Monday, April 20, 2009

Mastering the Marlin

Well, my Taiwanese friends are gone, having experienced a memorable night of barbecue, ATV riding, and a relaxing time around the firepit pouring down a few Leinies. Sometimes the simpler things in life are the most enjoyable as they had never experienced this. On Saturday morning they decided to visit my home state of Wisconsin. Apparently my tales of grandeur had them curious. Needing to get them to the airport by 2:00 our time was limited so we headed to St.Croix Falls. A quick stop at the Kentucky Fried Chicken (very popular in Asia) we headed back through Stillwater then to the airport. Anyone who has traveled to China and Taiwan's urban areas realize how lucky we are living here.

This week marks the anniversary of my fishing trip to the Hotel Palmas de Cortez, Mexico. A previous post recalled my Mahi Mahi (dorado) catches with my good friend Walt. The real prize is catching a marlin. The end of April is not exactly the best time to catch marlin however they are present and one can reasonably expect to see some action. Marlin, like dorado spend much of their time at the surface. The preferred method of catching them is to drag colorful gurgling teaser baits directly behind the boat at around 4 to 6 mph. Locating a marlin can be a visual affair. Marlin sunning themselves at the surface often have their large tails sticking out of the water. A good eye can see these which sets up the guides to make a live bait presentation before it swims away. On the first day while trolling we spotted a nice marlin tail sticking about 18 inches out of the water. Quickly we reeled in the trolling lines while the first mate hook a nice 15 inch mackerel to a line and casted it out. The strategy was to pull the bait in front of the fish hoping it would take the bait. I was amazed at how close we could get to the fish as we circled around for the right presentation. As we approached within 40 feet from the marlin it instinctively coiled up and literally shot towards the mackerel slashing it's long bill in a zigzag pattern, covering the distance in less than 2 seconds. Guides count on hooked fish for tips so they handle the rods until assured the fish is hooked. This marlin hit the bait and was immediately 10 feet in the air as the mackerel slid down the line. Taking turns fighting hooked fish it was my partners time to begin the battle. About 3 minutes into the fight his line went limp and the fish was gone. After each catching a dorado, I was in line to get the next fish. While watching the teaser gurgle, pop, dive, and surface leaving a distinct line of bubbles a bill suddenly appeared inhaling the bait. After assuring it was hooked I was handed the rod with the freight train on the other end. This thing was unbelievable stripping out 300 yards of line in just a few short seconds. Jumping a number of times, it was an incredible show. After 15 minutes of airshow it decided to sound directly under the boat and hold it's position. It was like pulling on a stuck anchor and it took over 20 minutes to coax it to the surface. As I previously stated, these fish exhibit amazingly brilliant colors when hooked. The above picture was taken just as the first mate is about to grab the leader and land the fish. Notice how blue the side fin is. Pictures do little justice to how beautiful they are. We finally landed the fish and stretched it across the back of the boat for a picture. The boat is 8 1/2 feet wide and it exceeded this by at least a foot. The captain estimated the weight at about 150 pounds. As tradition, the crew likes to release all billfish caught as there are plenty of dorado's to eat. This remains the largest fish I have caught to date.
The next day paired me with Walt. We decided to try for yellow fin tuna in the morning. We headed for an island know to hold schools of yellow fin and bonito (a trash member of the tuna family). I never did catch a tuna, however the bonito's hooked were like catching a football with a jet engine attached. These were the first saltwater fish I had ever caught and it still amazes me just how hard they fight. Of course their are few opportunities in Eleva to hook into a 150 pound fish!


Dragon's Den said...

Dave, i thought you caught a shark.

Dave Anderson said...


I did catch a number of sharks in Alaska. I also saw a dead shark at the end of a set line in Mexico. The marlin was a hoot to catch!

Dragon's Den said...

Really feel envy for you guys.