Tracy City’s Brian Shook caught the first place dolphin (Mahi) in the Offshore division of the 67th annual Destin Fishing Rodeo. The event runs the entire month of October each year with approximately 35000 people fishing the event each year. On October 16, Shook was fishing aboard the Destin Princess party boat when he hooked up with the winning fish.
“I was fishing off the back of the boat where I could have a better shot for a trolling fish. Someone else hooked up with a Mahi and there was a pod of them. Captain Reid (Phillips) said there was a big bull in there with them. I was using one of my catfish rods with a frozen sardine for bait. I chugged it a couple of times and he hit it,” said Shook.
Just hooking a Mahi is one thing. Getting it in is another as the fish fight like crazy. “It took me 15 minutes to get it in. I was having to move around other people on the back of the boat and finally the mates just cleared everyone out because they knew it could be a rodeo fish. It was jumping 8 feet out of the water and flipping end over end. It would run 50 yards one-way and then 50 yards the other. Captain Reid came down out of the wheelhouse to supervise and make sure no one messed up gaffing the fish. When we got it in the mates were high-fiving each other and yelling. When we got to the dock, there were people everywhere and when they announced the fish as the leader the crowd, and it was a huge crowd, they went crazy – like I scored a touchdown at a football game. It was crazy,” added Shook.
The fish weighed 17.2 pounds gutted. They weighed the fish gutted to ensure there was no cheating on weight. Shook then had to watch the boards daily from back home to see if the fish would hold up for the rest of the month long contest. When the final results were posted on http://www.destinfishingrodeo.org/ on Saturday night, he knew he’d won the category. Exactly what Brian won will not be known until prizes are given out on November 5. It is likely the prizes will be a trophy and a substantial gift certificate which isn’t bad for a day he got to fish for free.
Shook’s son Alan is a mate on the Destin Princess’ sister boat the Destiny and immediate family get to fish for free on the boats. On top of the prizes, Shook got to eat the fish which confirms that the only bad day fishing is the day you don’t go.