A few months ago I was looking up the current black marlin woman’s world record on 50 pound for a customer. I opened the “IGFA World Record Game Fishes” from the shelf on my desk. I opened the book to the marlin record pages, and Mike Levitt’s 737lb 7oz. Black Marlin world record on 12 pound in 1981 caught my eye. I knew exactly when that happened and memories flooded in.
That was the year of IGFA’s President’s, E.K. Harry’s big mistake, when he changed IGFA rules on the length of leaders to 30 feet on all classes. He was responding to a bunch of lazy charter boat captains who found it too hard to keep track of leaders of 15 and 30 feet in length.
Elwood shortened up the double line and leader combined length, but in so doing doubled the allowable leader length on light line. Mike Levitt and Capt. Paul Whelan had set a record that still stands and may not ever be beaten because the rules were changed again, after that one year.
Laurie Wright and the late Doug Haig were my crew. We made a deal with Al Hooper. We used his little trawler yacht, “Cheryl Ann” as a mother boat and fished double or nothing for a world record on 6 or 12 pound line. Al would pay nothing if we failed to get a record and double if we did. Laurie, Doug and I, and the boat owner, went all in for the deal.
With all that much leader we got our chances. We had several 700 pounders on the wire. We broke several leaders and had one jump through, and break the outrigger halyards. At one point Al offered to pay for the whole charter, but not double, if we would let him switch to 30 pound line.
We turned him down and lost the bet! He paid for all our fuel and gave us all a nice tip. None of us will ever forget those two weeks of crazy fishing! The next year the IGFA changed the leader length back for the lightest line classes.
It’s funny that a trip in which we were not successful was one of the best and most fun we ever had! I will never ever forget the details of that trip