RODEO RECORD: Breiz hauls in big wahoo on Don't Hate, 'fish of a lifetime'
Editor's Note: The Destin Fishing Rodeo, Destin's longest running tradition, will be celebrating 73 years this October. In the next few weeks, The Log will be taking a look back at some of the fish that hold down Rodeo Records, and the fish to beat for this year's fishing tournament.
Rodeo record — Wahoo, 98.2 pounds
The plan was to catch a big king mackerel. But when the threesome aboard Don’t Hate hooked up with a massive wahoo, there were no regrets of a king on that October day.
When it was all said and done, Omar Breiz of Mary Esther pulled in a 98.2-pound wahoo on Oct. 21, 2010, for a Destin Fishing Rodeo record.
“We had planned this trip and knew that the weather was going to be perfectly flat. So the day before, we had a game plan to try and catch a big king mackerel,” Breiz said.
“I went out early to go get bait … hoping for big Rodeo stuff,” said Capt. Scott Whitehurst of the Don’t Hate.
“The mullet we had were like big, massive mullet. They were like 1, 2, 3-pound mullet,” Breiz said.
“And we were looking to catch a monster king,” said Breiz, who now lives in Hobart, Indiana, but always makes it back for the Rodeo.
Whitehurst, Breiz and Rick Pope were aboard the 23-foot Sailfish boat and headed out to the edge.
The guys mostly had king mackerel tackle because that’s what they were targeting.
“It was slick calm,” Breiz recalled. "There was a little breeze … nothing much happening.”
Breiz said they started chumming the water and threw out a mullet when all of sudden one of them just got sliced in half.
“Oh man, there’s something out here,” he said. “We threw another one out there and boom, we got a hit.”
“We thought it was a king but it was a nice wahoo … about 40 pounds,” he said.
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At that point, Breiz said they put a bigger mullet out, about a 2-pounder.
“We pitched him there and we were just slow trolling on the edge and all of a sudden … there was like a flash where the mullet was,” Breiz said. “Scott started yelling ‘grab the rod, grab the rod.’ ”
It was Breiz’s turn on the rod so he grabbed it.
“As soon as I got it in my hand, you just saw this huge explosion on the mullet,” Breiz said.
“I was like holy moly … jack’em up,” Whitehurst said.
“I started setting the hook and it just hauls butt out the back of the boat. It probably dumped about 250 yards of line right away,” Breiz said. “I’m on a king mackerel rod and reel and it’s just smoking.”
“Scott screams to go to the front of the boat … he’s chasing the fish down, while I’m reeling,” Breiz said.
Breiz said he managed to get the line back and the fish bolts again in the opposite direction.
“On the second run, he started just unloading line,” Whitehurst said. “I was having to run after the fish on a plane to keep the fish on line.”
They caught up with the fish, and then it finally made a beeline to the bottom.
“I’m just cranking and cranking … we had no idea how big the fish was,” Breiz said.
The fish had gone to the bottom and died.
“When the fish came up and we saw the color and how big he was on the side of the boat … there were no words. Nobody said anything. Dead silence,” Breiz said.
Pope gaffed the fish, but they quickly realized it was going to take two, Whitehurst said.
“We were in shock,” he added. “I think I’m still in shock.”
They were trying to figure out just how big the fish was, so Breiz grabbed it by the tail with two hands and couldn’t connect his fingers.
They guessed the fish to be bigger than 80 pounds. Ken Creel was on the leaderboard with an 81.2-pound wahoo.
The wahoo was so big it wouldn’t fit in the cooler.
“It stuck out of the box by 2-feet,” said Whitehurst, who noted that they put wet towels on the tail.
At that point, the guys called it a day and headed back to the Rodeo scales.
The whole weight on the fish was 105 pounds. The wahoo was then gutted for an official Rodeo weight of 98.2 pounds.
Because it was so early in the day, the guys brought the fish back later to show off to the crowd.
“We gave a good amount of the fish away. ... That was a lot of meat,” Breiz said.
Breiz has made it on the Rodeo leaderboard over the years, but the wahoo was the best ever.
“It was a beast … the fish of a lifetime,” he said.