Story & Illustrations by Guy Harvey
Often, I have been asked what was one of the most amazing experiences I have had out on the ocean.
Here is one:
In the afternoon of Oct. 21, 2021, I was out fishing for marlin off Grand Cayman on Makaira, my Dusky 33, with Alex Robertson. We had trolled west out of the North Sound and headed past North West Point towards a seamount I call The Pinnacle just three miles west. It is an area where we have raised many marlin over the years on the way to 12 Mile Bank, just five miles further west. Not raising a fish here, we kept going west toward the bank. The water here reaches over 3,000 feet deep. At 3:05 p.m. a blue marlin came up on the left teaser. I saw a big color spot, and the bill out of the water was thick, so I knew this was a decent fish!
I tried to pull the teaser away, but the marlin was fast and grabbed it again as I asked Alex to bring in the right teaser as well. With both teasers in the boat, the marlin should drop back and eat the short rigger lure, left or right, and we expected the bite. But nothing happened for 10 seconds. We both stood there looking back at the spread. Then, the head of the marlin appeared between the twin 300 Suzukis, mouth closed, dorsal fin up, big blue eye looking at us, and as if in slow motion it kept coming … kept coming … until half its body was out of the water. The marlin was fat and appeared to be stuck between the two engines as we moved along at 8 knots still on autopilot. How was this possible?
The marlin appeared to be in a trance, stiff, pointing up into the sky, its face level with our heads. In the time that seemed like ages, I took in all the detail of the face, the mouth closed tight, the dorsal up, pectoral fins out and the glowing color; iridescent green and blue on its head and back, bronze and silver face and flanks. It kept getting higher out of the water. I thought it was going to land in the cockpit; then the trouble would begin! Standing in the cockpit; I dared not turn away from the marlin to grab a camera or stop the boat. I kept my eyes on the fish. Alex was also mesmerized. The marlin got through the space between the engines and started to fall down, gravity taking hold. It fell to its left and landed on the transom and covering board, then started to flap hard. It then rolled to its left, landing on the swim platform and went back into the water on the port side as it was kicking its tail — gone!
I quickly took photos of the scales, skin and small amount of blood left on the engines, steering gear, transom and covering board. The marlin had left its scars, but it seemed to be unscathed and certainly had not hit either propeller. Alex and I called friends and family, frantically, to let them know what had just happened. With no photos or video taken, we still had a story to tell of a free-swimming, 300-pound blue marlin chasing the teaser and then swimming up between the engines out of the water before collapsing on top of the transom and port covering board before leaving. I did a series of ink sketches to show what happened. How lucky we were that the marlin did not land in the cockpit.
We continued fishing at 12 Mile Bank, and at 4:45 p.m., we had a double-header blue marlin — Alex catching and releasing his fish at 125 pounds. What an afternoon of excitement!