Lucky marlin angling....may-be
Many years ago I had the opportunity to spend a winter in Cabo San Lucas.
A client and friend had me take his 21 foot Mako with twin 55 hp Evinrude motors down the Baja Peninsula behind a red Econoline van, destination Cabo San Lucas. . At the time I thought this to be a sizeable craft as my guiding experience was in a 15 foot Boston Whaler in Campbell River. Fast forward and having run charters out of Kyuquot in a 26 foot Pursuit with a 300 hp Yamaha I now realize what a small craft that Mako was for the open Pacific. But having had some previous experience fishing out of my 15 foot Whaler in Cabo catching stripers to 150 pounds, the Mako seemed OK.
We fished for several days and got engaged in the prolific stripper fishing up to the 100-125 pound range. Lots of fun.
One day , Bill decided it was time to look for something a little larger. Bill from California had previous experience on charter boats and big game fishing, from California and Hawaii to Australia. Out of the tackle box came a huge Kona jig.... the plastic head 12 inches long with an 18 inch skirt. I thought nothing would bite this thing. Off we trolled at 1/2 plane with this giant lure skipping behind our "sportfisher".
1 pm and trolling this monster jig I felt we had no hope and we trolled for the harbour.
Right in front of the Sol Mar hotel just feet from Los Arcos and nodding off to sleep we heard this buzzing of a non-clickered reel.
Bent rod and peeling line and I glanced back to see what can only be described as a monster marlin, tail walking 60-70 feet behind the boat. The head was 2 feet deep and eyeball as big as a tennis ball or bigger.
Hummmm this is new. Tried to get it out of the rod socket....not so easy. Bill did a quick assessment and figured this was his chance at the 20 to 1 club. Never hear of that and he was more enthusiastic than a coveted IGFA potential record. We were using 50 pound mono and Bill was convinced it was well in excess of 1000 pounds. Bill's experience in big marlin territory convinced me that the assessment of size was reasonably accurate.
After 15 minutes we thought we had some kind of control of this monster. I extracted the never used flying gaff and 40 foot poly line attached. Never before would I have the occasion to look at this massive hook and determined it a method of succumbing a fish as being grossly inadequate. This fish was huge. 15 feet below the boat I felt that it was damm near as long as the boat
Pauline , Bill's wife, was in my ear from the start of the fight to cut the fish off as this was an awesome and somewhat frightening ordeal. After our first view of the fish under the boat the fish gained in strength and we basically followed or got towed around. As the hours rolled on Pauline's request to cut the line intensified. Bill's knowledge of the size of the fish and potential for 20 to 1 club kept him hanging on. Bill would not relinquish the rod. Without a rod socket or rod harness let alone a fighting chair Bill was left with strength of arm and what ever he could jam under the rod butt to diminish the pressure of the rod against his body. He shredded ever bit of upholstery in the boat. And a Mexican sandal , soles made with car tires, became the cushion placed on Bill's abdomen to protect him from the punishing pressure from the rod butt.
After 13 hours of battling we were dragged 10-15 miles off the coast and could barely see the lights of the Cabo hotels.
We encountered a freighter than nearly cut the fish off. Later on a school of porpoises surrounded the boat and our "catch" was illuminated by the phosphorescence in the water, Spectacular!
Later I was mystified by a fantastic crash of imploding water that I instantly related to jumping and landing of Skana the killer whale at the Vancouver Aquarium. It was the fish !!!! Holy!
Mercifully the reel's drag washers started to give way in the middle of the night. The slip and grab intensified and the reel gabbed a bit much and the line broke.
Most memorable was Bill's reaction. Most anglers would want to land a fish of this size and Bill demonstrated this by his not willing to share the rod. When the line broke no remorse , not even the slightest cuss. "Oh well let's go home" was all Bill said.
We were 12 miles off Cabo in the pitch black, no radio communication , questionable fuel supply, and a hungry and tired crew. One for the memory bank.
Bill couldn't lift his arms above his waist for 3 weeks!
Steering from the stern
I have spent years modifying my vessels to make fishing machines.. Principal concern is to control the vessel from the stern. This is a test post only. More to follow.