THERE HE IS!
The great fisherman, author Zane Grey, wrote millions of words that stirred the imagination and brought scenes of land and sea to vivid life. But for fishermen, three words of his never fail to start the adrenaline, to relive the action. Those words are: “There he is!”
For Zane Grey, as for most fishermen, the words to excite full drama should be: “There SHE is.” Grey was always after the biggest and heaviest of the fishes, and in marlin, they are the females.
Those three words mean much to every marlin fisherman; they help put marlin on the angling peak and keep them there. They bring back in memory the following wavery, shadowy, dark shape that suddenly lights up, flashing vibrant colors as it viciously slashes at bait or lure or fades away into the blue depths without a strike. They bring back memories of sickle tails riding the ocean swells or cruising slowly on top with the tail and sometimes an erect dorsal fin slicing the surface ahead of the tail to give a guide to the size and species of the fish.
There are memories of crash strikes, where in a blur of action, a bait or lure disappears in a huge hole in the water, so the skilled eagle eyes of experienced fishermen do not have a chance to register even a millisecond of the bait or lure-taking action. There is only time to shout “STRIKE,” so the anglers can go to the rod. Those words, “There he is,” also describe an empty ocean and sky with boat hooked up, reversing after or chasing a fish, a fish deep and unseen, then suddenly a bill, a head, shoulders, and the whole fish is clear of water and part of the sky.
The involuntarily shouted words describe when the fish has turned blue water into opal froth and white spray, with the fish jumping, tail-walking and changing direction. The fish so much part of the sea it becomes part of the sky.
“There he is” can be the skipper’s words for a marlin sighted down in the clear water and for the leader to be taken as the fish comes closer to the boat for capture or tag and release.
No fish creates more excitement than marlin; no other fish has gained more respect, is instinctively thought of for tag and release and is more important to the economy of recreational fishing ports, fishing destinations and sportfishing in general. Marlin have created industries of boat building, bait catching, tackle manufacturing, magazine publishing, accommodations, travel, taxidermy, photography and fishing clothing right through to a fisherman’s polarized glasses.
In the Pacific and Indian Oceans, three marlin species create and support those industries. The Pacific blue marlin, the black marlin and the striped marlin are all top fish. The widespread ocean-wandering blues are exciting fish in all sizes, from lightweight aggressive, needle-billed speedsters to the perfectly proportioned, maximum-sized female giants. These are the heaviest and biggest of all the marlins recorded commercially. They seem to be even bigger and heavier than their Atlantic relatives are.