June 4, 2014; Biloxi, Mississippi:
By Capt. Dave Lear
Greek mythology and big-game fishing are not often synonymous. But an unusual incident at the start of this year’s Classic certainly lends credence to a modern connection.
According to the legend the phoenix, a long-lived and colorful bird, dies by raging fire only to be resurrected from the ashes. The same can now be said for Reel Worthless, a 64 Viking convertible owned by Johnny Johnson of Brandon, Mississippi. The boat caught fire Monday in its slip at the Point Cadet Marina after arriving from Louisiana.
“We had just come in from Venice after fishing the Canyon Classic tournament and were cleaning up and getting organized,” says Capt. Myles Colley of Pensacola, the boat’s skipper for the past five years. “The fire started and quickly turned into a big one and we couldn’t put it out. The fire department arrived and got after it with water and foam.” The exact cause is still being determined but the boat is un-fishable in its current condition.
“The engine room is really bad and everything inside has major smoke damage,” Colley adds. “But no one was hurt, fortunately. Mr. Johnson is taking it well, better than I am. He was glad that everyone was OK and said it’s just a boat, we’ll move forward. We were all pretty down about missing this tournament since we’re off to a really good season. And then yesterday everything came together when we lined up another boat to fish. So our outlook is definitely improving.”
Reel Worthless won first place in last week’s Canyon Classic by releasing four blue marlin. The boat took third place in an earlier event by weighing a 463-pound blue and also won some tuna categories. So the prospect of not being able to fish the MGCBC was disheartening to the veteran team.
“We lined up the Reel Fuelish, a 60 Sculley out of Pensacola,” Colley says. “It’ll be here this afternoon and we’re going to take our crew and team and fish it instead. I was able to salvage some tackle off our boat and we’ll jump aboard, do what we do and see how it goes.”
Colley hasn’t settled on a final game plan yet but anticipates fishing the Thunderhorse drilling area in the central Gulf. That’s about 130 miles plus from Biloxi.
A lot can happen between now and when the weigh scales close at 8 p.m. Saturday night. But it won’t surprise anyone here if Reel Fuelish/Worthless backs up to the dock with a really big fish on board. From the ashes…