Light-tackle angling aficionado Gary Carter has spent decades chasing (and setting) world records around the globe with his wife, Sherrell. For the past few seasons, they have relocated their 45-foot G&S, Silver-Rod-O, to Madeira, Portugal, in search of big Atlantic blue marlin.
“This was the last day of our trip,” Carter says. “Fishing had been really slow for us. We had only raised one marlin in nine days. We were starting to get stuff organized on the boat, getting ready to come home.” Proving that persistence pays off, at 4:20 p.m. the team raised an oversize blue marlin, prompting Capt. Yoan Alcala to call for the 20-pound-class gear. “I had been fishing for the 12-pound-test record for 10 years, and had several close ones, but we knew this fish could be a contender for the 20-pound-class record, which is currently 714 pounds,” Carter says. “This was by far the largest fish we had seen in 35 days of fishing in Madeira this summer.”
With a spread of four teasers — two from the bridge and two more on long, guideless rods controlled from the cockpit — the big blue was brought into range, where Carter pitched a hook bait. “I like using squid,” he says. “The fish don’t T-bone it as much as a mackerel or other bait that they can catch but not swallow right away.”
Fortune continued to smile on the Silver-Rod-O team as the fish greyhounded on the surface, putting on an amazing aerial display, never sounding or pulling more than a few hundred yards of monofilament off the reel. But, as required with line classes less than 30-pound-test, wireman Andy Dow only had 15 feet of heavy leader to work with. Dow’s experience on the leader shone as he led the fish to gaff for Yefry Garcia. Brad Batterton applied the second gaff, and the fish was brought aboard after a fight time of just over 70 minutes.
“Fishing for world records like this is really all about the team,” Carter says. “The angler is just one part. Yoan Alcala is Venezuelan; he celebrated his 20th year as our captain in September. Andy Dow is from Cairns, Australia; Yefry Garcia is Guatemalan; and Brad Batterton is from New Zealand, but we all work very well together. And this is the end result.”
At the scales, the team’s blue marlin weighed 807 pounds. If approved by the IGFA, it will eclipse the previous men’s 20-pound-test record — landed by Stewart Campbell off the Ivory Coast of Africa in 1990 — by nearly 100 pounds.