A once in a lifetime catch.
March 27,1972 my 23 Ft. Hurricane and I went fishing. Easy passage through Florida's StLucie Inlet and headed NE trolling four lines one was wire line with a sea witch I made with double hook for King Mackerel. The other a skirted Balao and trolled long. Two outrigger lines one for a teaser to make a commotion the other with a skirted Balao trolled short.
My only action all day 8 to 4 was to keep the lines free of grass and check the condition of the bait. A beautiful but slow day. Standing on the engine box looking over the canvass top I noticed something different and changed course on the auto pilot. Trolling through the area resulted in three lines going down. Slowed to idle and kept moving I boated two small school Dolphin about 4#. (The fish, Not the mammal) Rebating I turned north and turned to troll south between the 12 and 12A buoys to head home. It was now 4:25 and 18 miles to the inlet so I started to pull in the lines. I had the wire line in and rod stored when the Starboard outrigger line snapped off and the Penn International 30 reel screamed in protest as the fish zipped off. I glanced at the reel and looked back in time to see a big splash with the biggest Dolphin I ever saw. I remember saying, "Wow what a fish". I stopped reeling in the flat line and went for the pole with the fish but he was in his second run peeling line off at an amazing rate. I slowed the boat to idle and picked up the pole to set the hook or test the hook up but when I did he rocketed out of the water with a high twisting jump. I had all I could do to keep a tight line. To get home before dark I had to put on the pressure hoping he would cooperate. It took about 20 minutes to get him alongside but too far to reach with my 6 foot aluminum gaff. I kept the pressure on and finally reached out and gaffed him. I thought. He exploded into action and under the boat almost pulling the pole over and bent the gaff about 45 degrees as he went under the boat. I do not remember which I did first but I grabbed the pole loosened the drag to keep the pole from touching the hull and dropped the gaff in the boat. I then reached the controls to back the boat off the line that I held as deep as possible to avoid any barnacles on the hull that could cut the line. Luck was with me and to cut this short when I had him close again he was astern swinging back and forth left to right and two more the same size were with him. An amazing sight. I finally gaffed him and pulled him into the boat between the engine box and hull and pushed the fish box up against him, but he was finished. Raced back to the inlet and pulled into my dock as it was starting to get dark. He was 5 foot long and 61-1/4 LBS. His eyes were about 4 inches in diameter. I was ahead in the tournament until the Sundance charter boat caught one a slight bigger. Wonderful memories.