On Friday (October 7), Derrick Dover, his brother, Andrew, and his dad, Tony, loaded up their beloved boat, the Muscle Memories, and set off for the 7th and final day of the 74th annual Destin Fishing Rodeo.
It had been a thrilling week, with their fellow anglers reeling in a 305-pound bull shark, a 108-pound amberjack, and a 160-pound yellowfin tuna, just to name a few of the mind-boggling catches. But Derrick, Andrew, and Tony knew that their prize-winning fish was still out there, they just had to find it.
They started off grouper fishing – the anglers aboard the Warhorse had reeled in a 50.4-pounder and a 45.8-pounder, could the Muscle Memories do better?
To their dismay, the morning passed without much luck. By the time lunchtime rolled around, they were ready for a break from their attempts to catch the elusive grouper. Instead, they threw in some wahoo lures, just for fun.
After a mere 30 minutes, their luck appeared to be changing. A 30-pound wahoo had taken an interest in the bait. Hoping for an even bigger catch, the men threw in another lure. And again, it only took 30 minutes for something to bite – this time, however, it was something far larger than the 30-pounder from before.
“We were in the same area … It took off and just kept going,” Dover recalled to The Destin Log. “I thought, ‘Oh, this is a big one.'”
Florida Angler Had No Idea He Had a Record-Breaking Wahoo
For one terrible moment, Dover was racked with disappointment. The line went slack – had the fish broken free? He soon realized, however, that the fish had simply begun swimming toward the boat. “I thought it got off because it started coming toward us,” Dover said. “So I’m cranking and cranking.”
Derrick Dover had no idea what he had hooked. All he knew is that, whatever it was, it was massive. And he was going to do whatever it took to bring it into the Muscle Memories. “He was down deep under the motor,” Dover explained.
Finally, Dover and his family caught a glimpse of the monster fish under the motors and knew he had a potentially record-breaking wahoo on his line. “He was huge,” Dover recalled. “Okay, nerves start to set in.”
With the help of his dad, Tony, Derrick Dover eventually pulled the enormous wahoo on board. “After dad stuck the gaff in him, he was done,” Dover said.
The men brought the wahoo to Rodeo officials, who weighed the gargantuan fish. The glaring number on the scale showed that the Dovers didn’t just break the previous record, they shattered it. The record-breaking wahoo was 101 pounds, a full 3 pounds heavier than the wahoo caught by Omar Breiz in 2010.