World record claim for fly-caught marlin

DOGGED persistence paid off for US saltwater fly fisher Tom Evans when he landed the world’s biggest striped marlin on a 10kg fly fishing tippet in New Zealand waters on March 19.

It was the third trip to the NZ North Island for the veteran angler and one of many similar forays in Australian waters over the past decade in his quest of the elusive 10kg world fly record for striped marlin.

Along the way, Evans had caught many dozens of stripes between 150 and 190 pounds, including the world records for the species on 6 and 8kg tippets. However, finding a fish big enough to take the record on 10kg had proven an obstinate barrier for Evans and the team in recent years. The benchmark to beat was the 96kg fish taken by Moroccan angler Fouad Sahiaoui off Port Stephens, NSW, in 1998.

After a series of disappointing expeditions to raise sufficient fish of the right size in Australian waters, the Evans endeavour was relocated to New Zealand for the 2010 season, in the belief that the northern NZ fishery was home to good numbers of big stripes. The logistics of relocating the 45ft sport fishing vessel Blue Dog 1200 miles across the Tasman proved testament to the determination behind the pursuit of a record fish.

Subsequently, and in character building fishin’ fashion, the 2010 and 2011 seasons turned out to be the slowest New Zealand had experienced for more than 20 years. In 55 days over the two seasons, Evans and his crew saw fewer than a dozen shots at likely sized fish, with one capture that fell 8kgs short of the mark and the loss of another potential record breaker at the gaffs. For the 2012 season, the boat was back on the Port Stephens grounds, where the results proved even worse.

With the target still beckoning, it was decided to give New Zealand one last chance and in January 2013, Blue Dog punched hopefully across the Tasman once more. There, working out of King Fish Lodge Whangaroe, the team encountered fishing consistency not greatly improved from previous seasons, but at least offering a few more likely contenders coming to the teasers. Evans hooked and played a giant fish of around 150kg, for two hours, before it broke free and had a similar size fish snap his tippet like it was sewing thread on the first serious of jumps.

While these outcomes were disappointing, they stacked the numbers game of record fly fishing odds, which work out at roughly one success in 20 encounters with the right size fish. Evans was seriously hoping that his probabilities didn’t revert to zero every trip, but rather stacked up cumulatively from shots over his fistful of dogged seasons. As it turned out, he was right.

On the morning of March 19, a nice striped marlin was teased to the back of Blue Dog and Tom Evans placed his cast perfectly for a sensational going-away bite on the Flashy Profile Fly. Every fish is different, and this one spent a lot of time in the air but never really got miles of backing out, and only dived deep a few times. As is Evans’ strategy, he pulled as hard as he dared on the 10kg tippet at every opportunity, never letting the fish get comfortable. After 40 minutes, the marlin executed a series of boat-side jumps and powered off again. Soon after, it began showing signs of fatigue from relentless pressure and Evans steered it back towards the boat. As the fish went to make the same jumps away, skipper Darren Hayden was all over it to allow the crew of Dean Butler, Steve Tedesco and Jason Holtz to secure the catch with fixed head gaffs. Back on shore, the fish was weighed at the Whangaroe Big Game Fish Club and is, at the time of writing, a pending World Record claim of 109.3kg on 10 kg tippet.

If this catch is verified by the IGFA, it will see Tom Evans in the record books with four marlin over 100kgs. It will also bring his angling accomplishments to eight current world records on fly fishing tackle for marlin: three blacks, two blues and three stripes.

What's your reaction?

Related Posts

Load More Posts Loading...No More Posts.