Enormous volcanic rocks jolting from the seafloor on either side would make many think they were on another planet. But, as the sun began to rise over the Big Island of Hawaii we were leaving Honokohau Harbor and setting off to begin another day of work. Two things about being a fisherman that make it difficult is the waiting, and the waiting. Great things have happened many times when patience is exerted, and this day was one of those instances.
When we passed the long volcanic rock jetty we began our way. There was a cool chill in the air as I felt the airlift off my arms and caress my damp shirt. My instincts told me there was a summer storm coming that the trade winds picked up from the north. Every fisherman has a routine that they do when they get out on the open sea, and we were no different. Captain JB hits the throttle and the water begins to softly splash off on the starboard and port side as our Forty-Five foot Viking planes through the deep blue.
I can feel the engine get to a certain part of a gear and see the glass on the door vibrate very subtle for a just a moment when we hit 7 knots. At that point, I always put my hand out starboard and splash water on my face. As soon as I get all the lines into the water, my captain always pulls out a bankroll of quarters up in the tuna tower. Leaning towards the stern, he flicks one in the ocean, and says softly to himself “You gotta pay to play.” Without a single bite for the first three hours, we were a little discouraged, so we went to Captain Cook Bay for some snorkeling
Diving in the deep blue and turquoise waters of Hawaii with brain coral and exotic fish surrounding you is a dream come true at any time. When you have been riding the Pacific for hours, with no bites, sometimes a mood booster is necessary to ensure people keep hopes high. After an hour we drove out from the bay and did a run that varies from forty fathoms down to four hundred. The Captain began heading on a lucky line that had some activity from some friends we overheard on the radio. Into the cool wet wind we headed, with our hearts intent to find some fish.
After only a few minutes later, SNAP, I heard the pop of a rubber band and it meant it was business time. I looked out while whistling in the other lines, I saw the bill and dorsal of a huge blue marlin shoot violently out of the ocean with seemingly dangerous intentions. Wiping the sweat from my brow I could taste the salt from the ocean and the SPF 50 that was now beading down my face. I instructed the athletically built woman, who chartered us for the day, to get in the seat and prepare for the ride of her life. As the marlin began to swim away with nearly one hundred feet of line in three jumps, I could see the fear in the woman’s face. I touched her calmly on her sternly poised back and said: “You are the safest person on the boat when you are in this seat, he is the one who should be worried.”
At first, it was an intense fight that the marlin was winning by diving deep into the abyss. He took off in the opposite direction the boat was going attempting to snap the lure. To counter the attempted escape, the Captain put the twin Johnson & Towers Detroit Diesels 485 horse-power engines into reverse to make up for the distance that the marlin had retreated. Between the squeaks of me turning the chair to follow the line, and the noises coming from the woman, and the chaos of the fight I could barely hear Captain shout his orders down at me. “Junior, get the gaff!” he shouted from the tower, “yes captain". I got my gloves on as quick as I could and the whole time in the back of my head I was thinking; a fish that size, did not get that big from running from a fight.
I grabbed the leader, which is about fifteen feet of very high strength and durability line that is connected to the lure. To my surprise when I started pulling it towards the starboard side of the deck there was little resistance on the other end of it. His right eye looked like a perfectly polished eight ball piercing into my eyes recognizing me, as a man in his world. When I grabbed him by the bill it was denser and larger than any I had ever seen. A few seconds after handing it off to my uncle as requested, I darted to get the tag pole.
Captain JB measured the length, girth, and height of the fish, and gathered data from the bill of the fish, to plug into a formula that is used to determine the weight of the Marlin. About a minute later the Captain turned around, staring down his glasses at the calculator in hand, and read aloud “Five-Hundred and Thirty-TWO POUNDS!” With a few simple clicks and snaps, the fish was tagged and pictures were taken and we released him back to his kingdom. While getting him free, I could not help but realize that he seemed as if he didn’t want to, and then slowly began to swim deeper. The client and I were screaming “WHOOOA” at the top of our lungs while high fiving each other as this event had made all of our days.
We all felt a sense of accomplishment heading back, and the Captain got on the radio and said “Silky got a 532-pound blue tagged, down south of Cooks Bay” with a sense of pride in his voice that cannot be replicated. I opened the drawer to locate one of the marlin flags and raised it to hang from atop the boat. As that blue marlin flag waved in the wind we could feel all the other fishermen staring at the marks of our day, envying us. The amount of grit shown by all of us onboard that day in the face of hardship was well deserved and well-received. It just goes to show that with patience, good things do come.