An 18-year-old reeled in a 699-pound blue marlin late Friday to help his team of aspiring college students win a weekend tournament in Sandestin, Fla.
It was the largest fish caught during the annual Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic, worth a whopping $131,000.
But had the anglers been able to afford to enter the daily side jackpots, their haul would have been much larger. (The second-place team, which did enter side jackpots, claimed $308,124.)
Not that anyone is complaining.
“It felt incredible,” Will Beard, who reeled in the giant marlin, told NWFdailynews.com. “It’s the most natural high. It’s crazy. I can’t believe it.”
Beard was with Capt. Bo Keough, Todd Terreson and three others aboard the vessel, Can’t Deny It. According to WJHG, each team member was 18, and most will attend college this fall.
“Half of us couldn’t even drive when we started fishing tournaments,” Beard said.
Though Beard fought the marlin for two grueling hours, he was quick to credit the captain and crew.
“I do 20 percent of the work, the boat is doing probably 40,” Beard told WJHG. “Todd was on the leader [when the fish was alongside the boat], that’s a 128-pound kid. We’re attaching him to a 700-pound blue marlin. It’s a lot to ask and he did a hell of a job.”
–Image showing the Can’t Deny It team posing with its blue marlin is courtesy of the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic