Local anglers hit a grand slam

Joe Tyner of Fort Walton Beach got this blue marlin to the boat in about an hour on 80-pound test.

With no bats and balls involved, a group of local guys still managed a grand slam this week.

Joe Tyner, Frank Kane, Scottie Allen, Ed Fundis and Don Bahr, all members of the Fort Walton Beach Sailfish Club, played a part in hooking a Billfish Grand Slam for Tyner's boat, The Great Escape. The group caught a white marlin, blue marlin and a sailfish, all in one day — plus more.

Following Monday night's board meeting of the club, the men boarded Tyner's boat and headed offshore.

The guys started fishing Tuesday morning just the other side of the Squiggles.

"It didn't look good," Tyner said. So they decided to head toward the Desoto Cannon.

"We really hadn't caught anything, maybe just a few bonito," Tyner said.

Then they finally hooked into a white marlin at about 2 p.m.

"It skyrocketed about four or five feet before it slung the bait … but it was a pretty sight," Tyner said.

About an hour later, they hooked into another white, using a Ballyhoo on mono. It took about 15 to 20 minutes to get the marlin to the boat.

"We tagged and released it and he was healthy when we let him go," Tyner said. The white caught by Kane measured 42 inches.

Working the 3,000 feet contour line, they hooked up with another white marlin.

"It put up a good fight," Tyner said, noting it took about 20 minutes. Fundis was the angler on the rod that snagged this white, which was about the same size as the earlier one. Again they tagged and released the fish.

Billfish protection is one of major concerns of the FWBSC of which they are all members. The International Game Fish Association has recognized the club for its efforts to promote sportsmanship and adhere to the principles of game fish conservation.

About an hour later they spotted a sailfish hitting some bait near the surface and turned the boat around to troll the area. With a 10-inch purple mold craft lure, Allen hooked the sailfish.

"It was a large sailfish for the Gulf of Mexico," Tyner said, noting it was about 120 pounds.

With the sun starting to set on the day, it was Tyner's turn on the rod, when a blue marlin hit a medium Ballyhoo with a small green/pick Islander on 80-pound test.

Tyner said it took about an hour to get the blue to the boat, fighting it the entire time in just a standup harness with no fighting chair.

"If I hadn't had someone throwing ice on my back, I'd probably have given up," he said.

The blue, which weighed about 300 to 400 pounds, came to the surface one time then tried to stay deep.

"I had him hooked nicely right in the corner of the mouth," Tyner said.

The blue was pulling hard. "You could hear that the band on the line was tight," he added.

He finally got the blue to the boat and the guys decided to head home.

However, the trip in was eventful as well with Bahr snagging a wahoo and Tyner a blackfin tuna.

"The wahoo is going to be dinner," Tyner said.