Capt. Steve Shook wasn’t even wanting to fish. He honestly didn’t want to pick up the bent-over rod sitting securely in one of his rod holders.
Fortunately for him, the two long-time clients he was guiding insisted he reel the fish in.
A few minutes later, the veteran fishing guide was holding a 10-pound, 6-ounce speckled trout that will rank as the ninth heaviest speck ever caught in state, if Shook decides to enter it into the state record books.
The trip had already been a rare experience, the owner of Gulf Coast Fishing Charter said.
"I have fished for many years, and I never caught a big fish in the surf in the afternoon," he said.
His clients wouldn’t have known that, however.
As they worked the surf along Fourchon Beach, the pogies swimming on the terminal ends of both Arizona boys’ rigs were inhaled.
One of the fish was just a decent trout, but Joe West had a big fish on.
"He caught an 8-pound fish," Shook said. "His buddy was fighting another fish, and I had the net in hand."
That’s when he noticed a third rod, which he had seated in a holder after casting out a pogie, arch.
"While we were fighting the (smaller trout), the (third) rod bend over," Shook said.
The rod bent so sharply, the guide didn’t think a trout had picked up the offered bait.
"I thought it was a redfish," he said.
So the trio took their time, with Shook taking photos of West with his 8-pounder and putting both anglers’ fish to bed in the cooler.
"The fish was just hanging out on the end of the line," Shook said.
Only then did he even address the fish that was casually pulling at the third line.
"I told them that one of them needed to get that rod and reel in the fish," Shook said. "They said, ‘No, that’s your fish. You reel it in.’"
The guide was there for business, and he wanted his clients happy, so he initially resisted. After all, he wanted to ensure his paying customers walked away happy.
But the anglers wouldn’t touch the rod.
So Shook finally picked up the rod and reeled the fish in.
When it hit the net, he couldn’t believe it.
"I said, ‘Holy mackerel!" Shook said.
Shook said he was thrilled with the catch, but he said he was sure the massive trout could be bested.
"I firmly believe there’s a bigger fish out there," he said.