FISH, EAT, SLEEP, REPEAT

Lady Em anglers land scamp, tuna and more

Tina Harbuck
tharbuck@thedestinlog.com
Ohio and Connecticut anglers aboard the Lady Em with Capt. Mike Eller came in Wednesday afternoon from a three-day trip with yellofin tuna, scamp, mingo, blackfin tuna and a blue marlin. [TINA HARBUCK/THE LOG]

Fish, eat, sleep, repeat.

That was the three-day mantra of the seven fishermen aboard the Lady Em with Capt. Mike Eller.

During those three days, Dustin Smith, Sonny Morneault, Dave Preusse, Craig Nadeau, Mike Paeth, Jack Swint and Matt Peterman hauled in more than a dozen yellowfin tuna, a two-day limit of scamp, a few mingo and several blackfin tuna. Then there was the 275-plus pound blue marlin.

Capt. Eller said they left Destin Sunday night and started bottom fishing Monday morning about 90 miles out, then went another 90 miles past that and went tuna fishing, about 167 miles from Destin.

“We got’em. They bit really good and it was rough. That cold front was blowing and it was rough as hell,” Eller said, noting they were fishing in about 5-footers.

After they got their bottom fish they headed to the oil rigs.

And on the first rig, the tuna bite was on.

“When we showed up there, they were biting,” Eller said.

They tuna fished several hours that night and then again the next morning.

After their fill of tuna, they worked their way back to the Spur and swordfished Tuesday night, but didn’t get any bites.

As for when and where the blue marlin came into the picture?

It took the bait on day one of the trip while they were making their way offshore to the tunas.

“It hit, then it crested a little bit and then I just heard screaming reel,” Smith said. “I went up and belted up and it kicked the living (crap) out of me.

“I had to get help from Matt over there to get some rest at one point,” he added.

The blue marlin made three long runs.

“I was sweating, bitching and moaning. And the sun was beating down, it was amazing,” Smith said.

At one point, Smith said he looked down at the reel and thought it was going to empty.

“Capt. Mike was in full throttle reverse and we were just getting splashed,” Smith said. “I was sitting there trying to reel it in and the waves are just knocking you and you take it like a man … it was great.”

Capt. Eller had the 65-foot charter vessel backing down in a big way.

“We had this thing backing up like a big sport fishing boat does in a tournament, because he was going to take all our line,” Eller said.

On the marlin's third and final run it died.

“He passed and just shanked dead weight down,” Eller said, noting the mates had to literally hand line the fish in, inch by inch. “When we got him up he was dead. There was nothing we could do and he was obviously big enough to keep.”

For the Ohio angler this was by far the biggest fish he’s ever hooked up with.

“No where near anything like this before,” Smith said.

Prior to this trip, the largest fish he’d caught was a 50-pound king mackerel in Alaska.

“This is probably five times the size of that,” he said.