GULFPORT -- The big ones finally started coming in on Saturday at the 66th annual Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo. One fish set a rodeo record, but another of the biggest catches didn't count for a major category.
James Creech of D'Iberville established the new rodeo standard for pompano with his catch at two pounds, 12 ounces.
"That's real good," Creech said. "They fight good. It's a fightin' fish."
The All Pump Solutions team, from Ocean Springs, fishing aboard Reel Lax In II pulled in the biggest catch of the rodeo so far, a 224-pound-12 ounce Tiger Shark.
All four members aboard -- Pat Irwin, Frankie Adams, Bryan Purvis, and Gil Buchanan -- all had a hand in landing the shark. It took the weigh-in crew at the rodeo special effort to get the shark to the Barksdale Pavilion at Jones Park in Gulfport to be checked in. They had to load the shark from the boat launch into a front loader and from there, drive the shark to the scale.
Weighmaster Mark Wright had the shark tied up to the shovel on the other end of the front loader so the shark could be raised and weighed by his portable scale. Use of the auxiliary scale according to Wright is "rare."
"I thought it was hung up on the wreck at first," Irwin said. He was the first one to reel in the shark, but all three other crew members later helped pull it in.
The crew was between eight and 15 miles south of Horn Island, when it caught the shark on cigar minnows. They battled the beast for about 90 minutes in the late morning hours.
"I know it was right before lunch because we were starving," Adams said.
All members knew they had the new leader on the board when told the top shark up to that point was 98 pounds.
"We pulled him in. I hope he does (beat 98 pounds)," Purvis said. "Or I'm getting old and weak."
The shark is larger than the state record of 182 pounds. But because there was more than one angler who pulled the shark in, it won't be recognized as a state record.
One of the last fish to weigh in on Saturday was a 164-pound, 7-ounce spinner shark. Jordan Mathews of Biloxi was the angler of record on that catch.
The Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo concludes tonight at 10:30. The weigh-in scale is open from noon to 4 p.m.