Neil Patrick, one of Australia’s best known marlin fishermen and chairman of Halco Tackle, was recently recognized for outstanding angling achievement at the International Game Fishing Association’s (IGFA) annual dinner and auction in Florida.
Neil was presented with the prestigious Gill Keech Heavy Tackle Award for the capture and release of a huge black marlin while fishing off the coast of Panama. Only one such award is made each year and it has been previously won by two Australians — Bob Lowe and Peter Bristow.
With a wealth of experience behind him, Neil knew when he first saw the big black that he was hooked up to a potential new world record in the 50-pound tackle class. A fish of that magnitude is something of a holy grail to serious marlin fishermen, securing the angler a place in game fishing history.
Instead of playing the fight out to its ultimate conclusion at the weigh station gantry, Neil chose to get the fish to the boat as quickly as possible, resulting in the successful placement of a sonic research tag and release of the fish.
Neil’s passion for game fishing goes way beyond skin deep. He is an IGFA board member, co-chair of the IGFA Fisheries Conservation Committee and past president of the Game Fishing Association of Australia. He is a heavy-tackle billfish specialist and has fished all over the world for giant blue and black marlin, fighting 1000-pound fish in the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans.
After buying the relatively unknown small lure maker Halco Tackle in the 1980s, Neil transformed the company into an internationally successful developer and manufacturer of world-class fishing lures which currently exports to over 70 countries.