Monday, May 18, 2009

Marlin Fishing - 5/17

7:50am: Leave the port with seven people on the boat.

8:30am: Set the lines.

8:40am: First hit, jumping a lot and appears to be a big mahi mahi or wahoo, but turns out to be a very small striped marlin. In the boat by 8:55am.

[smallest marlin I've seen at just 20kg - in fact there was some debate about whether it was a sailfish]

10:20am: Second hit. Marlin trips an outrigger line (to break the line free from the outrigger quick-release but not to get hooked). For 3-4 minutes we play with him, reeling in the trailing line quickly, then letting it back out to imitate wounded prey. We can watch the marlin come up and trail the lures and hit them with his bill, but not strike. Eventually, after much verbal encouragement from me, he does strike and get hooked. He takes out about 300m of line before getting off.

10:45am: Third marlin hits. This is a big one that hits the right outrigger hard and takes line faster than I have ever seen before. In fact we didn't even have the rest of the loose lines in the boat before the reel started getting dangerously low on line. The captain immediately reversed course and starting backing down on the marlin to gain some line back, but with this slack (and a new fisherman on the rod), the marlin got off. The captain estimated this marlin at over 200kg and I am inclined to concur. Big and strong.

11:25am: Fourth marlin hits. He tripped two outriggers and was on for 20 seconds before getting off.

[Uma bringing in her first fish - she's a good sport with all the boys]

11:45am: Fifth fish. We thought it was another small marlin so we put the girl in charge of bringing it in. It turned out to be a big mahi-mahi, which I gaffed when it got next to the boat.

4:30pm: Long, long break after that morning flurry, but a marlin hit the right outrigger hard and started jumping. Just as we got the lines in he got off. But as he got off I noticed we'd left one line still in the water. So we had one line 300m out that a guy was reeling back and another line set at 20m still in trolling position. While there was still a lot of hoopla surrounding the lost marlin another marlin (the sixth of the day) hit that short line and took off with great speed. He went for about a minute before snapping the line. I have never seen a marlin snap a line before. The lines are big and strong and meant to take whatever strength the drag on the reel doesn't control. When we looked at the snapped leader (400lb. test, I think), we saw that the crimped loop at the end had been squeezed tight. The captain, aware that it's pretty hard to make an accurate guess at a BIG marlin, speculated that this might have been the elusive "Grander", which is a marlin in excess of 1000 pounds.

[the crimped loop on the right is what the line should look like, the squeezed line on the left is what remained after the huge marlin broke us off]

5:15pm: (Long past our usual return time, but how can we leave when we've had 6 marlin on?) The seventh marlin hits and gets off quickly.

6:00pm: Head home. I let the captain know that I am up for full days of fishing both next Saturday and Sunday.

7:00pm: Clean fish and quickly prepare for the new mayor's celebration party (polls close at 8pm and results should be out by 9pm).

[this fish came out of the stomach of the marlin and nobody could identify it - note the slash on fish's belly where the marlin hit it with its bill before eating it]

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