Fishing on the 20-foot boat he built himself, Cameron Thorp caught the fish of a—a 1,041-pound blue marlin he called a lifetime dream come true—but he and his fishing partner needed help hoisting it into the small craft called the Tamahine.
Thorp was fishing with Brendan Gardiner in a local fishing tournament off the Cook Islands last weekend when he landed what was the first “grander” caught worldwide in 2019. There were 21 marlin weighing 1,000 pounds or more landed all last year, according to GranderWatch.
Thorp, a part-time skipper of Akura Fishing Charters in Rarotonga, battled the huge marlin for five hours, according to the New Zealand Herald and a post by Thorp’s brother on their Fishing Rarotonga Facebook page. For the last two hours, Thorp was pulling in dead weight as the fish had died during the fight, as sometimes happens.
“The pressure required to ‘surf’ nearly half a ton of dead weight to the surface from down deep can’t be exaggerated,” Kieran Thorp wrote. “This is a process like water skiing. If you bring the boat forward the fish/object should rise to the surface. The poor rod was being tortured. The reel was overheating.”
Eventually the marlin breached the surface, was reeled to the boat and gaffed, and tied off with ropes.
Then, it took another half-hour getting it into the small Polynesian-style fishing boat. Thorp and Gardiner tried but couldn’t do it alone.
“I called my mates to come from another boat to help pull the fish on,” Cameron told USA Today/For The Win Outdoors. “One jumped on and we still couldn’t get it on board so another jumped on. It took four people to get it on.”
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The huge marlin barely fit in the boat.
“Where I stand and drive up front, the bill was hard up against the bulkhead in front of me and the tail was up over the back, taking up the whole boat,” he told For The Win Outdoors. “I’m gutted I didn’t get any photos as I was in a mad rush trying to get the fish back in time before the weigh-in closed at the club for the competition.”
Needless to say the grander earned Thorp the tournament victory and with it the $1,000 prize. It also gave Thorp a measure of pride, bringing in a grander on such a small boat, especially this one.
“It’s awesome to catch the fish in a boat I built,” he told For The Win Outdoors.
Photos courtesy of Cameron Thorp.
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