Clay Hildman's catch turned a lot of heads on the docks Wednesday, and if it had been October, it may have won the jackpot.
Hildman's 48-pound king mackerel that he hauled in on the Phoenix with Capt. Scott Robson, could have easily been a contender in the King Mackerel Division of the annual October Destin Fishing Rodeo.
"That would be a nice Rodeo king," said Capt. Robson.
Some of last year's rodeo winners in the king mackerel division topped the scales at 40.2-pounds on an under-25 foot charter boat and 39.6 on an under-25 private boat. But the largest brought in on a charter boat, which is the category the Phoenix would have fallen into, was a 36-pounder.
Although those are all gutted weights, Hildman's king was still pretty sporty, and he was one happy angler.
"It's the biggest fish I've ever caught," said the Iowa angler.
Capt. Robson said they had been out catching amberjack when he threw out a fly line.
"He hit it as soon as it hit the water," Robson said.
"He took off running," Hildman said.
Robson said the king jumped twice.
"He fought very well," Hildman said, noting it took about 20 minutes to get the king to the boat.
The big king wasn't the first or the only fish Hildman caught. He also reeled in an amberjack and another smaller mackerel.
"This was very well worth the trip," he said, standing back and looking at his catch.