By Kyle Pazian
I am one of four Navy fishermen from the team sponsored by Reelflip.com, the new classified site dedicated to “Everything Fishing” and providing free listings to buy, sell and trade online.
Our team fished the 2012 Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce Dolphin Tournament, June 8-10 of this year. We were competing against 170 fellow anglers for more than $35,000 in cash and prizes and we were determined to bring in the winning dolphin. This is our true story about the one that got away.
On June 9, 2012, our Reelflip.com team ventured offshore to the Marathon Hump approximately 30 miles east/southeast of Marathon in search of the 50 pound-plus prize-winning dolphin. There was a lot of prize money at stake, including $20,000 for the first dolphin over 50 pounds so every fishermen in the lower Florida Keys was motivated to get out and fish their socks off, including us. We left the dock in Marathon at 6:30 a.m., knowing we had at least an hour run out to the Hump. The seas made it a little longer than we anticipated, because the weatherman was wrong again. Go figure!
We arrived on spot at exactly 8 a.m. and started setting lines. We where the first team there and we knew that every day on the Marathon Hump there is a big dolphin caught. With this in mind, we felt confident. Barely a half-an-hour into trolling, we had a hit off our port outrigger. Nothing special, just an eight pound skip jack tuna. We continued trolling after setting that line back out.
Five minutes later, we had a monstrous hit off our starboard outrigger. The squealing sound of line peeling out at high speed for almost a hundred yards made my heart thump. I knew we had landed something huge. I screamed at my buddy, “ Kevin, get that rod quick and keep tension on the line!” I looked back from the helm and saw what had to be a good five foot dolphin jump 10 feet out of the air about 200 feet behind the boat. What a beauty! The blues and yellows glistened off his body as he fought against the line. The first thought in my head was, “We have the tournament fish and, please, let’s don’t lose him!”
Everyone on the boat knew what we had and we were all very excited about it. I watched Kevin fight that huge dolphin for a couple of minutes, the fish thrashing, and the line straining against his weight. Kevin let a little line out, then reeled, trying to tire the big guy out and keep him on the line. Suddenly the giant fish jumped one last time before the line went slack. Kevin turned around and said, “I think we lost him boss.” My heart dropped into my stomach, knowing in my head what we had just lost was a tournament placing fish. I was thinking to myself, “You don’t get but one shot at a really big dolphin and when you do, you must capitalize or someone else will.” I was a little upset about what had just happened, but we had to keep on going and not give up.
We finished out that Saturday with 10 respectable dolphins and a couple of tunas. On Sunday, we reached our limit on dolphin by 9 a.m. with the exception of having left room for one fish in the fish box. We never got to hook into that big guy again, but he sure gave us some great memories that will last a lifetime.
We’re definitely fishing next year’s Chamber Tournament on June 7-9, 2013. If you want to join us, call (305) 872-2411 for information. Next year the big one won’t get away.