Stranger things have happened, but not since last October when the crew aboard the Strange Brew with Capt. Ken Nettles at the helm broke a 15-year-old Destin Fishing Rodeo record with a whopping 111.6-pound amberjack.
A little after 6 Wednesday evening the Strange Brew backed in at the Rodeo with a pair of ‘jacks that would strain anybody's back. They didn't set any rodeo records, but they did manage to top the leaderboard taking over the No. 1 and 2 spots in the amberjack category of the Charter Boat Division with a 90- and 57.4-pounder.
"It felt like I was hooked up to a train," said 15-year-old Chase Barnhill of Crestview who hauled in the 90-pounder. "It was pulling. He ran … it was hard to hold on."
"It started screaming out drag … the reel was smoking," said Capt. Nettles when the amberjack latched on to the foot-long hardtail they were using for bait.
"I was pretty much just holding on," Barnhill said.
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The group was fishing about 40 miles out when Nettles said they dropped the hardtail down in hopes of getting a grouper bite.
Using a 6 ought with 80 pound test, Nettles had told Barnhill to fish about 10 to 15 cranks off the bottom.
"He got about to eight … and wham," Nettles said. The fight was on.
The noise that reel was making was unbelievable, Nettles said. "It was literally hot to the touch when it was done."
The 90-pounder wasn't the first fish of the day. The crew from Crestview had caught about a 35-pound amberjack, and then Shane Barnhill hauled in a whopper that tilted the scales at 57.4 pounds — which ended the day in second place.
Knowing they had a big jack on board they moved to another spot to grouper fish when Chase snagged his big one.
And even though the Strange Brew is sitting atop the board for now, when Capt. Nettles was asked if he's looking to catch a bigger one, "I'm gonna' try."