Huge Marlin Sets Fla. State Record

spectr17

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Huge Marlin Sets Fla. State Record

FRANK SARGEANT, Tampa Tribune.
Published: Jul 18, 2001

The first ``grander,'' or 1,000- pound-plus marlin in state history, came over the transom this past weekend at the Bay Point Marriott Offshore Tournament out of Panama City. The blue giant, caught by angler Conrad Hawkins of Jacksonville, fishing with captain Tommy Browning of Destin, scaled 1,046 pounds and taped 131 inches long. The girth was an amazing 78 inches.
``It's by far the biggest marlin I've caught in more than 40 years of offshore fishing,'' said Browning, who was guest captain aboard the ``Lucky 2,'' a 51-foot Bertram. ``I once had on a fish almost this big for over eight hours and lost it, but this is the biggest one we've ever landed.''

The record fish took a locally- made trolling head known as the ``Wayno,'' produced by Wayne Russell of Destin. Browning said the lure was tiny compared to the monster fish, only about the diameter of a 50- cent piece, though it trailed a long tail that made it look like a larger baitfish as it skipped through the water.

``We were trolling the 100-fathom curve, about 65 miles out,'' Browning said. ``The fish came up on it twice and turned away, and then the third time she came back and just ate it right down.''

After that, things happened fast.

``That first run, she took 650 yards of 100-pound-test off the spool,'' Browning said. ``And that was with me backing down as fast as I could.''

The fish never jumped, which usually results in a long fight. But by keeping the boat close over the fish after that first big run, the team was able to keep lots of pressure on. Hawkins, an experienced offshore angler who often fished with Browning, put his back into the job and in just two hours and 15 minutes, the monster was at boatside.

However, keeping her there was no easy matter. Seven times, the leader was within reach, and seven times the fish pulled away. On the eighth try, the mate got the fish in close enough to sink a gaff and end the battle.

Then, the problem was how to get the half-ton fish aboard the boat.

``We had seven men aboard, and we tied a thick rope to the bill and paid out enough so that all seven of us could get hold and heave,'' Browning said. ``But even that wouldn't move the fish.''

The trick that worked was to turn the boat down-sea, and give a concerted pull on the rope each time a wave pushed the fish toward the boat.

After a half-dozen pulls, the fish was inside the cockpit, except for the tail, which was too long to fit.

Only two other blue marlin more than 1,000 pounds have been landed in U.S. waters, one off North Carolina and one off Louisiana.

Because the IGFA keeps no 100- pound-test category, the fish will be placed in the 130-pound category, where it will fall short of beating out the current world line class and all- tackle record of 1,402 pounds, 2 ounces, taken off Brazil in 1992. The recognized state record is 980 pounds, 8 ounces, also for a fish caught off Destin/Panama City.
 

BigDog

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Yahoo. What a blast that would be. One of these days I hope.
 

Fubar

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Thats more than the fish of a lifetime. More like a fish of a thousand lifetimes.           Fubar
 

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