824.5-pound blue marlin

824.5-pound blue marlin

PBM824Kevin Gallagher just gave us another amazing billfish story for your “beginners luck” file.  The story is improbable from the beginning to its dramatic end.

Kevin moved here from Maryland less than a year ago and bought a fishing boat in February.  Since then, he has targetted tuna almost exclusively.  Last week, he caught his first marlin. At 824.5 pounds it is one of the three largest weighed here this year.

Those are the facts. Now for the twists and turns Lady Luck wrote into the script for Kevin’s dramatic day.

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A week ago, if you had asked the best month for catching big ahi, we might have looked at the Big-Fish List and answered “January.”  It was January 6 when Capt. Russ Nitta boated a 227-pound ahi to lead the list for the five months since.  But Capt. Bobby Cherry just rewrote the record list with a 233-pounder he found for angler David Diaz last Sunday.

Bobby was working the “north” tuna school with no luck that morning.  Others were having sporadic success with “greenstick” rigs that day, but Bobby would rather troll lures or fish with live bait rather than towing a lot of heavy gear around.  He has a greenstick mounted to his boat Cherry Pit II, but he says he doesn’t use it.  He gets 90% of his ahi on live bait, about 10% on lures and none on “the stick.”

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An elite team of five top-rated boats competed for honors, awards and prizes in the three-day Hawaiian Open Tournament of the Hawaiian Billfish Series.

Team Marlin Magic II started right off on the first day with a blue marlin double and a 181.5-pound ahi.  With three more tags on the second day, Capt. Marlin Parker’s team built an insurmountable lead of 881.5 points.  They also took home the first place Geoffrey Smith bronze sculpture, two high point dailies, one ahi daily and an invitation to the 2017 Offshore World Championship in Quipus Costa Rica.

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This week’s oddest is odd because it should be odd but isn’t.  The riddle involves another black marlin.  In most years, we may see only one a month.  This year, we seem to be reporting at least one a week including two weeks ago when a black marlin was caught from shore.

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