After a four-and-a-half hour battle with a deep sea behemoth, an angler reeled in one of the biggest marlin ever caught off the Alabama coast — and a new tournament record.
During the Orange Beach Billfish Classic fishing tournament on May 19, a county commissioner in Georgia Brian Stover and the fishing team of the “Mollie,” led by captain Jeff Shoults, hooked something big.
Shoults told Orange Beach News that his team was using blackfin tuna as bait to try and catch marlin, one of the deep sea fishermen’s specialties.
About 250 miles offshore, the rod and reel was handed to Brian Stover — and the line started running, AL.com reported.
“At that moment, everybody was seeing what I had been feeling,” Stover told AL.com. “That thing was like a dinosaur coming out of the water. The head was huge.”
The fish was weighed by tournament officials, and hit a whopping 776.4 pounds. It was not only the biggest fish of the weekend; it was the biggest fish ever caught in the tournament. It was more than 10-feet long, the tournament reported.
“We didn’t spend a whole lot of time fishing after that,” Shoults told Orange Beach News. “When you catch the biggest one you’ve ever caught you think about it and go ‘well, am I really going to catch one any bigger or do we just need to go home?’ We just got away home.”
Stover told AL.com he had previously been marlin fishing in Costa Rica, bringing home a fish around 350 pounds, only half the size of the new record.
The fish was a record-breaker in the tournament, but didn’t break the state record. The state record is held by Ginger Meyers of Sunset, Louisiana, who landed an 851.9 pound marlin in 2020, according to OutdoorAlabama.com.
Stover’s winning 776-pound fish also came with a big prize — $183,000, AL.com reported.
Shoults told Orange Beach News that the fish will be donated to area food banks and other organizations.
Orange Beach is on Alabama’s gulf shore, about 55 miles southeast of Mobile.