Though successful through September, continuing my streak of catching a blue marlin from Cayman Island waters each month of the year had become increasingly challenging, mostly due to a very busy schedule and weather conditions that had allowed for limited time on the water. However, with the arrival of October, I was brimming with confidence. This is a month I always look forward to because migratory yellowfin tuna and wahoo typically start to show up on Twelve Mile Bank — and you can bet that when tuna are around, the marlin won’t be far behind. Before month’s end, though, October of 2008 would prove especially memorable for me because of a particular day on the water that was rewarding in ways that were much more meaningful than simply my year-long marlin-a-month pursuit.
Earlier in the year, I had been contacted by the Central/Northern Florida chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, asking if I would be willing to help make a youngster’s wish come true? The mission of the Make-A-Wish Foundation is “to grant the wishes of children with life threatening medical issues to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.” In this case, it involved Evan Taylor, a 14-year-old from Pensacola, Florida, who loved to paint and fish, but was suffering from lukemia. When asked what he wished for, Evan said he wished he could meet Guy Harvey. I was flattered to hear that, and without hesitation, said “yes” to the Make-A-Wish Foundation request. In fact, I told them if Evan would come to Grand Cayman Island, I was willing to do more than just meet the youngster…I’d take him fishing…and we set the date.
On the morning of October 11, I loaded the gear into my 28-foot Scout Makaira II, including some souvenir Guy Harvey by AFTCO Bluewater T-shirts for my guests, and motored from the dock to the beach in front of the Westin Casuarina hotel, where I picked up young Taylor and his family. Following introductions, and then getting everyone settled in my boat, I put out the lines and we all had some time to get better acquainted as we trolled west down to Twelve Mile Bank. As luck would have it, on the first pass at the southwestern corner of the bank, a blue marlin crashed the left long rigger and the excitement began. With rod in hand, Evan was already working hard on the fish as I quickly got him into the harness and spun the boat around. The blue stayed up near the surface where everyone on board witnessed several dramatic jumps before we eventually brought the 140-pound marlin alongside the boat and released it. To say Evan was stoked is an understatement! We continued trolling and scored another bite in nearly the same spot, only that fish came free in midair. Later in the afternoon, young Taylor caught a 30-pound wahoo, which we kept, and upon our return to George Town, took the fish over to their hotel restaurant, where Evan’s catch was prepared so that we could all enjoy a very special fish dinner.
During our time on the water, it was evident that Evan loved to fish, but he also explained to me his passion as an artist, and his goal of someday becoming a marine biologist. With that, I couldn’t let the day end without giving the Taylor family a tour of the Guy Harvey Gallery & Shoppe in George Town, plus a visit to my studio, where I gave Evan a few tips about painting. Later, the folks at the Make-A-Wish Foundation forwarded a note they had received from Evan Taylor’s mother: “The water was so beautiful and Guy was very gracious. He served as a host, deckhand, captain and mentor. The past year was such a rollercoaster going through Evan’s illness, and this was truly a time of no worries and beyond what we could imagine.”
Actually, the whole experience of helping to make Evan Taylor’s wish come true went beyond what I imagined it would be, as well, and fishing with the youngster and his family was and will always remain one of my most gratifying days on the water. For more information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation and to locate any of the chapters throughout the U.S., visit their website at www.wish.org.
— Guy Harvey
Check this blog next month for my adventures in November, 2008, as I continue my quest to catch a blue marlin every month of the year.
For a complete list of our other featured blog posts and to see the full line of Guy Harvey Sportswear, please visit: www.guyharveysportswear.com
- Guy Harvey Marlin a Month | December
- Guy Harvey’s Marlin a Month | February 2010
- Intro to Guy Harvey’s Marlin a Month Series
- Guy Harvey’s Marlin a Month | November
- Guy Harvey’s Marlin a Month | January 2010