Have you ever been curious what it is like "below the deck" on one of those incredible fishing boats that enter the annual Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic fishing tournament? We were able to catch up with Brad Benton, Captain of the Aldente (docked at the Sandestin Baytowne Marina) for a quick Q & A:
1. When you’re out in the East Pass on Thursday and the horn blows to start the ECBC, how do you spend that first day of fishing?
The strategy has totally changed due to the recent change in start time. The 12pm leave allows for fishing on the first day. So, we may not be able to reach our primary destination, but this allows ample time to cross over some good marlin grounds. This year we spent a little time making bait and fished for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. We were able to release a blue on Thurs, which will usually give you a great jump on the field.
2. Can you share what it feels like when you hook up on a big blue marlin, spend hours reeling and then get it in the boat?
It is kind of a mix of emotions. At first bite, you have an adrenaline rush and killer excitement. After you get everything settled down and the angler in the chair, a little bit of nerves set in. Just trying to keep the line tight and the hook in the fish. To me thats the toughest part; the wait. Then, when the fish gets close to the boat adrenaline pumps back in. This is where the crews skill factors in the most. And finally, if your lucky enough to release or put the fish on the deck, its nothing but high fives and smiles all around!!!!!!
3. 3 days out at sea…what is the typical menu to keep your energy levels up for catching the big fish?
HA, this is a funny question for this boat. We have such killer food and do about five or six different courses throughout the day. We are foodies to say the least. BUT; recently we have changed our early day meals to fish salads or grilled chicken picnics. Hard to stay on a 20 hour grind with a big heavy stomach.
4. Fish Tale-what is the most incredible experience from all of your years of fishing?
That one is pretty fresh in my mind. ECBC 2018 we were lucky enough to catch two Blue Marlin big enough to kill. Unfortunately, the bigger one we caught second, so we had to watch it swim away. We also caught a 168lb tuna that stayed on the board for second place!!! Killer trip and made some money to boot!!!!