Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

THE BEST IN THE WORLD Record for Sail Jacksonville Fishermen and Their Friends Set a Single-Day, Catch-and-Release World Record by Catching 75 Pacific Sailfish during a Trip to Guatemala

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

THE BEST IN THE WORLD Record for Sail Jacksonville Fishermen and Their Friends Set a Single-Day, Catch-and-Release World Record by Catching 75 Pacific Sailfish during a Trip to Guatemala

Article excerpt

On April 3, aboard the Capt. Hook boat out of Iztapa, Guatemala, lines went in the water about 8 a.m., and the first Pacific sailfish was caught 8 minutes later. By 1:30 p.m., 26 sails had been tagged and released.

It doesn't get much better than that, but on this day, it would get mind-boggling better for the crew and the Jacksonville anglers on board. They were just warming up.

In the next two hours and 15 minutes, the Capt. Hook would tag and release an astounding 49 Pacific sails, ranging between 70-110 pounds each. That made for a total of 75 fish, breaking the single-day catch-and-release world record for Pacific sailfish.

"It was the damndest thing I've ever seen," said Jacksonville's Denny Doyle, who arranged the trip aboard Capt. Ron Hamlin's charterboat.

"It was a phenomenal experience," echoed angler Mark Miles of Jacksonville.

Doyle and Miles were joined on the trip by Preston Haskell IV, a former Jacksonville resident now living in Russia, and Bob White of Fort Lauderdale. Neither Miles nor Haskell had ever caught a sailfish before the trip. Jose Valdez and Eddie Bairnes were the mates for the record-setting day.

Around mid-day, with 26 catches already recorded, Haskell brought up the possibility of going for the record of 71 sails, established by Hamlin in 1998 aboard the very same boat.,,

"We looked up, and there was the mother lode of sailfish and marauding herds of dolphin," Doyle said. "We started into a frantic catch-and-release period. We had nine triples [three fish on at a time] and a quadruple.

"We could have sunk the boat with dolphin."

So thick were the 20- to 35-pound dolphin, a prized species any other time, that the anglers had to pull baits away from them to target the sails.

"We were mentally giving each other points for avoiding dolphin," Miles said.

Trolling about 22 miles offshore, Hamlin and crew were pulling ballyhoo on circle hook rigs, using 30-pound class stand-up tackle. During the two-hour and 15-minute feeding frenzy, the four anglers averaged bringing a sail to the boat every two minutes and 45 seconds. …

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