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How to Catch an All-Tackle World Record Blue Marlin

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Catch the International Game Fishing Association (IGFA) all-tackle world record blue marlin from now through December 13, fishing out of select marinas in the IGY network, and win a million-dollar prize! That means reeling in an Atlantic Blue Marlin heavier than the 1,402-pounder boated by Paulo Amorim off Vitoria, Brazil, in 1992.

“It’s certainly possible”, says Kevin Haddox, co-owner of Ocean Surfari charters, based at IGY’s American Yacht Harbor (AYH) Marina, in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. “Every year someone catches a big fish.”

Four 1,000-pound-plus blue marlin have been caught in Virgin Islands’ waters. These include Larry Martin’s 1282lb blue marlin, which set the all-tackle world record back in 1977, and Maudie Lopez’s still-standing women’s all tackle blue marlin, a 1,073-pounder caught in 1982. A replica of Lopez fish is mounted at the head of ‘A’ dock at AYH.

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Do you want to set this spectacular record and score this big money prize? “Be prepared,” recommends Haddox.

First, fish at the right time.

“In Virgin Islands’ waters this means around the full moon,” says Haddox. “Especially in the months of June and July.”

Secondly, carry big tackle all the time. You never know when that big fish will strike.

“Most of the time guys here are fishing with 50lb test line,” Haddox explains. “When fishing for a world record, you need to carry 130lb test rigged with a tuna or large lures, like super plungers, all the time. And, the tackle has to be perfect. Good quality line. Test the knots and test the leader. With a thousand-pound-plus fish you need to move up to a 500 to 600lb monofilament leader.”

Consider making your own special leader that is two to three inches shorter than the IGFA regulation of 30-inches. Then, when a big blue marlin stretches it during the fight, it won’t measure longer than 30 inches and disqualify the catch when tested by an IGFA representative as part of the world record certification process.

A big hook too is also recommended. The biggest is 12-0. Bigger than that are custom-made.

Third, work on your technique.

“When a world-record fish takes off, it will take all the line off the reel faster than can get all the gear in and back down,” Haddox says. “Part of the problem is that most anglers aren’t prepared for a fish like this. Therefore, keep an eye on where your drag is at all times, make sure your boat is in good shape because you’ll be fighting for a long time, and make sure crew is well oiled.”

Even when the swivel touches the rod tip the fish will still be 30ft behind the boat.

“Big fish are dangerous,” Haddox says. “They’re powerful. They can rip someone right off the back of the boat, so you need to be careful how you get the fish in the boat. ”

Fourth and finally, make the right judgment call before you boat and kill a non-world record marlin.

“It’s hard to judge a marlin’s weight,” Haddox says. “The head is steeper in a big fish and it has broader shoulders above the pectorals. In addition, a good rule of thumb is that if the fish measures longer than 120-inches, it should be in the 1000lb range.”

Destinations selected for the IGY Marinas Million Dollar Sportfish Challenge include: American Yacht Harbor, St. Thomas, USVI; Montauk Yacht Club, New York, NY; Blue Haven Marina, Turks & Caicos; La Amada Marina, Cancun, Mexico; Marina Cabo San Lucas, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; and Rodney Bay Marina, St. Lucia, WI.

For more information, visit: www.igymarinas.com/news-events/million-dollar-sportfish-challenge

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Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.

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