What is it about blue marlin fishing that captivates the hearts of so many people across the globe?! Fortunes squandered, marriages destroyed, and lives lost have all been a result of the pursuit of the illusive blue marlin.
I too am guilty of being truly addicted to the sport of blue marlin fishing albeit fortunate to have avoided the aforementioned shortcomings. One can’t pinpoint a specific thing that makes it such an addiction; it is a conundrum of things that cause us to pursue them, even when we don’t want to.
Hours upon hours are spent trolling on the cobalt blue water with nothing but boredom raging within us. Burning eyes from copious amounts sunscreen mixed with sweat dripping into them as we stare into the water looking for that black shadow. The faint scent of diesel in the air is a nauseating constant to some. The sun burning down upon the cockpit is hot, if you’re lucky there will be a slight breeze. Not too much breeze because that will cause for all of the above plus rough seas. The above picture is an ugly one but for many of us we cannot wait for daylight to come. We crave it like it is our lifeblood.
The bubbles from the Black Bart Brazilliano Teaser cut swiftly through the water on the second wave behind the boat. The redundant rumble of the Mann diesel engines moaned in unison with the waves. Without warning a faint dark shadow appears behind the teaser as excitement rushes through my body. “RIGHT Teaser!”, I loudly exclaim as all eyes onboard turn to the bubbling lure. The shadow becomes darker and gets closer to the surface where iridescent blue pectoral fins shine on either side of the jet-black body. First the dorsal breaks the surface with a “rooster-tail” streaming behind. Next the black pointy bill comes up behind the skirt on the teaser wagging from side to side with the kick of each tail movement. All ambient sounds that we normally hear are absent now, every sense we have within us is all transferred to our eyes as the fish tries to get the teaser. The piercing “snip” of the rubber band breaking used to hold the leader and the pitch bait in a place that is organized breaks the silence. The pitch bait is the bait with the hook in it that we use to actually hook the fish after it comes up to try and eat our teaser. All eyes switch to the pitch as it floats back toward the teaser. Just as the pitch bait gets even with the teaser, the brazilliano is jerked away and pulled to the boat. Frantically, the black shadow under the water circles at a remarkable speed looking for the fish it was after. On it’s second circle it sees the now flopping Bonita where the teaser once was. Blue stripes appear along the sides of the once dull black body, pectoral fins, and tail immediately looks like someone turned a light on inside them. With a speed that only God can create, the big fish charges the flopping bait and explodes upon it. A hole open on the surface of the ocean the size of a small car and the bait disappears. Of all of the time spent fishing in a day, this is the longest time. When that fish takes the bait and disappears into a white wash of bubbles and infinite blue, the clock starts ticking. It is now, that the angler is the only one that knows what going on, as the reel is on free spool. If there are six people on the boat you can count on twelve opinions on how long to feed the fish before engaging the drag. Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock, panic starts to take over everyone that isn’t holding the rod. Finally we watch as the angler’s hand moves to the drag lever and slowly engages it. For split second, the reel is cranked and nothing is coming tight. A millisecond of absolute horror fills every soul on the boat with thoughts that the fish has been missed. Then it happens, the line becomes tight and huge rod starts to bend. A brief sigh of relief comes over everyone as the lines starts to scream off of the reel. This relief is short lived however because we have it hooked and want to keep it that way. The game isn’t over until the mate touches that leader, to make it a legal release. With the agility of a falcon, the huge fish leaps into the air higher then one can imagine. Time after time she flies into the air with unbelievable acrobatics. When her body lands back into the ocean the splash is multiplied by a thundering sway of her tail. Then, she is done with her sea surface antics and she sounds. Line screams off of the reel straight down, down to depths that we can never swim. This is where the real fight begins. On the boat is an angler doing all within their power to bring the fish up. The angler has advantages of a great captain and crew plus state of the art tackle. The blue marlin has the advantage of current, natural ability, and the fact that between the two is nothing but a tiny line. Some fights last hours and others last only minutes, but they all make every muscle in your body burn. Slowly she rises defiantly until the snap swivel breaks the surface of the water. The mate grabs the leader and begins pulling her skillfully into range for the tag. For those of us looking into the water, we cannot help but have a surreal moment come over us as we stare at her beauty. The colors of her fins and massive body prove that all atheists are completely full of crap. The muscles that run the length of her side are profound and shocking as she glides through the perfectly clear water. Her mouth opens and closes as she runs the ocean’s water over her gills to replenish her oxygen supply. Finally she is within reach and the tag is placed in her shoulder. With the stick of the tag she welds the wireman to the covering board with s single flick of her tail. After he regains his composure the hook is removed from her bill and she swims away. Everyone has a different reaction but they all stand humbled at her beauty, and thankful for the opportunity to be a part of such a remarkable experience.