|| |—| || |Croson ends the long fight. Photo: Courtesy of Robert Herring| It’s the Murphy’s Law of angling the minute you hook a big fish, anything that can go wrong does go wrong. For example, anglers Rick Croson, Robert Herring, Bob Holding and John Stephens never guessed catching a blue marlin could be so much work.
Problems started when the crew realized they had left the fighting harness in Croson’s truck.
“Without a harness, one of us was gonna go home with a sore crotch,” Herring said.
Enter a blue marlin.
| |Stephens adjusts the homemade harness as Holding fights the marlin. Photo: Courtesy of Robert Herring| The estimated 650-pound blue hit an Ilander Black Hole on 80-pound mono. As soon as Holding took the custom rod he had an epiphany for a MacGuyver-esque harness. Herring and Stephens fastened snap swivels to a throw cushion and then connected the snap swivels to the Shimano Tiagra 50 reel with 300-pound line. Though probably not the safest fish-catching device, the jury-rigged harness was born.
When the fight seemed under control, the marlin decided to bolt under the boat, threatening to catch the line on the outboard lower units. After Croson killed the engines, Herring climbed over the transom to unwrap the line tangled in the prop. Another foot and the marlin would have parted the line.
Almost three hours later, they hit another snag. Once at boatside, the marlin had lost its color, and its survival seemed unlikely. But after 20 minutes of reviving, the marlin’s color came back. Then its tail moved. Then it shook its bill.
“The next minute she was gone,” says Herring. “She was worth every minute of trouble.”