Sport Fishing Islamorada Fishing Charters Florida Keys with Captain Rick Killgore
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June 25th, 2013:
Yeah Buddy! We catch a 425 lbs. BLUE MARLIN on #30 test "Stand-Up Rod"
(All my trolling rods are set up to catch blue marlin, when we are fishing for dolphin fish (Mahi Mahi), tuna, wahoo, sailfish, white marlin, and blue marlin while trolling offshore.)
Last week on 6/25/13 we fought this 425 lbs. BLUE MARLIN for 3.5 hours and it was an epic battle, one of the best blue marlins I've every matched up against out of the 106 Atlantic Blue Marlin I've guided clients to as a captain, mate, and even catching 6 personally as angler since 1978. It is the 114th big marlin I've caught including Pacific Blue Marlin, Black Marlin, and one 200 lbs. Stripe Marlin.
They did not expect a"trip of a lifetime", but "just wanted to catch some fish" according to Eddy Perez fishing with his 14 year old son, Vinny, from Lowell IN when they booked their first private charter fishing trip with me. After 2 disappointing trips on "head boats" (boats with many anglers) over the last four years because they got pushed out of the better spots of those boats, they decided to book my boat for themselves for a better chance to catch fish. It was a slow day as far as finding keeper size dolphin fish (Mahi Mahi). Each school we found were under the size limit, so we'd move to the next school of dolphin. There were loads of bonita, or actually skip jack tuna from 500' out to 20 miles offshore. We finally caught a small keeper dolphin, but it was part of a small school traveling to the East and the birds lost them after the we missed a couple other dolphin. We turned around and continued trolling down sea. Just as I described how I go about trolling offshore for dolphin and marlin.
At around 12:30 pm I saw theBlue Marlin "crash" the right rigger lure. It came out of the prop wash from below, smashing the lure sideways making a huge explosion. "Huge fish!" I screamed. I saw the side of the fish as it hit the bait, but I never saw its head, bill or tail. In 2 seconds and 120 yards out the big Blue Marlin jumped completely out of the water, showing its big head and beefy side. "That's got to be 350 - 400 pounds!" I blurted out. The rest of it was covered in white water from it's tail kicking. Both Eddy and Vinny saw the fish and were shocked. I gave the rod to Eddy, "keep the line tight - no slack!" I yelled. "Vinny reel in those lures!" I screamed and pointed to the rods as I reeled in my side of rods and kept the boat in forward. I had to punch the boat forward a couple times to help Eddy keep a tight line as the Blue Marlin changed direction. By the time Vinny and I cleared the deck the blue was deep in the Micron backing, 450 - 500 yards out and down sea. I started backing down on it with Eddy sitting on the bait well. I wanted to keep the stern to it in case I had to punch it forward if the Blue Marlin charged the boat, and that was exactly what I had to do a few times. That is common at first hook up, and it is tough for a novice offshore angler to reel extremely fast and for a duration of time. Eddy did great for his first time with heavier tackle on a big Blue Marlin, his fish of a lifetime. When your adrenalin is pumping and your heart is pounding, things are not going to go smoothly - but Eddy did great! The fish settled down, so I moved Eddy to the front of the boat fighting the fish off my strapped down cooler, which is a great fighting chair. This is the best place to fight a fish from in a center console boat. There is no obstruction from the engine, the boat maneuvers easily port to starboard, and you can chase down a fish faster loosing less line. But if the Blue Marlin charges the boat, you got limited reverse speed. If it charges the boat hard, you got turn the boat to run away from it which is a tricky maneuver and a good chance at creating slack. Eddy fought the Blue Marlin for 45 minutes until he was whopped. He insisted on giving it to me, so we traded spots.
Remember the "Epic Battle" I said. As I took over I started to increase the drag as I got closer to the fish (using a "lever drag reel," I explain at the end). In about 30 minutes of fighting the fish I touched the leader with the rod tip for the official release, then 2 minutes later I got the wind on leader deep into the reel. I grabbed onto it momentarily with my hand as the fish passed the bow heading the other way putting a lot more pressure on the Blue Marlin, but with its tail at me I knew I had to let go (that I'll explain later too, because I have leadered over 80 Blue Marlin). The fish took off on it's second big run, another 400 - 500 yard. I backed the drag off to "strike" again and even less as it continued out. When the Blue Marlin slowed again, I put the drag up to "strike" then "full drag" once again. I fought the Blue Marlin back to about the last 100 yards of line which is a bright yellow mono "top shot" of 250 yards. Suddenly the Blue Marlin took a hard right smoking it down sea, pulling the line through the water at a right angle and hissing as it went by. I backed the drag off again. It took its third 400 - 500 yard run down sea, and I got Eddy to chase it quite fast almost on plane, so it could have actually made a 600 plus yard run because it was well into the 600 yards of backing. That reel holds 800 - 900 yards of line, depending how much top shot of mono I have on it due to cutting it back as line gets used. I fought it back to the first half of the top shot, and I had been fighting it for over an hour now.
I asked Eddy if he's feeling better, and he was. So we traded spots and he fought the Blue Marlin for 20 minutes. During that time the fish made another 500 yard (4th big run), not as fast as the other runs but a good pace. When it settled down and Eddy started recovering line, it was also taking line. Eddy started to struggle once again, it was rougher and the rod would come out of the fighting belt occasionally. I went up to check on him and the spool had maybe 150 yards of line left - oh crap! We traded spots again, and I put it up to "full drag" to start recovering line. The fish charged the boat again. Reeling fast as I could, I got Eddy to put it in fast reverse, almost hard reverse but not cavitating.
I fought the Blue Marlin for another 1:15 hours (over 3.5 hours total) before I finally got it up to the leader, where I grabbed the leader 3 times. The first two times I had to let go of the fish and fight it a little more. The second time the leader got into the prop. I saw it was going to happen before it did, so I got Eddy to put it in neutral. When it got into the prop, I let go of the leader and grabbed the rod out of the rod holder and used the rod to get it out of the prop - that was scary! The third time I wired the Blue Marlin its head was down, and its pectoral fins were out and still lit blue: a powerful posture. I decided to go ahead and leader the fish up to the surface, but as it came up its head got under the boat. I tried to pull its head out from under the boat, but it just pulled harder and instead went down. I had to let go. I really wanted to get that fish up to the boat not just for photos, but to measure the fork length and girth to get a more accurate estimate of its size.
Now a very large and active lightning storm was closing in on us and it was less than 5 miles away. When the Blue Marlin eased off this time, I not only had it on "full drag" but I started to turn the preset drag knob to increase the "full drag" much more. I turned it maybe 1 to 2 full turns, until the line was really cracking when it took line and the rod was at a severe bend more than I had ever put on a fish with this rod. I fought it another 10 minutes and noticed it had gotten tail wrapped as it past the boat a couple times. I had extreme pressure on the fish and the lightning was popping every 20 seconds out in the distance. The storm filled the whole horizon to the SE. The next little power run the Blue Marlin took, I stood firm on that "new full drag setting" and the knot finally failed. Damn, but it had to be done. When I measured the drag setting at the dock it was 18 - 20 lbs. drag at full drag, way more than should be set for #30 test.
Thank God Vinny got that video.The shots under the water as it was going down shows the full fish and a perspective of the size. Vinny also got two good videos while I was fighting the fish. First one while I was recovering line after one of the runs I did a little narration of what we had been through up till that point. The next one is when I take over the second time and the spool is very low with line, then the fish charges the boat and I have to reel very fast and Eddy has to put the boat in fast reverse. I hope to finally learn how to edit my videos on my camera so I can post new videos this year.
GRABBING THE LEADER: If I was in the cockpit of one of the boats I worked on in St. Thomas, I would have taken a double wrap on the leader with heavy gloves and dug my knees in under the covering board to stop that Blue Marlin, then launch him sky high and flip them backwards. That's what Blue Marlin do when they are still green and heading away from you when you grab the leader and stop them from going forward. That is what we lived for as mates. One memorable 525 lbs. Blue Marlin I leadered on the "Fish Hunter" with Capt. Casey Shea did just that. I got three jumps out of him before I broke #15 wire on it. First jump was straight up and down, second jump I flipped it backwards, so the fish turned around with the slack and made a greyhound jump away from the boat in full force. I was ready: locked in under the gunwale with my knees, double wrapped with one hand and the other hand in front supporting it with hardest grip I got, close to the covering board if not on it, and my elbows cocked back tight to my sides - text book form! As that fish came tight at full force jumping away from me the #15 wire popped.
WORKING LEVER DRAG REELS:Using the the lever drag appropriately like I was during the whole fight is one of the great advantages to "Conventional Lever Drag Reels" over star drag reels and spinning reels. All serious big game reel makers use this system. Initially you set the drag so that when the lever is up against the "strike button," which is about 2/3 up to "full drag," you have your conservative fighting drag which is set at 20% - 25% of the line's breaking strength. That is around 6 - 8 pounds of drag for #30 test. The "full drag" can be different on many different reel makers. My reel is around 10 - 12 pounds of drag, perfect, I do not want more than 50%. If you want more drag you can thumb the spool when pulling up on the fish. When the fish first hits, the drag is set at "strike." If the fish runs a lot of line out like 300 plus yards, you should start to back off on the drag, because the drag is increasing as more line comes off the reel. First, the diameter of the spool of remaining line is smaller (say 1/3 smaller), and it takes more force to pull that line off. A simple fulcrum principle. Second, the more line in the water that the fish is pulling increases the water resistance on the fish's side of the line, which we call "water drag." Third, and even worse, is if the fish makes a turn and a run creating a belly in that line, that is even more "water drag" on the fish's side of the mono. As these factors compound the drag at the fish, it is imperative to back the drag off so the fish does not break off. The drag could be 1/2 of even 1/4 to "strike." When the fish stops running, you can put it back up to "strike" to gain line easier. As you get closer to the fish, say within 300 - 400 yards of line, you can start to increase the drag past "strike." As you get closer you can push it up to full drag, especially if it is dogging you. But as soon as it takes off on a run you should start to back off the drag. That all depends on how fast the run is and how much line is out. So with all this changing of drag settings the one critical advantage is that you always know what "strike drag" is and what "full drag" is. With the star drag and spinning drag you do not know actually know where you are in the setting once you start moving it around. Those lever drag settings are not an absolute though. The drag can start to tighten up after a couple successive hard runs and fast line gains, overheating of the drag system. A fatigued angler might not notice the change, that is why it is important to remember the bend of the rod with your typical settings. The rod is like a dial on a gauge. If it is bending more, the drag has tightened. Inversely, the drag can also loosen by wearing down the drag material. The drag works as a drag washer is being clamped between two drag plates. The spool on one side, then drag washer, then drag plate on the other, and the lever is attached to an "eccentric cam" clamping the two plates gradually, increasing or decreasing the drag . If the washer wears down, there is less clamping force. This is unusual but it can happen. Also, most drag washers are used dry with no grease, so if water or grease gets on the drag it will start to stick and slip, just like when your car brakes get wet they slip and take a lot of pedal force to slow down then they can stick making one hydroplane. A bucking rod tip when the fish is taking line indicates that problem. If it's water it might burn off in a long fight, if it's grease you got to clean the washer and plates. Either way you should service it, because saltwater may have gotten in there.
Blue Marlin Fishing in St. Thomas
This is a "back cast" to the past, to St. Thomas U.S.V.I. where I released the vast majority of 114 blue marlin and black marlin, but the last two blue marlin were caught right here in Islamorada. Of these 114 big marlin, 7 were black marlin down in Costa Rica. (I must make the distinction of big marlin for heavy tackle fishing. White marlin, hatchet marlin, or spearfish are great sport fish for light tackle, but not the same as big marlin on heavy tackle which is #50 test and bigger.)
The relevance is that I'm accomplished in blue marlin fishing, in technique and tackle. When we hook one up here in Islamorada, we have a very good chance at landing it. My percentages then were around 70% which is good for having a mixed spread of natural bait and lures. I have also taken marlin on live bait too.
Islamorada is not like St Thomas for blue marlin, but you can catch one at any time while dolphin fishing offshore and a number of blues are caught here every year. I think more blues would be caught if more guys strictly fished for them. Many times a blue will eat a small rod for dolphin (#20 or #30 test) and the odds at catching it are low and we hear it almost often. If I am trolling, I like to have all #50 test rods out. If I see dolphin under birds, we grab the spinners with pitch baits.
Oh crap! I got a tag stick in my hand and this giant blue marlin (est. 900 lbs.) jumps up within 4 min. of hook-up.
We saw a small blue marlin in the baits, which disappeared right before this fish hit. Capt. Flash Clark thought it was the small fish, backed down quick, and called out for the tag.
After this photo, the blue marlin jumped completely out of water right under the rigger - making a mental picture of it broadside that I will never forget! It then charged off, "grey hounding" across the water, burning off +300 yards of line. Four hours later and over 20 times on the leader, but just out of reach with the gaffs - the line finally broke!
Absolutely the largest blue marline I've ever seen, and we caught one three years later at least 850 lbs. (photos farther below). Capt. Flash Clark called the blue marlin at least 900 lbs., and he had caught a dozen granders and 30 black marlin over 800 lbs. in Cairns.
That is a "reverse wrap" I'm making on the left. A superior way to wire big fish taught to me by Capt. Flash Clark.
Some nice shots of me wiring some average size blue marlin, 250 lbs. to 350 lbs.
That blue marlin is "grey hounding" across the transom - with me still on the flying gaff !
One of the greatest blue marlin I gaffed:
313 lbs. on #16 lbs. test caught in about 12 minutes (just 15 lbs. from the record)
on the French Look by John Paul Richard and famed Capt. Laurie Wright of Australia.
Capt. Laurie paid me a great complement once we got that fish in the boat. He looked me in the eye, shook my hand, and said, "that's the best gaff job I've ever seen!" That was a hell of a complement, coming from one of Australia's famed captains at that time and still today.
As we backed down on it, Tony DiGilium grabs the leader.
Then the blue marlin dives under the boat, and jumps vertically straight up off the port side to our right! I dash behind Tony, switch hands, and nail that blue marlin with the flying gaff in mid-air!!! I hit that fish on the belly side, not the best but that's how it was coming down - belly up, back down. (It's very important to gaff every fish on your first opportunity.)
The blue marlin then greyhounds across the back of the boat from the port side to the starboard with me on the gaff and Tony still on the leader (1st photo). Once it pinned me in the corner, I released the flying gaff's pole. It greyhounds out to the end of the rope, turns and charges back to the boat. We gaff it again, and Capt. Laurie takes the "Louisville Slugger" to it! Take notice that even though it was gaffed on the belly side, the gaff hook went around the back bone and as it sunk in the shank of the gaff cut into the belly.
That last year in St. Thomas, I was quite known by the captains and crews so I freelanced as a "gaff man," kind of like a "hired gun."
A little controversial even then, but still less than 4% of blue marlin were killed in St. Thomas, which held true for my numbers too. But for all you purists out there, there is definitely a difference from a released fish and a fish in the boat, which takes a skilled crew to do it.
This was the largest blue marlin I have gaffed, and it was not even hooked. Again, gaff it on your first opportunity!
It was caught by Dr. Imhoff on the "Implanter" in about 25 minutes.
As this fish came up on the leader, it was down deep and digging down as we were going forward. As far down as I could put the flying gaff , I held it against the current almost six feet down with the big hook trailing and parallel to the fish. Once I felt the back of the fish with the bend of the hook, I pivoted the gaff and went down further until the point was making good contact. I sunk it in, but not to alarm the blue marlin.
I released the pole and the 1st mate, Steve, and I slowly pulled it up to the boat. Once on the surface, I could see the bill was just sitting in the bend of the hook with the barb backed into the bill just holding the hook there! As Steve grabbed the bill, so I could throw two half hitches over the bill with the flying gaff rope, the hook fell out! I then hit the blue marlin with the second flying gaff, mid-torso. You can see both hole marks by the gaffs in the photo.
Again, gaff every fish on the first opportunity. If we had horsed this fish and alarmed it, or if I had not gaffed it deep, it could have come to the surface, shook its bill, and thrown the hook. Game over and the +500 lbs. blue marlin Dr. Imhoff had fished a month for would have been gone at the boat.
First mate of the "Gracious Lady", Mike Lamptham, catches +850 lbs. blue marlin.
This was a great day with the boys, a fun day on the boss's boat, the "Lethal Weapon" with Capt. Larry Wilson and mate Richard Orman, both of Destin, FL. In 15 minutes we got the leader up twice, but Richard had to let go. His hands swelled up, so I was up to wire the fish next. Richard takes photo of me steering the chair and waiting for the leader to come up (1st photo).
At 30 minutes I grab the leader, and got this +850 lbs. blue marlin "up to the transom" two different times. Both times that blue came up, head down, pectoral fins out, and kicking. I'm stoked, it's the largest blue marlin I've wired by 350 lbs. and out of 80 blue marlin I've wired. I take a wrap, then a double wrap. I work my way to the blue marlin using "reverse wraps," double wraps each time, and short safe strokes to my gut . First time I get it up to the surface right behind the transom, port side. It makes a sharp head shake and tail kick, and I slip and fall on the covering board. My bent knees keep me in the boat like a hook. Richard grabs my belt and I release the leader. The blue marlin takes 70' line and stops. Mike pumps it back. Again I grab the leader, and work it back to the boat to within an easy gaff shot, but Mike had determined earlier to release it no matter how big it was. (No photos were taken because we were handling a big, tough fish).
It then takes off again on a 200 yard run. Mike says he wants to wire this big fish for the experience, so I jump in the chair. I get it back up to the boat at the 45 minute mark. Mike wires the blue up and Richard retrieves the lure (photos 2 and 3). They can not get the hooks out, so I jump out of the chair and cut the fish off with my release knife I always carried in my custom pliers sheath. Look at the girth of this fish over my right shoulder which is under water and maybe 12' behind me (photo 4).
Larry and Richard know what a fish this big looks like because just 5 days earlier they caught 1004 lbs. blue marlin (photos below). Larry thought Mike's fish could have been 1000 lbs., and felt we should have taken that fish. The difference from a 800 lbs. blue marlin to a 1000 lbs. is about 6" of girth. I can not judge that, but I must agree with Richard the blue marlin did not seem to have that girth from the anal fin back to the tail. Capt. Laurie Wright told me that a Grander will have a tail girth of 20" which we didn't measure and I couldn't judge that.
Great Action Shots!
I was "smoked" by this 396 lbs. blue marlin I caught on #50 test stand-up tackle.
This blue marlin I caught standing up in a 23' SeaCraft like mine - beat my ass! It stripped me twice - down to the last few turns of mono on a standard Penn 50! It then sounded and died. Unusual because it was hooked by a lure in the corner of its mouth. Two hours later, we put it in the boat. I was fishing with friends Rick Steiner and Chris (?), on Rick's 23' SeaCraft on the North Drop of St. Thomas.
This fish was the fourth blue marlin I caught personally in two days, and just kicked my butt, especially after two nights of hard drinking on my days off - was it great to be young, strong, and stupid! That morning I was quite hung-over, and slept most of the morning on the deck of the SeaCraft. It was a slow day, so the boys were hitting the Heinekens pretty good too. I woke up around lunch time and after sandwiches they both crashed on the deck. Forty five minutes later as I ran the boat down sea, out of the corner of my nodding eye "there she is!" I yelled as that blue marlin pounced on the left short lure. Jumping up out of the water from behind the lure and inhaling it as it came down! That's a great way to be shocked into action.
I grabbed the rod as Rick and Chris struggled up. That blue marlin burned off 450 yards of line in less than a minute. We chased it down with the SeaCraft running forward, and I was backing the drag off proportionally as the line was melting off the reel. Going, going, going, then I saw the gold stud on the bottom of the spool, and I pushed it up to full drag - "locked up" and it finally stopped the blue marlin.
What a shock! And every foot of line I gained was a relief. I worked the blue marlin back up, maybe 3/4 of a spool full in twenty minutes. Then it took off again: going, going going back to the bottom of the spool again. I locked it up again and stopped that blue marlin a second time. Wow! Again I start recovering line. I got half a spool back, and then the fish starts fighting again. But at around 45 minutes it starts to feel like dead weight. Fifteen minutes later we determine it had sounded and had died, 200 yards down. It took an hour to plane that blue marlin up, but we got it. Thanks a lot Rick and Chris.
And as I mentioned earlier, the day before I caught three blue marlin as guest angler on the "Lethal Weapon" with the owner running the boat. Awesome! What an honor, not only to be taken blue marlin fishing as solo angler (like a "boat owner"), but also to contribute to this boat's record of the first boat to break 100 blue marlin caught in a season all in St. Thomas.
And the boys on the "Lethal Weapon" were stoked, because each fish I applied maximum and aggressive pressure: near full drag when needed and proper stiff leg technique in the fighting chair. Two of the blue marlin I caught in around 10 minute, but the third took 45 minutes with maximum pressure and technique. Just what I hoped for, a chance to really use what I had learned in the last ten years of blue marlin fishing. From working the drag from strike on the runs, to more drag while fighting the blue marlin back to the boat, back to strike on the runs, to full drag when the blue was just under the boat - we were going to release this 375lbs. blue marlin anyway, and it is really fun when that fish lifts your butt off the chair as you wind down the rod tip to gain line with a heavy drag.
Here are a couple 350 lbs. blue marlin we mounted the first year I worked in St. Thomas in 1986 on the Miss Liz, a 57' Andy Mortenson - what a boat!
This is the best fishing boat and sea boat I've ever fished on, and what a work of art was the carpentry and bright work. I confidently say this after having fished and worked on two Rybovitchs, two Merrits, a Jim Smith, a Buddy Davis, a Ray Davis, two other N.C. custom boats I can not remember the builder, two Gamefisherman, and numerous Hatteras and Bertram boats.
St. Thomas is famous for very rough waters. I had comfortably fished some 10' to 12' vertical and close wind chop with an occasional breaker in the transom with no problem. And for backing down, it was excellent. With its modified-v hull, relatively a flat bottom in the stern but a sharp "v " entry in the bow with just the right amount of beam, makes this boat what it is.
I would like to know where that boat is today. I heard it left St. Thomas a few years after I started fishing in Costa Rica in the late 80's.
1004 lbs. blue marlin caught by Richard Orman on the "Leathal Weapon." Richard is the one with the Dom Perignom bottle.
Look at the girth of that fish compared to Richard's shoulders, and he is around my size, 6' 2" tall.
These guys were "fun fishing" with the bosses permission. Richard was the mate and Larry Wilson was technically the captain, but Bill Killey is written on the board as the captain (actually a captain of another boat in St. T.), so they all must have been rotating around from the cockpit to the helm as they fished and stayed where they were after hook-up.
That is Harry Tellam, one of my many great mentors (aside from my greatest mentors, my Mom and Dad, both tough and intense fishermen), catching a blue marlin on the "Miss Liz."
I've been offshore fishing with Harry since I was about 6 years old. Harry had his 35' Bertram right next to my Dad's 34' Norseman, and Bill Hegamyer (another great mentor who taught me the basics in blue marlin fishing by hiring me for my first job as a mate for the Bahamas Billfish Tournament circuit) had his 36' Broadbill on the other side of my Dad's boat. Those three boats right next to each were always flying numerous sailfish flags every day we went fishing. We would also plan trips to Bimini and Chub Cay for blue marlin fishing together.
So It was great to get Harry out to the North Drop for some awesome blue marlin fishing that I was experiencing that first summer in St. Thomas in 1986. It looks like Harry is once again mesmerized by a "grey hounding" blue marlin. Harry came with his brother-in-law, Jimmie Lambert who now owns the "Reel Tight," a 65' Merrit, and now it is a regular boat in St. Thomas. That was Jimmie's first trip there, and I guess I hooked him. They caught 4 blue marlin in two days of fishing.
That is Jan steering the chair for Harry. Jan was the second mate on the "Miss Liz" even before I was working as first mate on the "Miss Liz." She was one of the two first female mates that worked in St. Thomas. I'm happy to say I showed her how to wire her first few blue marlin.
Jan is about to tag a blue marlin.
Two 900 pounders and an 800 pounder.
Capt. Dale on the "Sundance" from Virgin Gorda weighs in a 918 lbs. blue marlin caught by a first time angler from Britain. Capt. Red Bailey and my friend, first mate "Dan-O" on the "Abegail III" drag an est. 800 lbs. blue marlin through the tuna door. Capt. Marty Snow and renown Dominican mate Vincinti Fox (sorry I do not remember the 1st mate's name) on the first "Tyson's Pride" (60' Hatteras) weigh a 910 lbs. blue marlin for a petit woman angler.
WOW! Do not fall asleep! That bucket of saltwater is filled with ICE CUBES !!!
Can you believe we caught that blue marlin!
It was one of a double header which we caught! After I caught the first fish standing up with a big #80 test, I turned around to guide the chair for the angler and in his excitement his wrist hit the Fin Nor's drag lever into free spool - Wam'O this backlash! What do you do? You back down like a mad man, and reel good line over the back lash: zigzagging across the mess to mat it down. One thing for sure you can not let the fish get back down to the back lash.
That is a Dunlop tire we caught with Winn Rockefeller!
It was so rough, like 8 - 10 feet, that when the right rigger went down and by the time I cleared the other lines, we could not see the tire dragging on the surface. The rough waves put a little life in that tire at first, before we started backing down on it. On the knock down Capt. John Tellam called in a hook up, but about after a minute of backing down we suspected something strange then we saw the tire. John called it in: "'Alchemist' has boated ..... a Dunlop!" There was definite confusion and laughter on the radio. I made a flag out of a paper plate and electric tape which I put on the rigger, and we got this photo back at the scale. Hey, you got to be able to laugh at yourself too.
One of the few sketches I've made. Drawing is too tedious for me. I think this is when Guy Harvey just started marketing his shirts. Should I have kept with it?