I headed out for a “southern” themed trip with a couple of friends out of the true South. The goal was to go look for some more of the tuna on the offshore banks. Catching any fish would have been a success for us…
We quickly broke the skunk with a couple of bonito. Then it was time to go looking around the offshore banks. This was about the point where we discovered that we couldn’t figure out how to enter points into the GPS. No worries, we had lat. and lon. with a chart, so we headed in the right direction. The banks are not magic spots, but rather spots where you are likely to find good conditions. The general game plan is to get close and to look. You are looking for kelp paddies or porpoise.
We found a nice paddy. For good or for bad, a bunch of our bait died, so we set up near the paddy and chummed with a lot of cut bait. We fly-lined some live baits and proceeded to drift along. We drifted, and then I heard something behind me. There were porpoise!
Conditions were perfect for tuna! A good paddy, bait and porpoise coming in on us.
Nothing… nothing …
“I think I’ve got a bite…”
I felt a little pressure, but not much. I let more line go. Then I decided to pull a little.
“Yes, I think I’ve got a bite.”
My line came tight, but it didn’t feel like a yellowtail or yellowfin. Suddenly we saw a fish with a long, pointed nose come out of the water right by the boat. Very cool.
But wait, my line is going in that direction and is starting to pull much harder. “I’ve got a marlin!”
I think I even said, “this should be a Tuna…”; I know I was thinking that I wanted a tuna, not a marlin even though I’d never seen let along hook one.
A couple of jumps later, it turned and ran right at me. I was about 130 yards out, and it came screaming in. I couldn’t keep up and I thought I was going to loose it. Then my line came tight; it was still there. It turned and went away again. Then it made another right turn. WOW! My line was singing. Literally, it moved laterally through the water so fast that it was like a guitar string. In no time it went for 30-40 yards to over 150. My rod was doubled over too.
More jumps. Wow. Owen was following it with the boat by now and I was still looking line very fast. Remember, I was targeting Tuna. I had a 20 lb outfit. A real 20# mono outfit with a medium to short 30# topshot. I had the drag buttoned down, but I was way into my spectra backing.
We got a couple more really cool jumps and tail-walks. Then it did a jump with a twist and my line wrapped up in its tail. Snap! It was gone.
My adrenaline was through the sky and I was shaking. I never though I would fish for a marlin let alone hook one! That was pretty cool. We were all pretty jazzed even though we didn’t land it.
It was a beautiful fish. Not huge, but probably 5-6′ long. Maybe longer with the bill. It had vertical stripes, so my guess is that it was a striped marlin.
Unfortunately, we didn’t run into the tuna that I am sure where there. Did the marlin scare them away?
It is fishing, not catching and the bonito did taste good.