Article published Jun 14, 2007
Muncie man achieves grand slam of fishing
By SCOTT DUNCAN
Almost an entire day's worth of fishing had passed for Gary Tabor, and he wasn't about to end it.
The Muncie native was one catch away from the rare Inshore Grand Slam, a feat achieved when an angler reels in a tarpon, bonefish and permit in one day.
So even as the sun was disappearing into the May night, Tabor wanted to stay out on the Caribbean Sea for three more casts to try to complete the slam by catching a permit.
Ready to give up and call it a day, Tabor's third cast caught him by surprise. On the end of the line, he found the fish he was looking for.
After a 35-minute battle off the coast of Belize, Tabor reeled in the 25-pound permit to complete the grand slam, the only one recorded in the world this year, according to Tabor.
"I was so worn out, but staying out there was worth it," Tabor, 56, said. "It was an event of a lifetime."
Tabor's three catches were a 33-pound tarpon, a 2-pound bonefish and the 25-pound permit. The three all live in saltwater, but the catches come in completely different extremes.
Tarpon are found in channels, which Tabor said is like fishing in a river. The bonefish are in shallow water, where the angler stalks the fish, and the permit live in deep water.
Tabor, who is a master angler and has fished most of his life, said he was invited along with seven others to the Turneffe Island Lodge in Belize, a Central American country on the Caribbean Sea.
It was his first time fishing in saltwater. He prefers fishing for small-mouth bass in freshwater in Canada and Lake Erie.
Tabor, who is the director of marketing for Pack-A-Sac convenience stores, fishes three or four nights a week in his pond on his property in Muncie.
"After this trip, I think I may like fishing in saltwater," Tabor said.
Tabor fished with Fabian Johnson, a guide in Belize. Tabor began the final day of the five-day fishing trip by catching the tarpon first thing in the morning.
After lunch, he went to the ankle-deep water where he caught the bonefish at 1:30 p.m.
He then headed to the deep water to try and complete the grand slam, but he ran into trouble. He was unable to catch a permit before dinner, so he went in for a meal and decided to go back out after to try and make the final catch.
After two more hours, he finally got the elusive permit.
"I was disappointed and thought it may not happen," Tabor said. "But I really wanted it, so I had to go back out."
Tabor was honored at the Turneffe Island Lodge by resort manager Fritz Uwe and lifetime grand slam world record holder Cody Williams, who has eight grand slams.
Tabor's grand slam will be included in the 2007 publication of the International Game Fish Association. Tabor said 16 grand slams were listed in the 2006 version.