By LARRY BLUE
© St. Petersburg Times, published November 26, 2000
This is the tale of a fish that didn't get away, but the angler almost failed to notice. Keith Wegener wasn't sure the king mackerel he caught was worth weighing at Billy's Stonecrab and Steakhouse's tournament Saturday. The fish was quite small.
But poor weather conditions kept many anglers onshore, and just maybe, he thought, the fish might make the leaderboard.
Wegener took the tiny kingfish to the weigh-in, but he tried to hide it behind his pants leg as he approached the scales.
Much to his surprise, his fish had no competition, literally. No other fish were weighed, and his 4.5-pound fish -- that's right, 4-point-5 pounds, not 45 -- won the $800 first prize. Worth $177.78 per pound, it might be the nicest mackerel ever hauled out of the gulf. It normally takes at least a 30-pound kingfish to win a tournament. Wegener, fishing with Capt. Dean Morton and John Wells, said sea conditions were extremely sloppy. They decided to troll spoons rather than live bait because of the rough conditions.
Wegener said it wasn't much of a battle. After biting, the fish "kind of just skipped along on the the surface of the water. God knows how long it was back there."
The crew kept fishing on the way back to the dock, not believing the fish would be worth any prizes. To make matters worse, one of the boat's two motors conked out, and they crept home on one motor. The money should help with the repair bill.
The moral: No matter how small your fish is, it could be a winner somewhere.
- To get in touch with Larry Blue, call (727) 397-3773 or send him an e-mail, CaptLBlue@aol.com.
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