Before Netflix, Play Station, and Instagram, kids found creative ways to amuse themselves such as backyard football, bb guns, and hopping the local bass ponds. A few of my fondest memories came from fishing with childhood buddies, in local ponds, that had PRIVATE PROPERTY signs in every direction, but we’ll save those stories for another day. I was fortunate enough to live with a father that taught me every type of fishing the south eastern part of the country had to offer. We did everything from targeting bass, crappie, and catfish in Millers Ferry, Al to chasing smoker kings in the west delta. One of my finest achievements happened 23 years ago in a place where I now spend a majority of my adult life, Pensacola pass.

It was a warm summer morning in 1992. My father Mike and his lifelong friend Chris were eager to break in their new 17ft Capt Horn fishing boat. I was 7 years old at the time, so hearing this would be an “adult only” fishing trip was a hard pill to swallow. Unable to control my childish emotions, I let them know exactly how I felt about the situation. Much to my happiness they finally gave in and let me tag along. This would be my first fishing trip to the Gulf of Mexico. Needless to say I was overrun with excitement.

The plan was to target King Mackerel on nearshore wrecks. We made a quick stop at Pensacola pass before heading out. The deep structure in the pass is famous for holding bull redfish, but on this particular day it produced something remarkable in the eyes of a 7 year old kid. My father gave me an ugly, yellow, fishing pole with a dead Cigar Minnow for bait and told me to drop it to the bottom. The two adults on the boat were in the process of rigging tackle when suddenly I hooked something that pulled similar to a Red Snapper. When the fish appeared boat side we realized it wasn’t a snapper at all, but a pinfish that weighed nearly 2lbs! I know what you’re thinking, a Pinfish? My father explained to me it was the largest Pinfish he had ever seen, so we put it in the ice chest, but didn’t think much about it. At one point we actually used it as bait for a Hammerhead shark we saw cruising the beach. Luckily it wasn’t interested! The next day we learned from a well informed indivdual that my Pinfish was a possible world record. After going through a long process with the IGFA we were given the news that my fish was the IGFA ALL TACKLE world record for its species. I was one proud kid! We were told that my record was broken two years later, but that didn’t matter. I still made the record books as 7 year old kid, even if it was short lived.

I’m now a fishing guide and I spend around 150 days a year sitting in the same spot where I landed my world record 23 years ago. My clients often ask me what my greatest catch is. You should see the look on their faces when I tell them a Pinfish!

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