy how big was the fish? And as usual, he said, ?It swam off, it didn?t way a thing.? I did not know his estimated weight until 26 years later when his widow gave me his journal about a month after his death. He estimated the fish to be an 850# fish. He made reference to it through the years, even while fishing in places like Hawaii that are known for big fish and I never knew him to overstate a fish. <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">Yes, I know today, we count that one a release. But in ?72 the gaffs were out, release was not our intent. <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o></o><P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">I?ll never forget this one and thanks for making me put this down in writing.
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Old 06-14-2008, 12:39 AM   #26
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Default RE: The Single Fish You won't..EVER FORGET....EVER

Mine isn't really that great compared to some of these....

It was early one morning and we were still rookies at the whole offshore thing and we are sitting at the spot we fish 75% of the time we're out, nowadays the one that never fails us. (knock on wood) I am still basically asleep and it is freezing outside. We are just starting to come tight on the anchor line and I make the first drop on my go-to, nothin better, 6 oz diamond jig. I have a brand new 4/0 loaded to the brim with 40 pound sufix. I drop and I am just staring at the water not really paying attention to what I'm doing, after about 10 mins I realize I'm down to the knot and my reel is empty.... it never stopped. I come tight and I have dead weight so I'm reeling and I get maybe 50 yards on my reel and its peeling off now. After a little bit I see this king and I get our brand new big fish gaff that we havent broken in yet. I was focused so much that my dad didn't even know I had a fish on, hes just getting our limit of snapper over on the other gunnel. I stuck this joker 3" behind the eyes and get him in the boat. Here is a pic of me 3 years ago with my 2nd king (my first was like 25") Its still my personal best and every time I see this picture it makes me wanna hop on an SKA boat because kings are the best fish to catch.
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Old 06-14-2008, 09:22 AM   #27
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Default RE: The Single Fish You won't..EVER FORGET....EVER

About 15 years ago Me and a buddy were diving the Tenneco, I was standing on one of the rig legs about 128 feet down, leaning into the current, hunting AJs, Just me and my AB Biller 42 and a million freakin barracuda,, a nice AJ swims by and I aim and take the shot... right behind the gill plate all the way through. This should have been a kill shot but Oh no he had other ideas,,, straight to the bottom we go... 176' and me on 32% nitrox. not a good combination. He commenced to circle the leg of the rig and my legs, and you say just let go , not a chance and loose my AB Biller. so when he runs out of circiling cord I pull out my trusty little dive knife, and poke him right between the eyes, right in his little pea brain, well he starts to quiver and i go to work untangling my shaft cord. ease back up to the top, make about a 10 minute saftey stop at about 15 feet, the whole while wondering if one of those cudas was gonna take him from me. but my speargun prevented that. and i did fend off a few of them,, well on the boat with the fish.. and he is a good one,,, 72 lbs... my personnal best on the gun... and he tasted good as well....

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Old 06-14-2008, 06:45 PM   #28
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Default RE: The Single Fish You won't..EVER FORGET....EVER

God I miss her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:doh
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Old 06-16-2008, 09:13 AM   #29
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Default RE: The Single Fish You won't..EVER FORGET....EVER

saw this post last week and gave it some thought, alot of memorable stories but none that really stood above the rest so I never responded........well that all changed this past weekend.

Fishing an SKA tourney, the Kajun Sportsman tourney over in Fourchon during fathers day weekend this past weekend with my daughter, SET 4 Life and both of his daughters and a friend from work......this was the entire teams first SKA event of the yr and we're all rusty and apprehensive and know it. We haven't fished together as a team since national finals in Nov and know it could be a long frustrating weekend but it's time to give it our best shot.

We made our decision on where to go and the couple of spots we had confidence in.....beelined it there Fri morning and was probalby third or forth to arrive. Kwazar was first on spot and picked up a 44 there and left....we fished a bit just in case with nothing notable and made the move to our other spot about 8 mi away........there sits Kwazar 1/2 mi away on another rig so we know we are in the right areas.....and our confidence improves that we're making good decisions.

We finally hook up big, me and the bud from work both tended the rod while the deck was cleared and knew this was a BIG fish before handing the rod off to my daughter on the bow for the fight. We're all thinking big king or a quality hoo......time will tell.

At the 45 min mark, my 12 yr old is whipped, blood red hands that are starting to cramp up and dehydrated even though we've been giving her water. This isn't a tournament that only she is allowed to touch the rod so I decide to lether shake her hands out for a minute andpour water over her head and take the rod and see if I can make some headway real quick for her..... I take the rod, make a few determined pumps on the fish to find out that even after 45 min into the fight, I make virtually no headway.......my daughter already has blisters on her hands from the fight so far.....this fish isn't big.....it's real big!

She jumps back on the rod with a somewhat renewed but still tireddetermination. So far during this event, she had gone through every form of emotion possible, some spurred by me and many self imposed. She's gone through it all to try and beat this fish from crying, anger, pleading, frustration, you name it......

We finally start getting a few glimpses of color but still aren't sure what she fighting.......the visibility is somewhere around 30-40 in cobalt blue water.......at the 1:10 minute mark the fish is coming up and I get my first full broadside view and it's all silver....no stripes.....not a hoo......this is the biggest king I have ever seen come to a boat I was on........I keep my mouth shut and let her continue to work. Lou see's the fish about 20' down as does Waymon. I got my best view then and I'm thinking at least 55#+.......Lou's looking at me expecting me to say "big hoo" but it's not and everyone on board realizes it's the biggest king any of us has ever seen........Katelyn knows we can see it but can't afford to take a chance and look herself. The fish comes to 20' again on the port bow, my best view yet, surges to the starboard side, I holler for a turn, the fish surges again towards the motors and I holler again as I reach for the leader.........when I touchthe leader.....there's nothing.....I look at my daughter and she's the first to say.......it's gone!

No one on board knew what to do or say and it's just silent for a minute.......every emotion possible goes through me in a split second.I take the rod from my daughter and reel the leader and 3 hooks remaining from a 5 hook rig in........I'm instantly mad, not necessarily atanyone, just that we couldn't finish it. It just wasn't meant to be.

I realize I've just watchedmy 12 yr old daughter fight one of the most impressive fights I've ever seen.........she's devastated. I turn to look at her and she's already laying down.......I tell her and make sureshe knows she did a great job and that it's nothing she's done..... it's just part of fishing........we need to get back to it and find another.

A couple of items to add to the story and help explain what my daughter endured..........I'm sure she won't be happy with me sharing this but it was pretty rough that day and while she has tournament fished in bigger seas, she got sick firstthat morning while we where making bait as did both of Lou's daughter's but hung in there better than alot of men I know............while I still look at her as daddy's littlegirl that was literally conceived on my wife and mines wedding night, I still see a little girl. Last month was her first official body "maturing to that of a young lady" and that was a big event in her life. We all knew that the tournament was going to be a not so good weekend for her new found"maturity" along with being away from mom and out on the water for a weekend with dad during that time of the month. I push my kids pretty hard, alot harder than most now-a-days to always be the best they can be. I don't believe in the touchy-feely way of doing things and raise my kids with tough love rarely cutting them any slack that's become so common.

I watched my little girl perform above the standards that I set for most adult men.She constantly strives to do one thing.......make daddy proud! I can not explain how proud I am of her and who she has become. She was enduring extreme nausea and cramping during her battle with this fish....adversity that I will never be able to understand........to make daddy proud. She reads the forum and is a new member........Katie Mae.......you have no idea how proud daddy is of you! I am truly blessed to have you as a daughter and honored that you trust me enough and have allowed me to experience these things with you!

How big was the fish? We'll never know and it doesn't matter. We all made our speculations the rest of the day........

What we all do know.......when we got to the scales that evening to weigh the biggest fish we did boat.........we took a look at the top fish so far for the day......a 54#............it looked skinny and small!!!

It just wasn't meant to be for us this past weekend but I now have probably one of the most memorable fishing stories that I will probably ever have.......me fishing with my daughter and the one that got away on fathers day weekend.
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Old 06-16-2008, 11:11 AM   #30
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Default RE: The Single Fish You won't..EVER FORGET....EVER

The5lb pissed off Ladyfish!!!

Well when I was living in Crystal River fishing the main springs in winter for Tarpon. I was using

mirror lure to catch some 30lb jacks busting finger mullet. Instead I caught a poor mans Tarpon. As I was trying to untangle the treble hooks from this fish he,was still green and going nuts. Next thing I know the barb is stuck into my knuckle on my thumb. The way it was in I had no room to maneuver to try to get the barb out and to try to keep this fish from flapping and digging it in deeper. The pain I felt from the barb being embedded in my bone was putting me into the bottom of the boat in agony. At this time I was getting so pissed at the fish constantly moving around and not stopping for just one minute to catch my breath. I started to take my pain out on the fish. I squeezed as hard As I could to make him stop.

Until the last flop he really dug it in deep. With one motion I squeezed his head right off. I have know idea how I did it but it popped like a zit. an hour goes by trying to work this barb out of my knuckle Pulling skin farther than I thought you could pull skin. Screaming on the top off my lungs the worst you ever heard in you life. Finally it popped out of the bone and now I have the chore of cutting my skin little to weave the barb out.

Near to passing out in pain I went home with out catching that Jack or Tarpon.Buthaving a story to tell about the Ladyfish that got me good. To this day when the weather changes I'm reminded of that day.:doh
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