Fifth Amendment hauls in big 'Jack — a month early

Tina Harbuck
Art and Renee Hammer show off the 93.6-pound amberjack they caught Monday on the Fifth Amendment with Capt. Ben O'Connor.

If it was October, the 93.6-pound amberjack hauled in Monday on the Fifth Amendment could have been a big winner in the month-long Destin Fishing Rodeo.

However it’s still September, but any way you filet it, it’s still a big fish.

“We had no idea what it was,” said Capt. Ben O’Connor of the Fifth Amendment.

“We knew we had something big, just didn’t know what it was until it came to the surface,” he said.

Art and Renee Hammer of St. Louis, Mo. were the anglers on the rod.

Captain said they were fishing about 25 miles out and it was one of the last fish of the day.

They caught it on a 4/0 loaded with 80-pound test with a little herring for bait.

“It would come up and then run back down,” O’Connor said. “It fought more like a shark than an amberjack.”

With Art and Renee both taking their turns on the rod, “We were ready for it if it wasn’t a shark,” O’Connor said, noting they had a gaff ready.

“If it had been a shark, we’d cut it loose,” he said.

After tugging with the amberjack for about 15 minutes or more they got the fish in the boat.

“It was a once in a lifetime fish. I doubt I’ll catch one that big again. We definitely could have used that one next month,” O’Connor said making mention of the rodeo that kicks off Oct. 1.

In addition to the big amberjack, the group on board the Fifth Amendment had six more amberjack and about a dozen 5-pound mingo.