Will Chapman fighting his first tarpon was exciting in itself, but when the 16-year-old worked the fish to the surface, the excitement level increased as the fishermen got their first look at the rare and bizarre fish.
The estimated 100-pound tarpon was not your everyday tarpon. Instead of a greenish or bluish top with silver sides, this one was golden on top with white sides.
Chapman and his father, Mark Chapman, were fishing with Capt. Patrick Dineen of Flyliner Charters out of Shalimar in the Florida panhandle when Dineen got a bite and handed his rod to Will.
"We did not realize the fish was different until halfway through the 20-minute fight," Mark told the Bradenton Herald.
"Will said the fish looked like a giant koi. It was absolutely beautiful once he got him near the boat; the tips of his pectoral fins were lit up bright blue similar to a pelagic."
Video captured the moment the fishermen recognized the fish was special:
"That is the most awesome tarpon I've seen in my life," someone, presumably Dineen, can be heard saying.
"This is an albino," a man presumed to be Mark said. "This is a one-in-a-million fish."
Will brought the fish to the side of boat where he was photographed with his fish of a lifetime.
Some called it piebald like the spotted tarpon landed two years ago with Capt. Clark Wright. Others described it as xanthic, maybe even albino.
Either way it's a fish that will live in the history of rare angler catches.
Dineen has landed countless tarpon over the years, but this is one he will never forget.
"Wherever the pigmentation was, it was golden,” he said. “All the silver parts were almost white. It was a captivating type of fish. My God, was it beautiful."
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