King of the docks

Steve Briley of Chicago shows off his 57-pound king mackerel he caught Monday aboard the Huntress. He caught the mackerel while they were bottom fishing for amberjack using a pogey for bait. “I’d rather be lucky than good,” said first mate Groovy of the catch.

What should have been an amberjack turned out to be a king of hearts … a heart-thrilling king mackerel that is.

Steve Briley of Chicago hauled in a 57-pound king mackerel Monday while bottom fishing aboard the Huntress with Capt. Mike Graef and first mate Groovy.

“I was out of energy already,” Briley said, when the mackerel took the bait, noting he was about worn out from throwing up. The Gulf was a bit rough on Monday kicking up 3- to-5-footers.

However, inspite of his queasy stomach, Briley was up for the fight.

“It took off and went around the boat,” he said of the mackerel that would have been a contender in the month-long Destin Fishing Rodeo in October.

“I had to reel as fast as I could to keep the slack out of the line,” he said.

It took Briley about 10 minutes to land the huge king.

“It was long enough that my arms were tired,” he said.

Prior to Monday’s mackerel, the biggest fish Briley had ever caught was a 40-pound tuna fishing out of Cozumel last year. Other than that he said, maybe a 10-pound Northern Pike back home.

In addition to the mackerel, the Illinois group reeled in amberjack, mingo and white snapper.