It actually didn’t register fully in my mind when the fish took the bait this morning. We had gaffed a dolphin with bill marks on its side just 15 minutes before witnessing the left long bait ( a jumbo goggle eye left over from the Miami Billfish Tournament) cork go plumeting into the water. We were drifting in 145′ maybe 100 yards north of the monument buoy – I figured we had managed our first sail of the day, but this fish did not jump. It began ripping line off the 12v international like I haven’t seen before. With a few scattered reports of yellowfins being caught off the coast of Miami, my imagination began distracting me from the reality that we needed to clear the spread and chase the fish. Whatever we had hooked was peeling line off the reel straight to the east. We gave chase as soon as the florentino came into the boat and proceeded to follow the fish through a maze of weekend warriors on our way to the bluewater. The fish pulled line endlessly as we gave chase and i was beginning to doubt we had a shot at whatever was tearing full throttle towards the horizon.
After a dash offshore, we finally managed to gain enough line and get broadside to the fish for the first time. We had one clear shot at the leader early into the fight as the man in the blue suit wandered up to the surface to take a glance at us. We made a dash to grab the leader but he called the surface basking quits and sounded. The iridescent blue stripes and enormous pectoral fins of the fish were magnificent. That was the last we saw of it for another 30 minutes until a frantic sailfish began leaping around the boat and our fish followed. When we first saw the sailfish leaping around (a big sail) a bit of awkward confusion rolled over the boat. We were all somewhat stunned – we had seen the marlin on the surface, but did it suddenly transform into a sailfish? there was no line from the sailfish’s mouth and although we were tight our fish somehow followed under the sail – cruising deeper. More realistically, it was the sail hopping around flanking our fish.
Another 25 minutes passed and we remained in deadlock with the blue brute. We could simply not move him up on 20lb test and a 40lb flourocarbon leader. It was a miracle the 6/0 demon circle held in place (not to mention Todd’s perfection loop he retied after the bill whacked mahi mahi). Some risky additional pressure did the trick and the fish finally came back up to the surface just long enough for Todd to grab the leader – although fumbling with a camera in your right hand while leadering a 100# blue with your left was consierably inadvisable. The fish made a quick pause at the boat and then turned inshore fast – he broke free on the leader after throwing us a brilliantly pelagic blue broadside flash a few feet beneath the surface. The fish glided away into the abyss and was gone. With everyone a bit rattled, and disappointed from not getting an ideal photo, we took a moment to collect ourselves and realize it was only 1145.
Only a bit of iphone footage and shoddy gopro camera work remain as physical testament to our duel with the big blue – but the image of those radiant blue stripes shining beneath the surface will remain burned in my eyes for years to come.