OCEAN SPRINGS -- A fish camp owner's quest to find Wally, a blue marlin replica, has hit a snag.
Kevin Ramage had bolted the marlin, nearly 10 feet long, to an outside wall at Gil's Fish Camp on Old Fort Bayou on Friday of last week.
Come Sunday morning, Ramage realized Wally had been poached -- yanked off the wall. All that was left of Wally was his bill, which apparently broke off when the replica was taken.
Ramage had hoped for a happy ending to his fish tale after word of Wally's plight was passed along through social media and word of mouth. He even offered a reward.
The replica turned up in the backyard of a Gulfport home. Then came the catch -- a man who lives there told police the fiberglass fish is his.
Wally is in police custody until it's sorted out.
"I'd only had it 1½ days," Ramage said.
Ramage said he bought the replica from retired federal Judge Walter Nixon, who had caught a marlin that size with another man years ago. The marlin weighed 600 pounds and measured 117 inches.
"The fiberglass replica is worth over $2,500," Ramage said.
Gulfport police Sgt. Damon McDaniel said people who had heard of Wally's disappearance were working in the backyard of a home on Dedeaux Road and looked over the fence and saw it.
Ramage said he went to the house while police were there and saw a marlin without a bill.
"I held my bill up to the replica and it matched perfectly," he said.
Wally is in the Gulfport Police Department's property room, a secure area used to store evidence.
No crimes had been reported because neither man had filed a police report.
"I thought I'd never see it again," Ramage said.
He said he plans to file a report on the theft with the Ocean Springs Police Department so Gulfport police can deal with a stolen-property charge.
Ramage said he's confident Wally will land back in his hands.