So You Wanna Be A Marlin Fisherman, My Son? *
(Editor's Note: A blast from SCMO's past, this is the first piece ever written for the site. It finds a new home as part of our Marlin Tutorial)
The first thing I'd have to say is ... are you
sure? Fishing for marlin can be a frustrating pastime ...
days of boredom punctuated by minutes of pleasure and seconds
of terror. And it is addicting ... suddenly you find there's
no time for anything else in your life ... even work ... :-)
But if you're sure it's what you want to do, here's a couple
of things you'll need to be a successful marlin fisherman:
Not necessarily your own, but someone's
money. Even at its most stripped-down, marlin fishing is
expensive. Unless you're lucky enough to live in a fishing
ground (as I do in Southern California), plan on flying
before fishing. Cabo, Hawaii, Australia, ... call your travel
agent. Even if you don't have to travel, you still have
to get offshore. I'm not aware of any significant pier or
surf fishery for marlin, so you'll need a boat. They start
at around one-hundred grand, and go up from there - fast!
Fuel's not cheap either (see 'Dope', below). Then there's
the equipment ... figure at least $500 a pole for four trolling
rods and a couple of bait outfits. And that's for light
stand up tackle!!
Most people who haven't fished marlin assume
it's very exciting. And it is ... when you have a
fish on. During those moments, it is the most intense action
you'll ever see. But that is a small percentage of the time
spent on the water. Even if you discount the time spent
enjoying the sea breeze, the birds, and the dolphins, most
of the time is spent just driving ... and driving ... and
driving. Not exciting at all, and taxing on even the most
patient individual. But the boredom ends when the reel screams
and your heart go from 0 to 60 in two beats.
Lombardi said luck is where preparation meets
opportunity. Vince must have fished marlin. Sure, some fish
are caught by randomly trolling unknown waters (AFJF - if
you don't know, don't ask) ... but what separates the successful
fishermen from the rest is actively finding their own fish.
Spending time "in the glasses" (scanning the waters with
binoculars) looking for fins, birds or current breaks is
the mark of a pro. Few fish are found by mattress surfers
(and I should know!).
Not drugs ... information. It's a mighty
big ocean out there, and marlin are a migratory species.
Let's see ... a thousand square miles of ocean covered at
8 knots consuming 4 gallons of fuel per hour ... you do
the math. Your fishing experience will be a whole lot better
if you know where to go. You've never heard jungle drums
beat as loud as the phones ringing Sunday night when everyone
compares notes on their weekend trips. Of course, there
is pecking order to be followed. Expect to spend a few seasons
on your own, trying to steer clear of the "suction pumps".
Joining a fishing club such as the BAC or Pescys is a good
way to move up the order.
Let's face it ... we're not fishing for
minnows here. We're after the toughest fish in the sea.
When you have a big marlin on and realize that there's a
good chance it'll kick your butt and not the other way around,
you have to wonder who is angling who. Somehow, a different
attitude is required. Some folks are born with it, but anyone
can develop the right marlin attitude with a little help
and hard work. Let's start with music. Most fisherman go
with the safe choice ... Jimmy
Buffett. Now I'm as big a parrothead as the next man,
but it's too laid back for marlin. You need something with
attitude ... something with boots ... something like Brooks
and Dunn. Sports? Don't even mention football. Brute
strength and no brains ... perfectly suited for tuna. But
we're marlin fishing here, so the sport of choice is baseball.
Why? Strategy and patience. Besides ... you can root for
the Florida Marlins
... Marlins, get it? Humor is very important too ... you
need to be able to laugh after you lose the big one ...
and realize you also lost the outfit you tossed into the
water when you nearly got spooled earlier. The Aussies
have the perfect sense of humor for marlin ... big and bold.
Nuthin' subtle 'ere, mate! Now for your homework: go to
each of the links in this paragraph, absorb the knowledge
there and send me a message that demonstrates your new attitude.
Now that you know what it takes, what do you think ... still
want to give it a try? Then what are you waiting for ... give
me a call and let's go fishing!
* with apologies to the ladies ... after all, some of
the most tenacious marlin fishermen I know are women (Jackie
... Kathy ... Dara ...)