My Quest for Blue Marlin
The month of January marked the beginning of my quest to catch a blue marlin each month from the waters around Grand Cayman, the tiny Caribbean island that has been my home for the last decade. However, this is typically a busy time for me, and it wasn’t until the last week of January, in 2008, that I was finally able to break away for a day of fishing aboard my 26-foot Dusky Makaira. A last minute decision meant that I would be fishing alone, and any hope I might have had of catching a marlin every month of the year was fading. Still, I wasn’t going to let January slip by without at least giving it a try.
The day’s adventure began as I was trolling three miles west of North West Point, at a spot known as the pinnacle. Surveying the boat’s wake where I had four lines out, I spotted a high dorsal fin streaking in behind the lure I had on the right short rigger. The strike popped the rubber band with a satisfying slap and line started pouring off the reel. I continued to throttle ahead at trolling speed to keep pressure on the marlin while I quickly cleared the three other lines and slipped into my fighting belt and harness. This would be a challenge, as I was on my own — captain, mate and angler all rolled into one.
I braced myself against the console and spun my 26-footer to chase the marlin as it headed downsea, jumping magnificently in a series of head-shaking leaps. Maneuvering the boat by using my left hand to both operate the throttle and steer the wheel, I faced the big fish off the starboard bow and was able to keep up with it until the marlin decided to sound. After a spell, the fish changed tactics and popped to the surface ahead of the boat, where it started wildly jumping again. Then it suddenly turned and charged the boat, which put me in a bad spot. I cranked hard on the reel in an attempt to keep the line tight as I was running around the bow to keep my line clear of the outrigger halyards as the fish sped on by.
It was an exciting 20 minutes of fast-paced action before I finally got the blue to the boat. For me, the first order of business was to grab the leader and wrap it around a cleat so I could free up my hands to take a photo of the beautifully lit-up 150-pounder. I then quickly removed the hook from the marlin’s upper jaw, revived the fish for a minute, and after releasing my grip from the bill, watched it swim off like a rocket. That was quite a milestone for me — my first blue marlin caught on the water alone.
After pausing a bit to savor the moment, I throttled the boat forward, methodically reset my lines, and trolled west to Twelve Mile Bank. My day of fishing excitement wasn’t done. Reaching the southwestern corner of the bank, I suddenly found myself hooked up with two jumping blues at one time. I’ve never felt so shorthanded in my life, and proceeded to lose one of the marlin after just five minutes. The other jumped all over the ocean before it finally broke the leader. My body was shaking with exertion and excitement. Fishing alone, I had hooked and fought three of these great fish, managing one — my first solo blue — to the boat for release.
And so, it was this remarkable day of fishing at the end of January that served as a starting point for the pursuit of my lofty goal of catching a blue marlin from Grand Cayman waters during each month of the year. In quite an exhilarating fashion, my quest had begun.
— Guy Harvey
Check this blog next month for my adventures in February, as I continue my quest to catch a blue marlin every month of the year.
- Guy Harvey’s Marlin a Month | February 2010
- Guy Harvey’s Marlin a Month| May 2010
- Guy Harvey Marlin a Month | December
- Intro to Guy Harvey’s Marlin a Month Series
- Guy Harvey’s Marlin a Month | June 2010