While fishing just 10 miles outside of Dana Harbor on a 17-foot Aquasport, Doug Bury and Chris Spillers got the ride of their lives.
The pair wasn’t after marlin, but that’s what they got when Spillers hooked a striped marlin on a rod he usually uses for calico bass and yellowtail. The marlin came tight on a Seeker 196C rod with a Shimano Calcutta 400 spooled with 50-pound PowerPro backing and 20-pound test Berkley Big Game mono with a top shot of 20-pound Blackwater fluorocarbon. Here’s the real kicker, the marlin was hooked on a 2/0 Owner hook baited with a sardine.
The boys told U-T San Diego that they’d figured the fish would jump itself out and then they’d break it off and let it swim away. Well, that’s not exactly what happened. The line didn’t break and the fish began tail-walking and greyhounding all over the ocean.
“I made a joke that it might jump right into the boat with us, and all of a sudden it made a U-turn and came right at us,” Bury told U-T San Diego. “Maybe it heard me and before we had any chance to react, it jumped into the bow of the boat and got its bill stuck between the rod holder and the hatch. We couldn’t believe it, but it speared the hatch of the boat.”
They grabbed the marlin’s tail to control it and keep it from destroying the boat. The bill, however, was stuck and wouldn’t budge. It took three attempts to get the fish loose before it finally came free. With one man holding onto the tail and one on the bill, the fish gave them a rodeo ride around the center console boat.
Finally they got the fish back in the water, where it made a few circles, and swam off on its own. The boat was a mess with marlin slime on everything and half-eaten flying fish all over the deck. The hatch was trashed with a hole right through it.
Bury said he’s going to leave the hole in the hatch as a reminder of his wild ride at sea.
California Striped Marlin Jumps in Boat