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May 16, 2013

Schoolboys Catch Big Blue on Day Off


On March 13, 2013 we didn’t have school here in Mauritius, so my brother and I decided to go out to check out a local FAD for some tuna. My brother Loïc Serret, was the captain, with myself and my four 16-year-old friends as crew.

We got a late afternoon start and turned our Saloma II, a 23-foot Legend Open, away from the dock at 3 p.m. On our way to the FAD, my brother told us that he was sure that a big blue would come up behind our boat looking for bonitos. He'd caught a 402-pounder during the same time the year before.

We trolled a set of lures out to the FAD and got there around 4 p.m. without seeing anything. We arrived on the FAD and found that there was only one other boat and it was another small boat like ours. We rapidly caught three tunas and four bonitos.

At 6 p.m. we were about to leave the FAD and head back home when we saw a large bunch of bonitos start heading under our boat. We didn’t understand what was happening but my brother suddenly shouted, “Look! Look at that big blue!”

When I reached the back of the boat and saw the fish I didn’t knew what to do! After a few seconds I said, “Loic, take out a leader and let’s give him a bonito!”

Loic hesitated because we didn’t have much experience on the boat. He thought the fish was too big and that we should call our friends on the other boat so they could come and catch it. I said, “Come On! You will let them catch this big fish?! Look at this fish. Let’s throw him a bait!”

He finally relented and said, “Ok! Take out a the leader and a bonito!” It took us about 5 minutes to manage to set up the leader and rig the bait, but the big blue circled the boat the entire time. After we had put the hook on the bonito and attached the leader to the 80 Tiagra, Loic asked us who wanted to get in the fighting chair. My friend Guillaume De Ravel shouted “Me!” and hopped into the chair. At this moment the bonito was in my hand and the 80 was in the rod holder with my brother ready to let the line out. I asked him if he was ready and he just said. “Go!” and I threw the bonito about 6 feet behind the boat. The huge blue turned suddenly and the bonito disappeared! Five seconds later the blue raised its head out of the water and started shaking it’s head trying to get loose!

We pushed up drag and started to move the boat, but just as we began to move, the 80 started screaming and the fish began jumping towards the boat! The fish never stopped running and after two minutes the fish had 800-feet of line out. During the first 15 minutes of the fight, Guillaume wasn’t able to get back any line, and the fish started to go deeper and deeper.

Since we knew this was a really big fish, we called two friends of ours who were fishing on the boat next to us, and they came on our boat to help.

By now we had realized that the fish had started to die in the deep with over 900-feet of line out. It seemed impossible for Guillaume to bring in this fish alone, since there was too much pressure on the line and the sun had set. Two of us started to pull the line in by hand, while Guillaume worked the reel.

After an hour pulling, we finally saw the big blue floating, and only then we did realize how big it was. When we finished boating the fish I saw the hook imbedded near its tail, and realized that we were really lucky to get that fish aboard. We started back to the club and reached the dock well past 9:00 pm with 3 bonito, 3 tunas and a 535-pound blue -- the biggest marlin ever caught aboard Saloma II.