Small-Fry Blue Marlin World Record

A ten-year-old's catch is a new pending IGFA record from Cape Verde

A large blue marlin breaks the surface of the ocean.
Cape Verde is well-known for its world-class blue marlin fishing. Jessica Haydahl Richardson

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Florida’s David family keeps producing one professional fisherman after another, and it’s no surprise that the youngest would follow in the footsteps of his ­elder siblings. But Christopher Marlin David isn’t doing anything out of the ordinary when you consider his family’s background. Fishing is in his blood, and if there’s anything we gather from fishermen, it’s the full-on capability to be eaten up with it. Call it addiction, obsession or just plain dependence, but you can’t escape its hold, even when you’re 10 years old.

I can personally attest to Chris’ ­mania because you can’t go kite-fishing for sails without him working the rod all day, running around the cockpit like a crazy person with his spinning reel. He’s a little producer, no doubt, and very much appreciated for his good-humored tenacity and hard work. And unlike most kids his age, patience is one of his virtues.

David family vacations always include a billfish-rich destination such as Kona, Hawaii, but this summer, the islands of Cape Verde off the coast of Senegal were on the list. Eldest son James had returned to Cape Verde to fish with Capt. Zak Conde on his charter boat, Amelia, and the season was winding down, so Conde was able to accommodate the Davids a month before the World Cup tournament. The trip would be twofold: to see James and to catch Chris a big one.

Watch: We show you how to rig one of the best baits for blue marlin: the swimming mackerel.

Traveling internationally with a 10-year-old in tow can’t be easy, but the family made it with no problem and immediately jumped on board Amelia in the port of Mindelo. However, in true Cape Verde fashion, a dry spell had the fishing all but shut down, and it was rough. For days the family hopped from island to island trying to find the conditions that would warrant some good marlin fishing, but only a few fish were caught, one being a 350-pound blue on 50-pound-test that the youngest David caught on a pitch bait, completely unassisted, of course.

On June 30, the last day of their trip, Amelia and the Davids were off the tip of Santo Antão, and they hadn’t seen a fish yet. Around 1:45 p.m., a big blue marlin rolled on the left long—a large Moyes Pipe Bomb. James yelled, “Big fish!” as the line came out of the clip and began to slowly creep off the Shimano Tiagra 80 Wide. Chris took the rod to the chair and buckled himself into the harness, but the fish acted like it was in shock, slowly swimming up-sea.

“She just laid there,” Chris said, “like she wasn’t even hooked.” And then, the fish jumped 8 feet out of the water. “I thought she was going to jump off,” he continued, “but the lure didn’t fly back at us, so I reeled as fast as I could, and the line came tight.” Conde eased Amelia after the fish. Within minutes, the double line was out of the water, but then the fish woke up.

A young kid posing next to a large blue marlin.
Christopher Marlin David’s 605-pound Atlantic blue marlin is currently under review at the IGFA for the male smallfry all-tackle world record. Courtesy The David Family

Twice Conde had to turn to chase the fish, which was racing away on the surface, but “Zak was able to keep us close throughout the majority of the fight,” Chris’ father, Jimmy, said. “And after about 40 minutes, Chris was able to start pumping the fish up until his older brother, James, was able to grab the leader.”

And once James had hold of the ­leader, he didn’t let go—it was the fish they were looking for. As James led the fish up the port side, second mate Travis Morrison sank the first gaff, immediately followed by Chris’ older sister, Laurel, with the second. With the fish secured boatside, Conde came down to help slide the fish through the door, then immediately set a course for Mindelo.

Read Next: Learn more about Cape Verde’s world-class blue marlin fishing.

At the dock, the potential Atlantic blue marlin smallfry record fish weighed 605 pounds on an IGFA-certified scale. It was measured, photographed and photographed again, and the terminal tackle was secured for IGFA submission.

The family’s mission was ­complete, even if it was at the last minute. And the record? It is currently being reviewed at IGFA headquarters. If approved, Christopher Marlin David will have beat out the current male ­smallfry (ages 10 and under) Atlantic blue ­marlin all-­tackle record by 109 pounds. Congratulations, Chris. We’ll be standing by to cover your next one.

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