John Stebbins won the 2009 Montauk Classsic with the Northbar Bottledarter!
John recaps his great night….”Decided to head back east and fish an area that has produced well for me in the past. Again, started with sluggos and SS darters for not a touch. Switched up to a gold Northbar Bottledarter… First cast, fish on! At first, it felt like the rest of schoolies I had been picking, but once she realized she was hooked, so began the longgggg peel of the drag and thump of the tail straight out and deep. Not sure how many yards she took out, but there was no stopping her for what seemed to be about minute (but I’m sure it was less as the adrenaline was now kicking and my heart was pounding). After the initial run was over, I was able to gain some line while constantly reminding myself to stay patient. After I was able to get the fish within 20-30 yards, she made the expected second drag-screaming run, but this time on an angle toward my right, and toward some large boulders. At this point, I knew something could go very wrong in an instant – whether my braid rubbing up against a rock or popping the hook. Luckily she moved a little more in front of me and after I was able to gain the rest of my line fairly quickly. Got her to my rock and with some very careful maneuvering was able to get a solid grip under her gill plate. I knew right away that I had broken forty, but could it be approaching 50?? I’m sure the adrenaline and lack of sleep was playing with my head. After getting my ass kicked stumbling in through the boulder field, I knew I had a tournament fish and so came the decision to continue to fish or begin the death march back to the truck. I chose the latter as I knew that it would only continue to lose more weight. After a seemingly endless walk, I raced back to town and she officially weighed in at 42.2!”
Congrats John. That’s a heck of a fish.