The two-day overnighter aboard Gary Carter’s G&S Silver-Rod-O 100 miles off Costa Rica was unlike anything I could have imagined. Every 20 to 30 minutes, Capt. Yoan would scream out as the shadows of an electrified billfish entered the spread. It seemed we spent more hours in reverse than forward and raised 40 blues, releasing 21 in the 150- to 300-pound range. Several times we had two fish in the spread, and at one point even had three fish raised. Never had I seen a fish’s pectoral fins charged with intense light, glowing with piercing shades of blue and purple. It was a fishing photographer’s dream, and I just needed to keep my balance while we screamed in reverse across the Pacific.
Carter’s unconventional strategy for battling these giant blue marlin uses tackle lighter than what most anglers use for largemouth bass. “With big fish and light line, you have to change things up and try to confuse the fish, and hopefully force them to make a mistake,” says Carter. And every once in a while it works — evident by the six light-line billfish world records to his name. Fighting a stubborn blue holding some 200 feet below the boat, Carter put his Tyrnos 30 in free‑spool, turned and said, “Watch this, the fish will come up to the top.” And that’s exactly what happened. The feisty blue marlin came to the top as the leader pierced the surface within a hand’s reach for a quick release.