What better place to set a world fishing record than in the "World's Luckiest Fishing Village?"
Michael Stough of Cincinnati, Ohio, did just that while fly fishing aboard the Anastasia with Capt. Tony Davis on Tuesday. His pending world record red snapper, a 9.5-pounder, was caught on a 6-pound tippet.
The current record on the books for red snapper on 6-pound tippet is 7.13 pounds caught by Ched Cooke in 2010.
"I wonder if he (Ched Cooke) had a cold chill run across his back a couple of hours ago," Stough jokingly said Tuesday afternoon after they weighed his snapper at HarborWalk Marina.
This is not Stough's first time to fly fish for snapper out of Destin, nor his first world record.
Last year, while fishing aboard the Anastasia, he set the world record for 16-pound tippet with a 12.6-pound red snapper, and the record for 8-pound line with a 12.1-pounder.
"I fish all over the world, but Destin is by far the best place to catch red snapper," Stough said.
Stough, who has been chartering trips aboard the Anastasia for more than a decade, set aside five days to try and set a few world records. His plans were to catch the largest snapper on 12, 6, 4 and 2 pound tippet.
On Tuesday, day three of his fishing expedition, they targeted snapper using 12- and 6-pound tippet.
"We broke off about a dozen red snapper, as well as released about 10 small ones," said Capt. Davis, before Stough pulled in the winning keeper.
Fly fishing for red snapper, a bottom dwelling fish, can be a challenge.
Davis explained that they chum the fish to the top then Stough goes to work with the fly.
Stough likes to use a Clouser fly and he set aside about six dozen for his time in Destin.
"They hit a fly real well," Stough said. "But fly fishing is demanding."
Stough explained that red snapper are programmed to go to protective cover once they take the fly.
With a regular rod and reel, an angler could hoist a snapper in the boat in a couple of minutes.
"But on this rod it took about 25 minutes," Stough said. "You have to be gentle … and not much drag."
Fly fishing is "more finesse than brawn," he said.
And it takes a lot of patience on the part of the captain as well. The captain has the difficulty of holding up on a spot and wind is always a factor.
But Stough spoke highly of Davis and the Destin captains.
"The professionalism of the fleet here is great," Stough said. "And Destin is a place where you can still have your catch cooked up."
"This is exciting, pretty incredible," Stough said, once his catch was weighed and measured in at, 26 1/4 long, and 19 3/4 around the girth.
The crew had plans to go back out a couple of more days, weather permitting.
"I want to own every line class for red snapper," Stough said. "And I'm slowly but surely getting there."