No one has to ask Chris Ferrara or his family about fire. Check out the huge Ferrara Fire Apparatus complex along Interstate 12 to explain his successful nationwide operation.
Being on fire is another story, and is what led to him and the crew on the 60-foot Viking “Reel Fire” making headlines in the fishing world.
Ferrara established an Alabama state blue marlin record Friday in the second annual Blue Marlin Grand Championship on the Alabama coast.
When the news of his battle with a giant 845.8-pound blue reached his friends across south Louisiana that day, word was he’d won the million-dollar bounty bonus most folks believe went to the angler bettering the Alabama state record.
“Didn’t get that. Unfortunately, this tournament was not qualified for the payout,” Ferrara said.
“That’s a bummer, but we did take home $304,000 for the two fish.”
Part of that haul was for a 165-pound, second-place yellowfin tuna his brother-in-law, Ivan Duke, caught.
“We only started this three or four months ago,” Ferrara said. “We’ve not fished these major tournaments.
“Going from a center console (boat) to this (60 Viking) has made this kind of fishing addictive.”
Ferrara thanked his crew captained by Mike Roberto.
“Really it’s a great sport,” he said. “It’s more about the family my son (Connor) and daughter (Kate).
“It’s a great family atmosphere, having fun and spending two nights together on the boat. My daughter Kate won yellowfin (tuna) in the Destin Tournament a couple of weeks. That was great.”
Ferrara said they’d latched onto a 15-pound blackfin tuna, and hooked it up in the spread trolled in the boat’s wake. The marlin ate it.
“I was near the chair and grabbed the rod,” Ferrara said.
More than six hours later, and after getting the giant to the leader nine times, the fish, 66 pounds better than the old record, was boated.
“It was exhausting,” he said.