PORT O’CONNOR – A crowd filed into the Port O’Connor Fishing Center when boats came in for the final weigh-in of The Lone Star Shootout on Saturday.
The crowd was there to celebrate three blue marlins being caught by the fishermen.
“When you know the guys who are fishing and bringing in the marlins, it really hits you different,” said Port O’Connor resident Jason Pahmiyer. “It’s almost like a rush, you have to pinch yourself when you see it. It’s just a really cool thing.”
Catch and release is an emphasis of The Lone Star Shootout.
But there are exceptions for a special catch, and there were certainly a few of those.
True Story brought a 110-inch blue marlin to the scales that it caught Saturday morning.
“It was indescribable,” said Tyler Dick, captain of True Story. “We got that bite, saw the fish and felt it was a good one, and then when we actually got the fish to the boat, it was just an awesome feeling.”
True Story’s Catch weighed 460.5 pounds.
“It was a great weekend,” Dick said. “It’s always fun being a part of this tournament, and being able to grab this sized marlin just makes it even better.”
High Cotton and Rebecca also brought blue marlins to shore.
High Cotton reeled a 107-inch, 444.5 pound catch, while team Rebecca caught a 106-inch marlin.
Smooth Move hauled in four blue marlins and one white marlin.
“We could tell it was going to be a good tournament on Thursday, said Edgar Artecona, part of the Smooth Move’s crew. “We caught two of them on the first day, and knew it was going to be a good weekend.”
Despite their haul, Smooth Move released all of its blue marlin into the gulf.
“Well it’s a big thing with this tournament and we want to make sure there’s still enough marlins out there,” Artecona said. “This is a competition and a big part of that is making sure there’s a future in it.”
“We love to see the big fish out here, but the tournament is all about a release format,” added Lone Star Shootout director Randy Bright. “But the whole thing we are trying to accomplish is not wanting to waste anything.”
The tournament, raises funds for charities, and is put on by the Houston Big Game Fishing Club.
Extra fish are taken by the Port O’Connor Fisherman’s Chapel and used to feed the hungry.
“We partner with Reverend Erny McDonough and any of the fish that these guys don’t want get taken and used,” Bright said. “They load them up and clean them and get them ready to feed the hungry. That’s another part of how we’re trying not to waste anything.”
The tournament, like many others, had troubles this year with scheduling because of COVID-19 and Hurricane Hanna, but Bright was happy the Shootout was able to go on.
“I can’t even figure out how to state the amount of work the team put in this year,” Bright said. “With the COVID-19 restrictions and Hurricane Hanna, we had to throw everything off the table and start over twice. It was an amazing challenge that the team did an incredible job of pulling off.
“Even Thursday, we didn’t have a great forecast, but the participants wanted to go,” he added. “It ended up being a great weekend, and we’re really proud to be out here. I just think everybody hopes we don’t see another 2020 again.”