Crazy Dangerous Fishing – When Marlin Strike Back


Crazy Dangerous Fishing

By Andrew Padlie

At some stage in our lives, we will all eventually pick up a fishing rod and try to catch a fish. To some of us, it is already an extension of our right or left arm. If someone told you that you could eat food with your fishing rod I bet there would be some who would. Let us look at just some of the Silly, Crazy Dangerous fishing that happens.

You may be wondering where I am going with this. Well, the point I’m trying to get to is it is amazing the lengths we will go to just to catch a single fish. To a fishing crazed person like myself, it’s nothing. To a non-fisher, it is nuts. I have seen so-called professional business people turn into drooling mad idiot’s when it comes to catching our slippery friends.

Over the next few paragraphs, I am going to go through some of the things we do try when it comes to fishing. Some are serious, others not so serious and some rather hilarious in a way – not to the person on the receiving end though.

The first thing that comes into my mind is hooks. Especially when implanted into parts of the human body. This is a very common occurrence which sooner or later cannot be avoided. We all need hooks to catch fish unless you are one of these Tuna bomb fishers. So the hook will stay around for centuries to come.

Not everyone is familiar with this but believe me, if it has happened to you. Then the funny side will eventually dawn on you unless it was a 12/0 game hook that ended up in your calf or arm. I have personally had two encounters. One involved a nasty treble hook and one very much alive albacore tuna. My advice is to make sure all fish are disconnected from all hooks before hooking yourself. It’s less painful.

Hare and Copper Bombs and Crazy Dangerous Fishing

The other happened while fishing the Horomanga River near Lake Aniwhenua. Every trout fisher knows how hard it is trying to cast those heavy Hare & Copper bombs (the ones with the big lead eyes). It is made even harder with another trailing nymph and a stiff breeze. They are designed to sink deep and quickly.

All fly fishers know what happens when you stuff up. If you don’t, what happens is you usually end up with a couple of nymphs slamming into the back of your head. You can usually tell when it has happened to someone. All you hear is this swish, swish, followed by *#@!$#%’! NYMPHS!

Anyway, what happened to me was I forgot to wear my hat that day. Bad move! The hat had saved my head many a time before from being seriously injured from weighted nymphs.

At about the time I was attempting my tenth cast of the day when a gust of wind blew up the river on my backcast. I lost total coordination (just totally stuffed up) and resulted in a painful thud on the back of my head as the bomb bounced off.

I thought that was close. Unfortunately, it wasn’t, I had forgotten about the trailing nymph. This decided it would find a home in the back of my neck, Ouch! Man, it hurt, what was I going to do. Pulling it out was a good idea I thought. So I reached around took a good hold off the nymph and ripped it out of the back of my neck. Ouch, Ouch, Ouch, $#@*&”%! Ouch, Ouch!

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That was another one of the stupidest things I have ever done. Oh well least it was out of my neck anyway. It was a good lesson learnt, do not cast when the wind is blowing.

Mental note: always wear a hat when going fly fishing especially when casting weighted nymphs. Weighted nymphs have caused the destruction of many a fine fly rod when they strike the fine diameter top section. This really is crazy dangerous fishing that starts costing serious money as well.

A friend of mine had another similar incident involving a fly. He was fishing with a friend when his friend became a little too carried away with his casting. Put it this way the only thing his mate caught was my friend’s ear lobe. The force of the cast drove the fly right through his ear. No problem apart from the pain the hook was cut by a pair of clippers and removed with ease.

A quick stop into a pharmacy on the way home for an earring and cleaning meths had things all sorted out. He always said he wanted an earring. I couldn’t stop laughing when I heard that one.

Mental note: if you are going to hook yourself or someone else. Do it properly.

Tackle Rigging

One thing that makes me laugh is when it comes to rigging your tackle. I have seen some real shady rigging in my short little life that would make you wonder how they expect to catch anything. Most of the time they hook a fish and end up losing it. If only they spent more time practising their knots then maybe that problem would not occur.

There are times when the best of us still make mistakes. When it comes to rigging tackle quickly it is easy to make mistakes especially when a big fish is hanging around.

Why is it we always seem to miss a weak link in our tackle? Is it because we are not thinking about it or just ignoring it.

You soon realise when that weak point breaks on the fish off a lifetime, Omagh.

Mental note: check your gear regularly.

I have been the culprit on a few occasions. Once I forgot to close the snap swivel when live baiting for marlin. We had a strike on that rig and that was that.

Thinking the fish had taken the bait was obvious. What I didn’t think was the fish would take the bait and the trace as well. Leaving us with just a balloon and snap swivel only. Lucky for me the marlin that grabbed the lot came and took another of our baits closer to the boat which sort of saved me from being thrown over the side.

Birds Nests

I have even “birds nested” a reel when trying to free spool a lure into a marlin’s mouth. The marlin took the lure with such force that it burnt my fingers. Lucky the fish didn’t hook up and I could pull the lure in quickly. That episode was during a pack attack that consisted of a least three marlin. We did catch one in the end that again saved me from swimming home.

Running Out of Fuel

On a bit more of a serious note. What annoys me and others is people who just jump into their boats and go fishing without checking everything on board, especially fuel.

These people not only put themselves at risk but others as well. Not only do they ruin the day’s fishing, but some are not generous enough to thank the person or help cover their costs.

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I am not getting at any of you that just happen to break down due to natural causes. These things happen from time to time. Also do not forget your safety equipment.

Sharks and Crazy Dangerous Fishing

Shark fishing is another thing people take a little light sometimes. Remember sharks are one of the major ocean predators. Most species fear sharks. I am not afraid of sharks but still stay well clear of their domain. Yeah, yeah call me a wimp, but if you have seen some of the sharks I have seen then you too will probably only swim in freshwater from now on.

Even out of the water sharks are still dangerous, especially makos. Never think a shark is dead. Always treat it as if it were still alive.

On one trip we caught a 120kg mako that was towed behind the boat for an hour to drown it. It looked dead when we placed it on the back of the boat. Two hours later it went berserk.

The same shark was then cut in two, ready to prepare for smoking. One of the guys on the boat was going to pull the hook out when I told him to wait. I pulled out the wooden bat and put it into the mouth of the mako.

The mako then proceeded to bite the bat ten times leaving some very deep grooves in it. Those bites may have been just nerves but imagine if it was your hand pulling the hook out. So a warning to everyone even if it’s small, respect a shark at all times.

Marlin Hunting and Crazy Dangerous Fishing

Marlin fishing is a crazy sport. Think about all the thousands of dollars we spend each year trying to catch at least one marlin. You have to be crazy to fish for them.

They can be very dangerous fish to deal with at times. They have this nasty pointed thing on the end of their heads that they use for hunting prey.

A marlin’s bill has found its way into many an object. None more common than a boat during the final stages of capture. A marlin will tend to charge or leap at the boat in its last attempt for freedom.

This is when they can impale their bill straight through the hull. A lot of the top skippers around the country have had at least one encounter.

Rod Shearman, skipper of Pasador has had a nasty encounter with a marlin. The marlin was one he had caught himself. It didn’t like being hooked. Once at the boat the marlin decided it would leap out of the water and straight through the open transom door.

Unfortunately, Rod happened to be standing right in its path. Thud straight into Rod’s calf the bill went and down went Rod. The marlin managed to slip back into the water. The surprising thing was it was still on the line. Rod had no hesitation in calling for the gaff and soon had a nice striped marlin lying in the cockpit. The wound he received was rather deep and long, that had to be operated on.

Marlin is a very strong fish and deserves to be respected. I know I certainly would not be able to pull hundreds of metres of the line from an 80-pound (37kg) outfit like they can.

One year I was fishing aboard the charter boat Crow’s Nest. We managed to hook into a very lively marlin. The fish fought hard for an hour on the 50-pound (24kg) tackle we were using. Once the fish was at the boat I was able to trace it easily to the boat where the tag was placed in its shoulder.

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Once the tag was placed I grabbed the bill to take the hooks out. That was when the marlin changed from a placid creature and into a right maniac.

The marlin proceeded to thrash its head wildly and it took three of us to hold him and remove the hooks. All we wanted to do was take the hooks out and let him go.

In the end, we ended up with one happy fish and three sore bodies. All three of us had badly bruised arms and swollen hands where they had come in contact with the boat. Sometimes crazy dangerous fishing happens when you least expect it.

Tracing Marlin and other Big Fish Dangers

Tracing big fish is something I am very familiar with. I am a deckhand on a charter boat and my job depends on being able to handle large fish.

Now before I go on I will say just one thing. If you have never traced a big fish before and are a little unsure about it then let someone who has traced a big fish before, teach you how to do it as it is very dangerous!

Always start with small fish first. Do not rush into a big fish as you are asking for trouble. Besides with smaller fish, it gives you more room for error and lets you practice and refine your technique.

Remember anyone can trace big fish no matter how strong they are but strength plays only a small part in it. Even if you are an experienced trace person there are times when a fish can catch you off guard. All that is needed is for the boat to lurch in the swell and the fish to pull at the same time and over you go. That’s if you are not quick enough to react.

I almost ended up in the tide one year but luckily I managed to dump the wraps around my hand before I did.

One particular deckhand from Cairns, Australia was pulled out of the cockpit by a medium-sized black marlin. He must not have been able to clear himself as he has never been seen since. This has not only happened once in the world. Luckily most of the incidents have not been fatal.

On a bit of a lighter note, things that make me laugh are sometimes simple. Things like the following. Forgetting your bait and not realising till you are out 10 miles from port.

Even worse is forgetting your fishing gear. Dropping the knife overboard or even worse the whole bait board.

Forgetting to put hooks on your lure or even worse not clipping it onto the swivel before putting it out. Ouch, that would become a bit hard on the back pocket.

Filling your water tanks up with diesel or the opposite water in the diesel.

Even not in the tanks at all but the bilge instead.

These are just some of the things to look out for when fishing or enjoying the water. There are plenty more stories to tell but I will leave them to another time.

I have to go and check with the victims, I mean friends that told me these stories before I can write them. In the meantime lookout for all the crazy fisher folk out there.

Take a look at this video of crazy dangerous fishing for marlin including a deckie hit on the head with a chair!

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>