Captain, innovator, angler, sportsman and friend: those titles and more are fully befitting Bart Miller, who passed away on March 6, 2018. He rose to prominence in the 1970s and 80s as one of sport-fishing’s top captains, fishing out of Kona, Hawaii, and chasing the world’s largest blue marlin with a fiery passion. When he scaled a 1,656-pound blue in 1984 aboard his beloved Merritt, Black Bart, the worldwide fishing community took notice and his popularity soared. Even then, he wanted something larger—his hunt for the elusive tonner, a marlin weighing over 2,000 pounds, became one of the greatest challenges in big-game fishing.
Miller also crafted a line of what became some of the world’s most popular fishing lures. Black Barts are found in nearly every lure spread for the simple reason that they work incredibly well.
But it was more than just fishing. Bart Miller loved the people in the sport more than anything else. The catching part was a distant second to the close friends he made in ports from Kona to Cairns and beyond. A fierce battle with Parkinson’s disease cost him dearly over the last decade of his life, but he never complained and never, ever quit fighting. While Miller’s death is felt deeply around the world, we may all take comfort in the wonderful legacy that he has left behind for future generations to enjoy.
Rest easy, Bart, we have the helm.—Sam White.
Read about Bart Miller’s role in the blue marlin fishing in Hawaii here. Black Bart lures are also named among Marlin’s 10 best. And Miller was also listed among the top 100 most influential people in billfishing.