There's nothing worthless about team Reel Worthless.
Steve Brown, fishing as part of team Reel Worthless, hauled in a 594.9-pound blue marlin to earn the team $498,450.00 in prize money in the 12th annual Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic held at Sandestin's Baytowne Marina over the weekend.
"It was a heck of a fight," said Brown of Pensacola Beach. "I've caught a number of blue marlin over the years and that's the longest I've fought one." It took Brown two hours and 40 minutes to boat the blue with Capt. Myles Cooley at the helm of the Reel Fuelish.
Team Reel Worthless combined with the crew aboard the Reel Fuelish earlier this month after their vessel, a 64-foot Viking, caught fire in the marina just before the start of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic. The combined crews fished aboard the Reel Fuelish and landed the third largest marlin in the
The combined crews rode high again this weekend and pulled in a winner.
"The last 40 minutes the fish had expired," he said. Brown explained that the marlin had got itself tail wrapped in a free fall.
"We had to go up as far as we could on the drag, out to 48-pounds of pressure, which is a lot," he said. "I literally had to hold on to the seat while we were taking wraps."
Although the marlin wowed the crowd at the marina Saturday, it's not the biggest he's ever landed.
He said he caught an 800- to 900-pound blue marlin off
"That was a good one. They are all awesome in my mind," he said.
As for the one they hung up at Baytowne, Brown said they hooked it about 8:30 a.m. Friday. "When it took the bait it took off. The line was screaming off and the next thing we know it's jumping out to starboard side of the boat. So the line was out in a big belly, so we had to retrieve all that. The fish probably jumped about 15 or 20 times over the fight, which was neat to watch."
Brown said he wasn't worried about himself wearing out, but the line.
"Once it died, it gets very heavy on the line and you've got all kinds of connections between you and the fish. All kinds of reasons that it could come apart but it didn't."
Brown said when the marlin started to free fall, the others on the boat asked him what he thought.
He said, "It's heavy and I don't think we're going to get it."
"But Myles did a great job working the fish in the current. I had to just stand up and sit down and reel every time I did it and we finally got it in."
Brown said they had caught another Friday afternoon, but lost it. "That one might have been bigger than this one, but it's hard to tell.
Their blue marlin was the only one weighed in at the tournament.
Another big winner in the ECBC was the crew aboard the Done Deal with Capt. Jason Buck. They took first in the Release Division, with the release of two blues and took home $252,662.50 in prize money.
The lead changed hands quickly throughout the night Saturday in the Dolphin category. About 8:30 p.m., the Sea Wolff with Capt. Keith Quick at the helm backed in with a 47.4-pounder caught by John Parker, knocking off a 44.8-pounder brought in early by R.D. Warren on Thunder. However, minutes after the Sea Wolff pulled out, ReHab of Destin backed down with a 48.2-pounder caught by Tim Howard to take first place. Howard's catch finished on top and Quick dropped to second. The Marlin Darlin backed in at 10:35 p.m. with a 46.6-pounder to claim third place.
The top tuna came in a little after 7 p.m. aboard the Black Tip with Capt. Sparky McCann at the helm. Chris Crosby was the angler who hauled in the 131.9-pound yellowfin. About 9:40 p.m., Freak on a Leash backed in with a 105.3-pound tuna to take second, but not for long. Annie Girl backed in at 5 minutes later with several tuna to weigh, one which tilted the scales at 110.7 for second place, knocking Freak on a Leash to third.
In the wahoo category, Sherry Polk changed the board at 11:05 p.m. with a 68.4-pounder caught on the Share-E with Capt. Kevin Frelich. Relentless Pursuit finished second with a 63.6-pounder and Bloodsport came in third with a 63.1-pounder.