A Big Marlin – GFAPNG 2009 Titles

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Yesterday was dramatically different from the day before at the 2009 GFAPNG Titles here in Madang. There were two large Black Marlins at the weigh-in.

We’ll start with a happy little guy who caught a tasty Yellowfin Tuna nearly as big as himself:

A happy little kid who caught a Yellowfin Tuna nearly as big as himself
He seemed a bit put off by all the attention. His smile looks a little forced. It is great fun for me to see these little kids come in with very respectable fish. When I fished as a child with my Grandfather, we called it a big fish if you had to cut it up to fit it in a skillet.

So, you’re not satisfied. You want a bigger fish. Okay, how about this 100 kilo Black Marlin:

So, you want a bigger fish. How about a 100kg Marlin?
The angler, on the right, was so overcome with joy that it was comical.

If you’re going to be difficult and hard to please, then I’m prepared. I can’t imagine what it must be like to have a fish this big on the other end of the line:

The biggest fish of the day - a 134kg Black Marlin
That is 134 kilos of Black Marlin.

That seems like a huge fish to me. The truth is that it is nowhere near the biggest Black Marlin ever caught. The world record dates back to 1953 when Alfred Glassell caught a monster weighing 708 kilos off Cabo Blanco, Peru. Here is a photo of that fish:

Alfred Glassell and his long-standing world record Black Marlin (1,560 lbs.) caught off Cabo Blanco, Peru in 1953
It is amazing to me that nobody — and there have been plenty of anglers spending probably hundreds of millions of dollars trying — has been able to beat a 56 year old record. The scary thing that one has to ask is:  have all the Black Marlin this size already been captured? Are fishermen simply whittling away on the smaller ones until there are no elders left? Since I know virtually nothing about the subject, I’ll hope we get comments from someone who knows.

I leave you with this sobering and poignant image:
The eye of a 100kg Black MarlinIf I ever saw an accusing eye . . .

UPDATE:  Weirdness attacks again! When I was doing a final read-throgh of this post and came to the end, I sat for a few moments staring at the eye of the Marlin. Since I spend about as much time under the water with my fishy friends as I do above the water with my mammal friends, this is a powerfully emotional image for me. If you love pachyderms, think of staring into the dead eye of an elephant. As I sat and stared the eye started to move!  i’ve seen optical illusions similar to this before. Please, if anybody else notices this (you have to keep staring for a couple of minutes), leave a comment.

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8 Responses to “A Big Marlin – GFAPNG 2009 Titles”

  1. John Belton Says:

    I sincerely hope that all of the fish caught were actually eaten. If not, then the GFAPNG should introduce catch and release competitions like most of the ones in Australia are these days. Killing fish just for a competition doesn’t sit well me me any more.

  2. MadDog Says:

    Not a fish is wasted, John. I cast a jaundiced eye toward some fishing practices also, but these fellows are doing it the right way. I don’t know what the percentage is, but listening on the VHF radio reveals one after another report of fish that were tagged, released, and reported in for points. When I took two fishermen out on charter for two days, I was given a handful of tag cards and the little numbered tags that you stick in the fish. We caught nothing.

    All of the fish that are brought back to Madang are immediately moved to a big freezer container. These fish will be given to the Madang General Hospital (I think – or some other institution or charity). As far as I can determine, not a single fish out of (guessing here from the catch numbers that I heard yesterday) about 500 fish caught during the Titles will be wasted.

    A few fish will die after release from injuries sustained during capture. As near as I can see, that is the only “waste”. The truth is that most fish suffer far worse from predation by the fishy kin than they do from game fishing, IF IT IS DONE RIGHT.

    Thanks for the comment, John

  3. Jessica Sweeney Says:

    Brilliant writing. You have gained a new devotee. Please keep up the good posts and I look forward to more of your intriguing writings.

  4. MadDog Says:

    Praise overload. Excuse me while I reboot my brain.

    Thanks, Jessica

  5. danasy Says:

    I just saw a docementary about Cabo Blanco and the fishing habits, that is how I found your article. I have seen videos on youtube from Fishermen who fished for marlins for Sport as they said(I really dislike such stuff). But I never knew, there had been such big individuals. It is a very good example for what we do to our world. The big and strong individuals are caught by us humans and the weaker/smaller ones survive… Darwin would bang his head against a wall!
    I liked a lot that you posted a picture of the eye at the end of your writing. It touched me and because of this I’m writing this. So I really liked your article;)
    Greetings from Germany
    danasy

  6. MadDog Says:

    Danasy, thanks for your comment and your complements. It is sad that the fittest of the hunted are those usually killed. This is true no matter the species. It does reduce the frequency in the gene pool of exceptionally fit individuals.

  7. Valrie Kettering Says:

    Thanks for this post, I am a big big fan of this site would like to go along updated.

  8. MadDog Says:

    Thanks, Valerie.