The blue Pacific was calm and a little balmy. Had it not been for an off shore breeze it might very well have been too hot for fishing. SOLMAR I, a 28-foot sportfisher, had been trolling methodically from Jaimie Bank toward Cabo Falso and back again since hours and it was quickly approaching high noon.
Californian Dale Lanyon eased himself out of the fighting chair where he had been relaxing and asked his fellow Californian, Dale Motsinger, "You handle anotha beer?"
"Sure. Thanks. Might as well. I can't believe we haven't had a strike. They've been catchin' all kinds a fish all week an' as soon as we invest three hundred bucks in a party boat tha fish flat disappear."
His companion smiled easily, "That, ol' buddy, is why they call it fishin'. But I'm beginnin' ta wonder if maybe we shouldn't pick up and try the otha side a tha point?"
Motsinger looked depressed, "Well, it's gettin' ta be a very long day. Maybe we should jus'. . . what tha hell's goin' on?"
Pablo, the Captain, had leaped to the rail of the flying bridge and was yelling something in rapid Spanish to the deck hand who had raced to the gunnel, gesticulating wildly toward the trailing lures, "Dare hee ees, Se@ores, comeen right to us, see?"
And sure enough, a large tail fin was patiently pacing the lures that were skipping through the wake of the trolling sportfisher.
The impact on the first lure practically doubled the pole and as Diego, the deck hand, reached for it, the marlin suddenly did a most unusual thing; he all but disintegrated the second lure.
"Geet dee udder pol, Se@or. Queek. Geet eet! Tenemos muchas problemas."
Panic was in the air. The deck hand was reeling with all his fury to retrieve the three outstanding lines and Pablo was yelling at him in a never ending string of undecipherable Spanish, adding to the chaos. Motsinger, strapped into the fighting chair, feet braced against the gunnel, was struggling mightily to keep the tip of the pole up while Lanyon was trying to help Diego unravel tangled lines.
Pablo was not courteous, "Coot dee udder lines, maan, coot dem. Geet dee udder pol, maan, forgeet dee lines."
A knife blade flashed in the tropical sunlight, flashed again, and as quickly as the turmoil had begun it ended. A hush fell over the ocean with only the gurgle of the diesel engine audible.
The marlin had taken the first lure and either in anger or voraciousness had demolished the second one resulting in a double hook-up. It was an unusual situation and a humorous sight to see two poles heaving competitively against the same bill fish, seemingly at odds with one another.
The two Dales strained into their chores, biceps bulging, their backs arched into their work. Perspiration was flowing freely down their unshaven faces, forming little pools of water on their hunched shoulder blades, and then cascading sporadically down their chests. Their T-shirts were completely soaked. Pablo cautioned, "I theenk hee come up now, Se@ores."
And up he came. The lines suddenly went slack and Blue emerged from the frothy sea as a ballerina, tip-toeing on his tail along the crest of a swell that was rolling toward the stern of the boat. "My God, look at tha size a that guy. Whadaya think he'll go, Dale?"
Lanyon shook his head, "I doan know, good buddy, but he's got ta go ta eight hunderd. Whadaya think, Pablo?"
"More, Se@or, hee more beeg."
The giant blue was shaking his head ferociously, attempting to throw the hooks embedded in his mouth and then, without warning, without effort, exited stage deep. "Ol on, Se@ores, hee goeen very strong. Cuidado! Cuidado!"
The impact was awesome. Both fishermen were plummeted headlong toward the gunnel. The gigantic brass reels were screaming in anguish as Blue headed out to sea and deep. With their feet braced solidly against the gunnel, the fighting chair securely bolted into the deck, and the two poles bent close to breaking, it was apparent that it was going to be a very long afternoon. Motsinger glanced over at Lanyon with a big smile on his face, "Whada we do now, coach?"
Lanyon laughed out loud, "I think we should give a little thought ta prayer."
After nearly an hour and a half of arduous labor the smiles had disappeared. Motsinger mopped his forehead for the hundredth time, "This fella is jus' gettin' stronger, Dale, how long do they
hol' out like this?"
"I've been tol' tha best thing ta do is not ta think about it. Take it minute by minute. He'll weaken in a little bit."
Immediately the words were spoken the reels started screaming again. "Good Lord, he's makin' anotha run."
Pablo was at the gunnel now, his face stricken with concern.
He went about setting the drags a little tighter and Motsinger challenged, "Ain't we in danger a snappin' tha lines, Pablo?"
"Si', Se@or, pero wee no 'ave too much more line, almos gon."
Motsinger's heart skipped a beat as he glanced at his reel; Blue was out over
Lanyon looked over at his friend, "Let's put jus' a little more pressure on 'em when he finishes this run. Okay?"
Motsinger nodded his head, "Yeah...if...he finishes this run. Hell, we hooked 'em up jus' before and here it is closin' in
on . I'll be honest with ya, I'm startin' ta hurt." Lanyon finally cracked a grin, "Tell me 'bout it, good buddy."
Blue would breach from time to time, tail waltz across a swell and then sound savagely; tiring the fishermen, dehydrating them, sapping their energy and their resolve. By hours, after two hours and forty five minutes of grueling effort, the two Dales had managed to recoup some two hundred yards of their precious lines.
They were winning the war. The lines suddenly went slack. "Reel heem een, Se@ores, hee comes een now. Reel heem een. Hee finish."
Blue broke the surface majestically; dancing, pirouetting, bowing, twisting, performing a choreography written only for the fiercest, most powerful fighting fish in the world; attempting to abort the script, to break the evil hold, to loose himself from the deadly hooks. Perhaps he sensed that this would be his last performance, his grand finale. Perhaps he sensed that this was his ultimate encounter, as does the mighty stag when faced with mortal combat for heard leadership.
"Look out," Lanyon cried, "he's goin' back down. Hold 'em,
Dale. We gotta hold 'em . . . jus' one more time."
The effervescent colors were dangerously disarming. The greens and blues fairly burst with fireworks brilliance upon theretina, enticing the fishermen to relax for a moment, to forget the danger of an instant's
Again, for the fourth time, the reels cried their anguish. Again, the anglers prepared for the brutal assault upon their weakening limbs. It came swiftly. And once again, after three hours of tortuous labor, Blue was over
"Dale, he was jus' playin' with us. Hell, he's jus' gettin' warmed up. I hate ta give up, but I'm not sure how much more a this I can handle."
Lanyon winked at his companion, "Hey, good buddy, ya said ya wanted some excitement. Hang in there. We'll get 'em!"
The sleepy little
VHF channel 77 crackled, "WIT'S END, WIT'S END, pick me up, this is Danford on SEA BANDIT."
"Go ahead, I gotcha, John."
"What's those jokers got out there, anyway?"
WIT'S END's master thought for a moment before answering,
"Well...the biggest fish I ever saw. But they're running outta juice. Fast. I don't think they're gonna be able to boat 'em."
"How big do you think he'll go?"
"I couldn't get but within a few hundred yards, John, but he's gotta go seven hundred, anyway."
"Let me break in, fellas, this is Darrell.
"Fourteen hundred? There's no blues down here that big!"
A southern drawl broke into the channel, "Well, there'n is today, by golly."
The Solmar Hotel staff was absolutely ecstatic. Señor Lui's Bulnes, the proprietor, was standing in the lobby with a knowing smile on his face. He knew this catch would to be very good for business. The Solmar staff, of course, had direct communication with Capita'n Pablo and knew that Blue had given up the ghost at15:00 hours; a three hour and fifteen minute siege. Bulnes received the plea for help and chuckled at the joke. "We can’t boat 'em. He's jus' too damn big. We need a bigger boat ta bring'em in, okay?"
By , Bulnes realized that it had been no joke; SOLMAR I couldn't get in with the catch and Blue was dehydrating rapidly. Bulnes, concern etched on his forehead, ordered the 60-foot SOLMARIV to sea. To lose a record blue because of inefficiency would be criminal; and not particularly good for public relations.
By hours a multitude of local residents and tourists were milling around the weighing station in a festive mood. They were about to witness an event that they could hand down to their children and story-swap with acquaintances for years to come; a once in a lifetime experience.
SOLMAR IV eased into the darkened dock area and an expectant hush fell over the noisy crowd. Two ropes were thrown to a group of dock hands; it took seven of them to heave and haul the bounty to dock level. An experienced fisherman commented to everyone in general, "That blue is too long for those scales. They'll never
Get a proper weigh."
"Are you telling me that fish is over fifteen feet long?"
"I sure think so."
They got Blue's tail off the ground about six feet and the rope snapped, scattering well wishers who wanted a little closer look. They solved the problem by attaching two ropes to the animal which worked just fine to a height of ten feet before both ropes unraveled. Everyone scratched their heads until one of the Gringo boat owners drove in with a brand new rope. The rope proved to be worthy, but the block and tackle was too worn to handle the job.
In the process, it was realized that Blue was too long for a proper weigh.
After a little cussing and moaning and complaining that Blue was losing weight by the minute, a heavy set spectator suggested, "Why don't you run up to that Terrasol construction site and ask to borrow their crane? That ought to work." It took another forty-five minutes to locate the crane operator and get permission
to use the equipment.
Finally, after being out of the water for six and a half hours, the weigh master was able to announce from his perch,
"Novecientos, cincuenta y siete." After excessive dehydration, Blue weighed in at
The curious crowd was jubilant. There had not been a blue or black marlin of that proportion taken in Cabo's waters for fourteen years and in those days the scales were not sufficiently calibrated
to place the catch in the record book.
Most people realized that Blue had lost from sixty to eighty pounds during the long process of attempting to boat and weigh him. Blue must surly have weighed well over
What the onlookers did not realize was that there could never have been a record because the fish had been double hooked; auto- matically disqualifying him from the official record book.
As for the two Dales, Motsinger and Lanyon, they were happily relieved to have survived the agonizing ordeal. One of the groupies, caught up in the excitement of the scene and feeling a little expansive, asked, "You guys want me to get you a bottle of
"That's right nice of ya, young fella," Lanyon drawled, "but I think a couple a ice cold Coronas will do jus' fine. We're jus' a little dry."
Note: Blue was mounted and may be viewed hanging in the main dining room of hotel Solmar in Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, México.