Skill, experience, plus a wink and a smile from lady luck — all in varying degrees — help account for these seven seemingly impossible catches, all made legitimately per IGFA international angling rules. It’s worth noting at the outset that in most cases, these catches are made not simply by an angler, but by a team, experienced, practiced and dedicated to the goal of setting a world record on light line. With heavy line, the team becomes far less essential, as the angler goes it mostly alone and often spends a considerable time in the fight, man to fish.
But a good team is most often successful when their efforts include some good fortune. Without that luck, most light-line hookups end in failure — not surprising, given the odds.
Another factor in these successful catches has much to do with the nature of a fish’s fight. Quite simply, none of these big fish had time or simply the inclination to dive deep. Try stopping 200 or 300 pounds of angry fish on a headlong deep dive with wispy six-pound line, and good luck with that. But when that same fish chooses to stay on top, expending energy where a boat and team can pursue it, the chances of a gaff shot — whether lucky or expert or, often, some of each — go way up.
Some would argue any such fish caught in a minute or a few does not represent sport fishing. The anglers here and those with similar interests would surely counter that this is an extremely difficult team effort, wherein all rules and regulations pursuant to the IGFA are followed completely. One might argue that it is indeed not sport fishing as most anglers practice it; rather, this is a highly specialized (and particularly exciting) form of fishing, but fishing it is.
In any case, whatever one’s perspective, there’s no denying that these “one-minute catches” are remarkable.
Striped Marlin World Record
Striped marlin — 226 pounds, 8 ounces
- Women’s 6-pound-line-class record
- Herradura, Costa Rica
- February 2002
- Saundra McMurray from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
The 6-Pound-Test Striped Marlin World Record Explained
Fishing out of Los Sueños Resort with Capt. Tony Carrizosa, angler Saundra McMurray indicated in an affidavit of her catch to the IGFA, the 63-foot Stephanie Lee carried a full complement of mates — three in all and a friend who also served as a fourth mate. Her Shimano TLD was loaded with Sufix IGFA-rated 6-pound line.
“The fish came up on the right short teaser,” McMurray writes. “I picked up the rod and pitched back the bait, a circle-hook-rigged mackerel. The marlin hit the bait once and let go. He came back, hit the bait again.” She let the fish run, then put the reel into gear. “As soon as we knew he was hooked up, Tony threw the boat into reverse, and I wound as fast as I could, the boat flying backwards toward the fish.” McMurray wound the line to the leader, which one of the mates grabbed, yelling “Caught fish!” At the same time, two mates put gaffs into the fish, even as the skipper was coming down (from the bridge) to add a third. Then the trio pulled the fish through the transom door.
Doug Olander is editor-at-large for Salt Water Sportsman magazine.