Even hard-hearted people enjoy a heart-warming story now and then. In the world of Alabama outdoors, the pursuit of the state record king mackerel has provided a couple of goodies in recent months.
King mackerel make their runs off the Alabama Gulf Coast in spring and that ritual brings out hard-core fishermen. Old salts with decades on the water live for the moment. Talk of 40-pound-plus kings dominates their lives.
The 2012 king mackerel run began a couple of months ago with Mobile's Michael J. Kirchler at the top of the record book. The 67-pound, 15-ounce king he caught in 2002 had withstood a decade of challengers. His record appeared untouchable.
Andrew Quinn's presence didn't strike fear in anyone. The small 8-year-old from Michigan was on the Alabama coast only to vacation with family and to play in the sand. The fishing trip with the male grown-ups was just gravy. It was his first deep sea fishing adventure ever.
The 68-pound, 3-ounce king mackerel the youngster landed on March 28 aboard the charter boat "Fish Trap" was the largest king mackerel ever caught in the state. The serious king mackerel fishermen could only shake their heads.
Now they are shaking their heads once again. An equally good king mackerel story has come along.
The Borden family from Trussville went to the Alabama Gulf Coast last weekend to mark an item off Dennis Borden's bucket list. He and his sons had always talked about going deep sea fishing but none of them ever had. This seemed like the right time. Matthew Borden leaves for a Navy assignment today. It is one of those missions he is not allowed to talk about.
The father, his sons Matthew and Phillip and son-in-law Dustin Sierk boarded the "Fish On!" and the captain asked what they wanted to catch. Phillip wanted to catch a shark. The father said he wanted enough fish for a fish fry he was planning. Matthew was specific. He wanted to catch a record fish.
All three got their wish. Phillip caught a 250-pound shark. His father caught enough white snapper for his fish fry.
Matthew, a 2009 Hewitt-Trussville graduate, will leave to serve our country today as the new state record holder in the king mackerel category. The 69-pound, 10-ounce king he caught last Sunday was 1 pound, 7 ounces larger than the mackerel caught by the 8-year-old boy a little more than a month ago.
Like most military men leaving for duty, Matthew Borden will get a rousing sendoff today but it probably won't be as exciting as the greeting he got last Sunday.
"Once we got in cell phone range last Sunday, the captain called the dock to tell them he thought he might have a state record king mackerel aboard and he needed some certified scales," Dennis Borden said. "From that one phone call, the word spread. When we got to the dock there were over 150 people waiting to see that fish."