The big one that got away — again!
While I’m not fishing at this time, I can still enjoy the adventures of others. — and my nephew, Todd Correll of Ft. Lauderdale, had a great story to tell this week.
Todd was trolling with his boat 14 miles offshore of his second home in the Keys at Islamorada, and got into small blackfin and yellowfin tuna feeding under working birds when a 50-pound class rod was bent over by something much bigger that hit a cedar plug trolled far astern behind a teaser.
After four hours battling with tackle that was inadequate for the situation, he seemed to be making some progress before the heavy leader suddenly broke. Worst of all, the fish could never be identified — though it was likely a giant bluefin or a very large yellowfin.
If it was any consolation, I told Todd that he got off easy. Decades ago I was trolling off Salinas, Ecuador for striped marlin and sailfish with 30-pound tackle when I saw a swordfish engulf my bonito — a blind strike that’s almost unheard of by that species. After three hours of stand-up battle, I sat down in a fighting chair. The swordfish only jumped once, and I really had no realistic idea of how big it was since I’d never seen one before. However, I did know that the IGFA world record on 30-pound was vacant — and it would surely be a world record if the line tested out at 30-pounds or less.
The crew wanted that fish as much as I did — and the fight went on. When it started getting dark, the captain had a hard time following the line until it got pitch dark and “fire” in the water on a moonless night made it easy to track. Before daylight, another boat was coming out with more fuel so we could continue the fight when, suddenly, my heavy leader broke or was cut by something to end a 12 1/2-hour battle.
At least I got to see my “big one that got away” and at that point only prayed that it survived the fight it deserved to win.
There was lots of wind today, and there will be more tomorrow which starts at 15-20 knots plus gusts to 30 before dropping to east at just 5-10 knots in the afternoon.