September 30th 2007
Record black marlin landed off Magnetic
"Relieved and ecstatic" was how Magnetic Island electrician Mr Mark Hislop described the landing of this huge fish which he caught off Myrmidon Reef yesterday. The female black marlin was officially weighed today and reached 1109lb, a Townsville record for this species.
The landing and keeping of the fish was, according to Townsville Game Fishing President, Tom Hatrick, who skippered the boat, "The second marlin we have not tagged and released in nine years of fishing."
According to Mr Hatrick the fish had died for unknown reasons when it was brought beside the Rose Red, Mr Hislop's recently purchased game fishing boat. Usual game fishing methods include a measurement of the fish in the water before tagging and release.
"It was surrounded by sharks" said Mr Hislop who was very surprised the marlin was not actually attacked by them.
For the record, the fish weighed 503kgs or 1109lbs, was a total length of 14 feet or 4.26 metres and 80 inches or 203cms in girth. Tom Hatrick believes the fish to be about 8 years old.
The largest black marlin caught previously off Townsville was 960lbs. The world record for a black marlin caught by a game fisher was 1560lb off the coast of Peru in 1953. The Australian record for a black marlin is 654kgs or 1442lbs and was caught off Cairns in 1973. Tom Hatrick believes however that a Japanese long lining vessel, which he said, "kill thousands of marlin per year," caught a black marlin in excess of 1000kgs or over 2200 lbs.
Tom Hatrick and Mark Hislop with the "Big Boofa"
It was the first marlin Mark Hislop had ever caught and he told Magnetic Times, "I used a "Big Boofa" lure. It jumped six times and tore off 500 metres of 130lb line and then began a tug of war which lasted two and three quarter hours. There were only four of us on board and we couldn't lift it in and we had to get crews from two other boats to jump aboard and help."
According to Tom Hatrick, the big game fishing area off Townsville is fairly small due to the distance required to travel out and the limited anchorages around the, nearest, Myrmidon Reef. "This year the lighter game fishing has been quieter but, surprisingly, the big fish are more active. It may be due to the colder winter we've had."
Mark Hislop plans to have the fish mounted and displayed somewhere on Magnetic Island.
The end of the line for a magnificent marlin
It is unlikely that the fish will be eaten due to the build up of toxins in fish of such a size and age as well as a coarsening of the flesh as the fish ages.
Story & photos copyright George Hirst 2007
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