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August 14, 2009

Arostegui father and son continue assault on IGFA record books

Arostegui is noted for catching and releasing a 385-lb shark on fly
By Igfa

It's now over 300 world records for Marty - 304 to be exact -- and another 123 for his 17-year old son Martini as the Arostegui angling duo continue to research and methodically rack up unbelievable sportfishing accomplishments around the globe.
 
And though it's a family affair - his wife Roberta has over 30 records and daughters Danielle and Ali each have them as well - it's the men in the Arostegui household that spend countless hours studying and learning as much as they can about their quarry. From books, magazines the internet, the current record to beat in the IGFA's World Record Game Fishes book, the pair also delve through notes from past fishing adventures - baits, lures, colors, the best times and where to find the biggest fish in the species -- as they prepare for their next trip.

"Typically we'll spend some 30 hours of research finding out as much about the fish and what they eat and what flies to take."
 
It's a routine that continues to lead to success as the pair has achieved records on four continents including North America, South America, Asia and last year Africa.
 
Europe is next.

"In 2010 I want our family to go to our ancestral country of Spain," said the Cuban born Marty and follows up with a laugh saying, "But I know Martini and I will be spending a number of those days there chasing after a Wels catfish record.

Marty has been tackling records for over 15 years, only a few years after he had his first real fishing trip, a gift by Roberta with acclaimed Key Biscayne, Florida USA flats guide Capt. Bill Curtis. His first fish was a bonefish and Curtis thought then he was good enough to try a fly rod as well. 
 
His first world record fish was caught in the summer of 1994, a 10 lb triple tail on 4 lb tippet near Flamingo in the Everglades National Park with another noted Captain Rick Murphy.
 
"I never really set any major goals.  After the first record I said 'let me try for two,' and then it soon became 10, then 20 and then 100," he laughed. Before long Arostegui surpassed Herb Ratner, Greensburg, Pa., who retired from his own intense pursuit at 180 world records.  
 
After Marty achieved his 200th record the IGFA presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award.  Just this past spring Martini joined his father on stage as he was also presented the same honor becoming the first junior to capture 100 records before turning 17.

Noted for catching and releasing a 385 lb shark on fly
Up until last year Marty held the world record for catching the largest fish on fly.  It was the spring of 2006 when he received international media attention for his largest fish, a 385 lb (174.63 kg). lemon shark caught on fly off Key West, Fla., USA.
 
Into the hour long fight, as he muscled the fish next to the boat, Arostegui realized how dangerous the toothy shark was as it attacked the hull of Capt. Ralph Delph's 29' craft. 

"When it opened its huge mouth, I said to myself this shark could eat half of me in one bite," joked the retired emergency room doctor who stands 5 ft. tall and weighs 125 lbs.

What followed was typical of the extensive planning and preparation for which Arostegui is noted. With the help of two other nearby fishermen the huge fish was lassoed and wrestled into a specially designed eight foot long, three foot deep aerated, hydraulic live well.  After an hour-long ride back to Key West the pair, with the help of Delph's son Mike who is also a prominent guide, finished documenting the catch using a portable electronic scale along with a special canvas sling to cradle the fish. Then they carefully slid the shark back into the water resuscitating it - with Arostegui in the water -- measuring the shark for its girth (49") and length (90") plus took photos. 

Looking at the photos of himself and Capt. Mike Delph standing in the water before releasing the giant fish which an hour before had been biting the boat, Arostegui laughed and said, "I don't recommend getting this close to a lemon shark, especially in his environment."   Caught on 12 lb tippet which over-tested at the IGFA world records lab by one pound the record was moved up to 16 lb tippet, but it was still the largest fish ever caught on fly.  

The year before Arostegui caught a 247 lb lemon shark on 8 lb tippet, another record that he believes will probably be in the record books for a long time.

Prepared purveyor of unusual and "ugly" fish
Over this decade Arostegui began traveling the world catching some obscure, unusual and frankly "ugly" fish such as the giant snakehead in Malaysia; the prehistoric giant trahira in Suriname with sharp canine-like teeth, and fly-fished the deep-waters of Alaska for yellow eyed rockfish.
 
Sometimes he doesn't need to travel any further than the canals of Broward County outside of Ft. Lauderdale for a snakehead, a gar along the Tamiami Trail beyond Miami's city limits, or for a barracuda in the Keys.
 
"Some of my friends make fun of me for catching all these weird fish," smiled Arostegui. "Their primary focus is the snook and tarpon. I've caught a lot of those and like catching them. But after catching so many I said I need to find new challenges and weird things to learn about. I kind of have a challenge of catching them on a fly rod." 
 
A recent phone call to Marty found him on his annual summer trip to Lake Livingston, Texas near Trinity as he and Martini focused their sights on more records for gar, one of the "ugly" fish Marty is so fond of catching and learning about.   
 
"I just caught a 25 lb longnose gar on 8 lb. tippet and Martini caught a 21 lb alligator gar on 6 lb class line," his voice reflecting his typical enthusiasm he has for sportfishing wherever he goes. "We had a great time in Texas."
 
Those could be records 305 and 124 respectively once approved by the IGFA's world record department. 
 
But who's counting.