Craig Patterson isn’t much of a drinker, but he was in Hawaii on St. Patrick’s Day.
The sun was warm and he was happy to be leaving the Kona Harbor for an eight-hour deep-sea fishing trip with his family, so he opened a cold beer.
Patterson didn’t get to finish the beer, however, because a 379-pound marlin interrupted his tropical reverie.
The odds of catching a marlin in Hawaii in March were not in his favor. The best time to land one, according to the boat’s captain, is in July and August. About 100 boats a day sail from the bay and three times a week, someone gets a marlin.
But about an hour after the boat left the harbor, Patterson snagged a marlin and a half-hour later, the giant fish was on the deck.
For those who hope to catch a marlin one day, consider that the fishing reel was about the size of a volleyball, the marlin was caught on a 130-pound test line and the “leader” at the end of the line was rated for 500 pounds.
“The bait was about the size of Rudy,” Patterson said in an interview at his Cottage Grove home last week while pointing to the family pet, a dog of poodle and Havanese mixed heritage.
When Craig felt the full tug of the fish, the boat captain indicated that it was a big marlin. What happened after the fish breached the ocean surface was a surprise to the Patterson family, including Craig’s wife, Lisa, and daughters Emily, Allison, Sydney, and Hannah.
“The captain pulled out a .57 magnum and shot the fish three times,” Craig said, “but it was still fighting.”
The line was caught around the boat’s rudder and the captain put on a snorkel and dove into the ocean to unsnarl the line. Later, the captain said the process had to be done very quickly because sharks were ready to pounce on the dying fish.
While dragging the still-fighting marlin on board, the captain finally killed the fish with 15 or so blows from a baseball bat.
The rest of the day, with only two fish nibbling at the bail, was a quiet boat trip.
When fishing in Hawaii, the rule is that the boat keeps any fish that are caught to sell to local people and restaurants.
Craig’s marlin, because it was so large and not as tasty as smaller marlin, was probably smoked, Lisa said, and sold for $9 a pound.
Craig has the bill and tail from the fish that he plans to preserve in a display alongside the bill and tail from a marlin his grandfather caught.http://www.swcbulletin.com/event/article/id/20364/group/homepage/