Grander No. Five

A big-fish angler on a mission

Heiko Steinmetz with grander blue marlin
Angler Heiko Steinmetz with grander No. 5—a 1,177-pound Cape Verde blue marlin—on the deck of his 29-foot Parker.Courtesy Heiko Steinmetz

On July 15, 2018, German-born angler Heiko Steinmetz shocked the big-game world with his fourth grander blue marlin—a 146-inch 1,037-pounder—captured on a green-and-black Black Bart Puerto Rico Prowler lure. His next grander blue rolled up chasing a teaser behind his 29-foot Parker, Black Marlin, less than a year later. Fighting giant blues from a small boat in the big seas of Cape Verde is no picnic; combined with the fact that Steinmetz usually fishes with limited crew, it makes his stories even more incredible. We believe he's the only angler to weigh five Atlantic blue marlin over 1,000 pounds.

Around noon on June 28, 2019, I suddenly spotted a huge tail behind my Black Bart Grander Candy that we had out as a teaser. I reeled it in as fast as I could, and the very aggressive fish followed the lure until it was completely out of the water. A second after I threw my tuna overboard, the marlin came from behind and opened her enormous mouth, inhaling the pitch bait. She turned and started ripping off line. As soon as I set the hook, she immediately started a series of spectacular jumps; it was then we were able to see how big this fish really was.

Once she was within 200 yards of us, we started to back up to the fish, slowly and steadily gaining line. And then she went straight down. After about 45 minutes, she started to come to the surface, and a few minutes later, my mate grabbed the leader for the first time. But there was no chance he could hold on. The fish was still green, and had a lot of fight left.

It was starting to get rough as the marlin dragged us towards the open ocean, and we could see very high waves in the direction she was headed. I was thinking to myself: ‘Oh my God, what can I do now?’ Without another option, I tried stopping her with full drag, but it was impossible. I had to back off the drag pressure because the waves were breaking in the boat and making it hard to breathe. For a split second, I thought I would have to give up.

At this point, there was no doubt in my mind that I had a grander on, and the desire to get that fish in dominated all my fear. As soon as we turned on the bilge pumps, I told my captain, Dika Cosme, to let me know if this battle was getting too dangerous for the boat.

The marlin was still 200 yards away but on the surface, and I closed my eyes as the salt water pounded me in the face. It was the longest hour of my life but the adrenaline kept me from feeling the numbing cold water.

After nearly two hours and 8 miles offshore of where we initially hooked up, the fish gave up and died on the surface; no flying gaff was needed.

When we finally got the marlin in the boat, we jumped up and down, hugging each other like little kids like we always do, knowing that we had done it again—adding the fifth magic star to our grander blue marlin efforts.

Back on the scales, the fish weighed 1,177 pounds. It’s unbelievable to know that we caught the first Atlantic grander of the year again, just like last year.

Learn more about the fishing off Cape Verde.

We also have weighed the last three 1,000-pounders captured in Cape Verde.

This may cause some controversy, but no matter what your feelings are about taking big fish, the accomplishment wasn’t wasted; we donated this monster blue—just like all the others—to the local hospital and schools.

—By Heiko Steinmetz, as told to Capt. Jen Copeland