Katie’s pursuit of the Royal Slam never started out as one. In March 2009, when Katie was just 7 years old, we were fishing on our boat in Kona, Sea Genie II, with Capt. Gene VanderHoek, and Katie was along for the ride. This was spearfish time, and she decided she wanted to try her hand at catching one. Sure enough, she did it. Two years later, in April 2011, we were in deep pursuit of my wife Wendy’s slam, fishing with Capt. Anthony Mendillo on Keen M in Isla Mujeres. Kate was on board, and after Wendy caught her sailfish, I asked Katie if she wanted to catch one too. She decided she did, and it was there that she landed her Atlantic sailfish. Later that year, in July, we were back on our boat in Kona, trying to get Wendy her Pacific blue marlin. Again, we asked Katie if she wanted to be up next, and both girls got their blues on the same day.
It was somewhere around this time, as her mom was closing in on her slam, that Katie decided she wanted to get her slam too. So in September 2011, she went with us to North Carolina, and she got her white marlin, with Capt. Fin Gaddy aboard Qualifier, with the three of us catching 13 marlin that day.
In December 2012, we headed to Panama, looking for her black and sailfish aboard Hooker with Capt. Wade Richardson, and Katie landed her Pacific sail. The following summer, July 2013, we fished with Capt. Butch Cox on Canyon Gear in St. Thomas, and she caught her Atlantic blue marlin.
A month later, we found ourselves in Fort Lauderdale fishing with Capt. Mike Welter on Double Up. Katie caught her swordfish on that trip.
At the end of last year, we got an invitation from Paul Bender to head to Cabo and fish aboard his boat, Summertime, with Capt. Martin Vigil, and that’s where she picked up her stripe.
The two fish that really gave her trouble were the swordfish, which required two trips to Fort Lauderdale, and the black marlin. We fished multiple trips in Panama looking for her black, but to no avail. Elliot Stark had told us about a run of juvenile black marlin off Port Stephens, Australia, in March and April, and since the timing worked well with Katie’s spring break from school, we headed down to Australia and fished with Capt. Tim Dean aboard Calypso. Katie released her black on the first day, finishing her quest for the Royal Slam on April 10, 2014, at the age 12. She is the youngest female ever to achieve this, making me a very proud dad! — Mark Davis