SWS editor in chief John Brownlee fished the Redbone Sunrise/Sunset tarpon tournament in Islamorada, which took place April 25-27. His teammate was former space shuttle astronaut Bruce Melnick, who walked away with the celebrity grand champion award after releasing three tarpon.
Melnick became an astronaut in August 1988, qualified for flight assignment as a mission specialist. During the five years he served in NASA’s astronaut corps, Melnick flew as a mission specialist on the Shuttle Discovery STS-41 (October 6-10, 1990) when the Ulysses spacecraft was deployed. He served as a flight engineer on STS-49 (May 7-16, 1992), which was the first flight of the Shuttle Endeavour.
He has logged more than 300 hours in space. Melnick also recorded some hours on the water with Brownlee this past weekend, there were no old hat chats aboard this boat.
“Fishing with Bruce was awesome,” Brownlee said. “He’s a serious hunter and fisherman, but when fishing with an astronaut, the conversation is quite different than during a typical fishing trip. His stories of space flight were fascinating, not the kind of thing you get to hear every day.”
Capt. Scott Keller of Bad Habit charters led their team to a total of five releases.
“The tarpon are thick right now around Keys bridges,” Brownlee said. “The fishing was great, and it’s all for a good cause: to raise money to fight cystic fibrosis.”