SMOKIN’ - Ryan Brown reels in massive mackerel

Ryan Brown of South Carolina holds up his 55 ½-pound king mackerel he caught Monday aboard the Fish-In-Daze with Capt. Robbie Broestler.

Ryan Brown came close to “tapping out,” but he hung tough for the catch of a lifetime Monday.

Brown, of South Carolina, hauled in a 55 ½-pound king mackerel while fishing aboard the Fish-In-Daze with Capt. Robbie Broestler.

“He was getting me close to tapping out,” said Brown, who was fishing with family.

Captain said they were fishing about 4 1/2 miles from the East Pass when they hooked the mackerel on 30-pound test with a pilot rudderfish for bait.

“He was being chased immediately,” Broestler said of the bait.

As soon as the king latched onto the bait, “He pulled out 125 yards in about four seconds,” captain said.

“I charged forward to get some line in.”

Brown, with rod in hand, was tugging and reeling.

“He took off running … every time he got close to the boat he took off again. He had that thing squealing,” Brown said of the reel.

After about 15 minutes, Brown got the mackerel to the boat.

“It took some time for me to get some feeling back in my right arm,” he said after the battle.

The 50-plus pound mackerel is the largest fish Brown has ever caught.

“No, not even close,” he said when asked if he’d ever caught anything that big before. The closest, Brown said, might be a 20-pound red drum.

Not only was it Brown’s largest fish, but it was the captain's largest mackerel ever.

Prior to Monday, Broestler played a part in catching a 51-pound king mackerel that placed second in the Destin Fishing Rodeo years ago.

As  a matter of fact, the biggest king mackerel weighed during the month-long Destin Fishing Rodeo last October was a 49.8-pounder caught on the Phoenix.

The huge king wasn’t the only fish pulled in by the Brown’s on the Fish-In-Daze. They reeled in a cobia, black snapper, mingo, white snapper, scamp and a lane snapper. Word is they lost a flounder right at the boat.

Plans for the big king —  the smoker.