The group of fishermen, based in Ocean Springs, and their spouses/girlfriends will be hard-pressed to beat the trip they had Aug. 4 in the 18th annual Carl Leggett Fishing Tournament in Biloxi.
Their first fish of the morning was a 124-pound, 4-ounce amberjack caught by Mike Jimerson, which the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources certified this week as a new state record.
Their second fish, caught by Don Dahm, was a 35-pound king mackerel that won that division.
"We were fishing one of the salt domes about 90 miles south of Biloxi in about 300 feet of water," said Jimerson, 48, a reserve officer with the Jackson County sheriff's office and a cable TV supervisor. "I reached into the rocket launcher and grabbed a rod and dropped a live hardtail down almost to the bottom. I got bit almost immediately."
Then he got slammed into the side of the boat.
"I knew it was big right away when it penned me against the gunwhale when it went south," said Jimerson. "You know how you lean against the side of the boat when battling a fish straight down? Well, this one slammed me into it and I was locked up."
Using stand-up gear - Jimerson called it a medium Penn rod, Shimano TLD 30 reel with 125-pound Power Pro braided line and 125-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon leader, he knew he was in for a battle.
"Yeah, I knew what it was as soon as it hit and went south; it had to be an AJ," Jimerson said. "We knew this was a good amberjack hole and we catch a lot of fish there all the time. But we usually catch 50 pounders, nothing big, but I knew this one was big. Amberjacks are good about making two or three really good power runs on you, and his first one was powerful.
"He was taking line. We had to go chase him and get some line back because we knew he was gonna make another run or two."
Jimerson credits Capt. Ronnie Dahm with a big assist.
"We were on Dahm's 35-foot Scarab with triple 250 Yamahas, and he was able to get us quickly into position to get some line back," Jimerson said. "Then we were able to finish the job.
"It still took about 30 minutes, and we knew what we had when we had the fish up to about 50 feet. The water was real clear out there and we could see at 50 feet and it looked like a big ol' piece of plywood. It was huge."
Back at the dock, the fish was weighed and passed on to a biologist from the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Lab, who later contacted Jimerson and told him the fish was a 23-year-old female.
Jimerson was also told that the fish was a possible state record, which was confirmed this week, beating the old mark by over 10 pounds.
"That is great," he said, "and I started looking around and found that the world record is something like 155 pounds caught in Bermuda. I can't even imagine what that was like. People who have never experienced the power of an amberjack can't believe how hard they pull.
"It's usually the fish I like to put people on when they ask me to take them fishing so they can see what it's like to battle a big fish. Normally, when I do and it's their first fish, they're satisfied with one. Yeah, one is enough and two is too many."
Jimerson's biggest AJ before this one was about 50 pounds.
"And I thought he fought pretty hard," he said.
As for Team Never Satisfied...
"Right after I hooked up, Don dropped a bait down and hooked up with a king mackerel, and he got it in pretty quick," Jimerson said. "It was something like 35 pounds, not a great big one, but it was good enough to win the tournament division for kings. We had two winners in two fish and one of them was a state record... not bad.
"It's just a group of us who fish together a lot and we take our wives and girlfriends and the boat is big enough for us all to fish or sunbathe. We just have a really good time."
Their day included many other battles with AJs and kings, and an assortment of other fish.
"And a pretty big celebration back at the dock," Jimerson said. "We had fun."