The Blue Marlin.
We have gone fishing on charters in the Caribbean, Florida, Great Lakes, and other places around the world. It seems on every fishing charter while waiting for the first bite, the conversation turns to wanting to catch a blue marlin (or big tuna).
My son often talks about the hammerheads we have caught and released, large amberjack, and hundreds of grouper, but he always has a big smile when talking about wanting to catch a blue marlin. He has watched hours and hours of marlin fishing on youtube, and I’ve always promised him that we someday would get the opportunity.
The season in the US Virgin Islands starts with the first full moon in July and goes for a few months. The success rate is far higher around full moons. Some fisherman claim a few days before the full moon is best, some claim the week after. But all agree that the moon has an impact on your ability to catch one of these beautiful creatures.
Our day began by being picked up by Captain Josh and his Just Fish team at around 8:00 am. We stopped by North Shore Deli at Mongoose Junction to get some breakfast sandwiches and a few lunch sandwiches for later in the day. Both my son and I opted for “The DJ” for lunch. Our friend who works at the deli told us he has gone marlin fishing several times and never caught one. Great guy, but he didn’t inspire much confidence! I promised to send him a picture if we caught one, but we knew that when you go marlin fishing you pretty much get some, or get nothing. It isn’t like fishing the bottom and reeling up whatever happens to be there.
We boarded the boat at the park dock and were impressed by the size of the boat. We were confident that it could easily handle the waters that day and reduce the likelihood of either of us getting sick. We took a picture for Facebook that said “is this the day we catch the blue marlin?” We cruised past St. Thomas and after roughly an hour drinking our coffee and eating our sandwiches we arrived at the North Drop and prepared our lines.
We learned that they were putting in some “teasers” that don’t actually have hooks to trick the marlin into playing with them and putting on a show. Captain Josh quickly went upstairs to the flybridge so that he could drive the boat and scout for the marlin.
We spent roughly five and a half hours talking with the crew and telling old fishing stories. It was enjoyable, but my confidence level was lower with every hour that passed. I decided to lay down for a minute and before I even closed my eyes a massive splash happened back by one of the hooks. Everyone on the boat yelled and excitement was in the air. My son held the rod as we let the marlin run for a bit, and then I reeled him in. The fight only took about twenty minutes.
Later my son was on the flybridge and observed a very large group of dolphins. We have seen dolphins in White Bay, Maho Bay, and Cruz Bay a few times, but very seldom and usually only two or three. This was somewhere between 20 and 40 dolphins playing around and under the boat. The dolphin show meant we were unlikely to catch any more fish, but it was a perfect ending to a perfect day.
We got to send a picture to our friend at the deli. And of course, posted on Facebook that indeed today was the day we caught the blue marlin.
(We highly recommend Josh and his team at Just Fish. It is a great boat. They are knowledgeable, friendly, and best of all they catch the target. Check them out on your next fishing charter. Visit their website here: www.justfishstjohn.com)
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