An angler from Hawaii traveled halfway around the world to catch the largest blue marlin ever landed by a woman.
Jada Holt, while fishing with a Kona-based crew at Ascension Island in the equatorial South Atlantic, boated a 1,305-pound Atlantic blue marlin on Saturday after only a 15-minute fight.
Asked how it were possible to land such a gigantic billfish in so little time, Capt. Bryan Toney told GrindTV, “Because we chased it down with the boat, and she was an excellent angler.”
Toney said details of the catch will be submitted to the International Game Fish Association, and that Jada and the crew were abiding by IGFA rules.
If the catch is approved by the IGFA, it will shatter the existing women’s record for Atlantic blue marlin – a 1,073-pound fish caught in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1982.
The largest Pacific blue marlin caught by a woman is a 958-pounder caught off Kona, on the island of Hawaii, in 2013.
Toney said the only other “grander” blue marlin caught by a woman, “that I am aware of,” was a fish weighing 1,104 pounds. But that was not caught in accordance with IGFA rules.
Granders are marlin weighing 1,000 pounds or more, and catches are rare.
For the sake of comparison regarding Holt’s marlin, the IGFA lists as the all-tackle world record for Atlantic blue marlin a 1,402-pound 2-ounce fish caught off Brazil in 1992 by male angler Paulo Amorim.
Toney said his group had embarked at Ascension in search of giant billfish, and that the huge marlin struck a lure.
Holt took the rod, Olaf Grimkowski was the wireman whose job it was to secure the leader once the fish was close to the boat, and Holt’s dad, Chip Van Mols, a Kona captain, was part of the crew.
“It smoked half a spool, and we chased it down and got to it in 15 minutes,” Toney said. “Pretty epic. Largest blue ever caught by a women on the planet, and potential new Atlantic record that will beat a 30-plus-year-old record.”
Chasing hooked marlin with a boat is routine. It’d be virtually impossible to stop the larger billfish from an idling vessel.
But still, 15 minutes is a surprisingly short fight time for even a marlin half this size.
Jim Rizzuto, a longtime Kona fishing writer, explained in a column on Monday that Holt is an expert angler who logged her first world record when she was 10.
“[But] the unusual brevity of the fight may also have been aided by the placement of the hook,” Rizzuto wrote. “Anchored in the lower tip of the jaw, it provided a pulling point which helped turn the fish and lead it to the boat.”
Toney said they had intended to let the marlin go, but after using a tape-measurement formula they determined that it was a potential world record, so they hauled it through the transom door and took it to port.
“Everything worked like a well-oiled machine,” he said of the effort.
Attempts to reach Holt for a comment about her catch were unsuccessful.
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