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Key West fishing charter Papa record cuba dolphin"SLOPPY JOE'S FISHING TEAM HOOKS RECORD DOLPHIN"

reprinted with permission of The Key West Citizen
By Emily Roach
Citizen Staff Writer

KEY WEST - The Sloppy Joe's fishing team followed in Hemingway tradition last week: They went to Cuba and brought back the big one - a Cuban National record dolphin at 67.5 pounds. Actually, they gave the fish to the Cuban juror, who was in Capt. Phil "Curly" McGinn's boat, the Top Hook, to make sure they followed all the rules. But a replica of the dolphin, which is several pounds shy of a world record, will hand on the wall of Sloppy Joe's near the Cuban National record Blue Marlin, which hangs there.

It was the last hour of the last day of the International Ernest Hemingway Billfish Tournament last Thursday when Stewart Fenimore landed the fish. "We hit, and we thought he was a marlin because his head was so big when it broke the water," said Fenimore, who lives in Charleston.

Fenimore, B.J. Martin of Key West, and Sloppy Joe's majority owner, Sydney Snelgrove had been worried to that point that they would come back to Key West empty-handed. "So when we brought it on board, the watcher knew it was possibly a Cuban record," Fenimore said. "He was so excited he started jumping up and down. He lost his balance and fell on the deck."

The watcher told the men he would also be famous in Havana for being on the boat when the record dolphin was caught. It was an amazing moment for the men who all said they were Hemingway fans.

"We wanted to establish a precedent for the Sloppy Joe's fishing team," Martin said. He and McGinn visited Cuba recently, and the team was invited back by the Commodore of the Club Nautico Internacional Hemingway de La Habana. The club sponsored the team, which is required by the U.S. Treasury for groups such as this to visit Cuba.

The original "Old Man of the Sea" was at the awards dinner, Gregorio Fuentes, who fished with Hemingway. "The link between Key West and Cuba is an important one," Snelgrove said. "The Sloppy Joe's that was in Havana is still famous in many peoples' minds there," he said. Hemingway had homes in both, wrote novels in both and was an avid fisherman in the waters surrounding both.

The Cuban record blue marlin already hanging on the wall was caught by Pulitzer Prize winner Phil Caputo. The record was established in 1978 and still stands. The dolphin caught Thursday broke a record from 1979. In fact , it beat the record by 15 pounds.

On Monday, the trip and McGinn, who also took mate Chris Moore, were still excited about last week's trip. They said the Cuban people hade been gracious. "We could not have been any better received," Snelgrove said. "It was one of the best weeks of my life." "All of ours," Fenimore added.

reprinted with permission of The Weekly Fisherman
key west sail fish

Weekly Fisherman Issue #22 - Long time Key West charter boat skipper, Captain Curly McGinn of the charter boat PAPA out of Conch Harbor Marina and his mate Art Kohl, had three days back to back that all fishermen dream of. On Saturday, they were fishing the "Wall", trolling big artificial in approximately 800' when they caught and released two blue marlin! Both of the prized pelagics were in the 250 pound range, and their angler John O'Rourke of Boston, Massachusetts spent about an hour and half on each fish.

The following morning they headed out with angler Brock Music. Art put the baits out; this time 20 lb. spinning tackle was the equipment of choice. Ten minutes later one of the riggers popped, and the game was on. Not seeing the fish hit, no one was exactly sure what was tugging at the other end of the 20lb mono line. Regardless, the fish quickly dumped the spool on line, and the angler was down to the knot, ( for all those not familiar with the lingo, the fish had made a long run and all of the line on the spinning reel was now between the fish and the boat, approx. 275 yards.).

As the fishing Gods will do sometimes, Brock received a break, (oops....maybe break wasn't the correct word to use.). The Captain and mate acted skillfully and quickly and helped Brock quickly gain back some line before the pressure caused the line to break. Whoooo! Close, close indeed, but the fish would soon be making another feverous run and again the line was gone and Brock was back to the knot.

Again evasive action was quickly taken by the crew of the PAPA, and the fish's efforts were spoiled. Finally, an half an hour later, the fish was near the surface, and, to everyone's surprise...... it was a wahoo!! No way! Wahoo have sharp teeth, many of them, and catching a wahoo on monofilament line is nearly impossible!! Once again, when the fishing Gods are shining down on you.......anything's possible, including landing a 50 pound wahoo on 20 lb. mono!

So, now with two days down, one to go, what could Captain Curly and his mate Art do to round out the tri-fecta? How about following those two days up with a half day trip on Tuesday morning which yields a little triple header sailfish action. Yes, on a half day trip, Captain Curly and Art guided their anglers to catching a sailfish triple header. Afresh, for those not familiar with the lingo, a triple header sailfish catch is one best described by those who have experienced it as a Chinese fire drill!!

Three sailfish, all at one time hooked up, jumping out of the water, swimming from side to side, back to front, etc... It is a very cool thing to experience, and it takes great skill by the crew, and the anglers need to be on their game as well. Usually, the air is filled with... okay, "Tom, take your line under Mary's. Ned, take your line over Mary's and under Tom's". Only to be followed instantly by...... "Mary, take your line over Ned's" and "Tom, Stay there; no Tom, take your fish under Ned's" and "Mary, REEL! REEL! REEL!" He's running at the boat, no one knowing exactly who was to respond to the Captain's commands. It can be crazy! But.... when you know who is shining down on you..... no problem Maaaan, it's all good.

To wrap it up, just another three day charter fishing experience in paradise.

Great job, Captain McGinn & Art. Pretty Work!!

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