Birthdays are special events, but Guy Kitaoka may be remembering his 58th more for the massive marlin he caught than anything else. According to KITV, Kitaoka caught a 1,368-pound marlin from the coast of Kona, Hawaii on Tuesday, drawing a crowd of 50 to 60 people as his ship docked for the weigh-in.
“For all fishermen, catching a grander is something you wish for. When I finally got mine, man I was stoked!” Kitoaka said.
The angler has been fishing since he was eight, both for personal enjoyment and as a commercial fisherman, but he has never caught a marlin this big before. In fact, few people have. The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) currently recognizes a 1,376-pound marlin as the all-tackle world record for Pacific blue marlin, just eight pounds heavier than Kitoaka’s catch. That record has been standing for more than three decades since it was caught by Jay de Beaubien in 1982, also near Kona.
Since Kitoaka was using a motor-driven reel, he would not have been eligible for the IGFA record even if the fish’s weight exceeded that of the current champion.
Still, Kitoaka is more than happy with his catch.
“It turned out to be one of the best fishing days of my life” he told KHON2, adding that the marlin resulted in a “lot of sausage.”
You can see the fish at the weigh-in below:
Kitoaka said that he went fishing that day to try his hand for some ahi tuna or a small marlin to cook at a party, but he never expected to get a fish of this size. The fight lasted just about 90 minutes, which is remarkably short for such a large fish. According to fishing writer Jim Rizzuto, Kitoaka had previously fought another grander for more than nine hours before the fish escaped. This marlin had almost gotten away, too.
“During the fight, the bait broke away from the hook but not the leader. The 4-pound aku remained attached by its lower jaw. It slid all the way up the leader past the swivel and then up another 50 yards of line where it jigged enticingly with every crank of the reel and movement of the fish,” Rizzuto wrote. “At any moment during the fight, a hungry interloper could have pounced on the bait and cut the line.”
The 1,368-pound marlin is believed to be the largest marlin caught off Kona in 23 years.
You can see pictures of the fish below: