Worth More

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The Bad Luck/Good Luck Team of the 2014 season has done it again. Reel Worthless, fishing aboard Reel Fuelish, captured the only blue marlin weighed in this year’s Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic to sweep the billfish division. That fish, a 594.9-pounder cranked aboard by Steve Brown of Pensacola Beach, Florida, is worth in the ballpark of a half-million dollars for the crew.

Reel Worthless, with Capt. Myles Colley at the helm, took first place in the release division at the Cajun Canyons Billfish Classic in May. Just before the start of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic in Biloxi the first week of June, however, the boat caught fire at the dock and was severely damaged. The crew then teamed up with Reel Fuelish, a 60 Skulley and landed a marlin that weighed 539.1 pounds, good for third place. And now the good luck streak has continued on in Sandestin.

“I fought it for two hours and 40 minutes,” Brown explained. “We had her up close pretty early, then she surged off again, got tail wrapped and expired. It was a great fish and it took good team work to get her aboard. Over the years I’ve caught a lot of nice fish, but never one like this.” Reel Fuelish was about 210 miles southwest of Destin near an oil rig when the marlin ate a live blackfin tuna bait around 9 a.m. Friday morning. The crew also pulled the hooks on another marlin that was bigger than the one landed, according to Reel Worthless owner Johnny Johnson.

Game fish were not in short supply, however. The leader board in the tuna, dolphin and wahoo divisions changed hands several times throughout Saturday night. Cris Crosby on Black Tip, a Buddy Davis convertible based in Key West, Florida, scored the biggest yellowfin at 131.9-pounds. Truitte Jackson on Annie Girl was second with 110.7 pounds of yellowfin fooled by a pink/blue C&H lure, while Cory Racca had the third largest tuna weighing 105.3 pounds. Racca was fishing aboard Freak on a Leash, which also recorded a grand slam by releasing a blue and white marlin and a sailfish. Conrad Hawkins, fishing on Lucky 2, scored the second slam among the 77-boat fleet by releasing both blue and white marlin, plus a swordfish.

“We caught that fish first thing in the morning live baiting,” Crosby said. “Nothing to it. It was the perfect way to start the day.”

Tim Howard on REHAB scored the biggest dolphin this year with a hefty 48.2-pounder. Share E, a 76 Viking and constant tourney contender, waited until just after 11 p.m. to bring in the largest wahoo. Angler Sherry Polk’s fish tipped the scales at 68.4 pounds.

The big payday comes Sunday morning at the awards brunch hosted by Wind Creek Casino & Hotel-Atmore. But there’s no question right now that Reel Worthless will be taking home more, not less, of the overall $1.68 million purse.

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Capt. Dave Lear

About the Author:

Capt. Dave Lear has been covering big-game fishing for more than two decades, first as the editor of Marlin magazine and later as an award-winning freelance writer and tournament correspondent. The former executive director of The Billfish Foundation was also the 51st angler to gain membership in the IGFA's exclusive Royal Billfish Slam Club by catching and releasing all nine species of billfish. Learn more about Dave at www.captaindavelear.com.