Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Kevin, Minnie & Jack McCluskey 3/14/10-3/16/10
The McCluskey family fished with us last in October 2008. They had such a great time fishing, it didn't take much to persuade them to join us again. Kevin called me a few months ago looking to plan a three day trip in March. I suggested the time during the new moon for his best chance at action. He then explained his 9 year old son, Jack, was on his way to becoming the youngest angler to complete the royal slam in the billfish world. Jack had caught both Pacific and Atlantic blue marlin/sailfish and had a black marlin to his credit as well. They wanted to come to Kona for his shot of catching the rarest and hardest of all the billfish, the short-nose spearfish.
So here we are, new moon in March, you couldn't pick a better time to fish. The fish had other plans. Besides a few big marlin and ahi, fishing was still slow. We have been experiencing unusually fast currents and it seems to be shutting the fishing down.
We set out with high expectations, looking for Jack's spearfish in all the right places, to no avail. Late in the afternoon, we spotted a porpoise school that was nice and tight. Marks came on the screen as soon as I made a pass, and not long after the water erupted with 100 plus pound tuna feeding on the surface. We stuck out the rig to see if we could end the day on a high note. Didn't take long for a nice tuna to grab the dangling squid. Jack was in the chair but unfortunately the hook pulled after a few minutes.
The next morning we set out to find the porpoise school first, hopefully get a tuna, and then proceed after the spearfish. The search found us going further south then I originally planned, but everything happens for a reason! When we least expected it, up comes a spearfish on the stinger, then one on the long rigger! We hooked the one up on the stinger and Jack was in contention. He did a great job transferring the shimano 50 to the chair himself in fine form.
Jack made short work of the fish and got leader within Josh's reach. We realized the hook was just in the lower tip of its mouth, and knew there was no room for error. I reached out with the gaff... and got a great shot. As it came over the rail we saw the size, realizing, this may beat the present junior world record of 32.5 lbs.
Pulling into the weigh station, all of us were anxious, and hoped our eyes were correct with the estimate. The scale read 40.5 lbs, Jacks spearfish was now the new junior World Record!
Couldn't ask for a better ending for Jack's quest of the hardest billfish to catch. With the spearfish out of the way, all Jack needs to be the youngest angler to complete the "Royal Slam" is a swordfish and a white marlin. Both fairly easy to catch near his home town, Palm Beach, Florida.
The next day we enjoyed spearfish sandwiches, and tried our luck after some tuna. The McCluskey's enjoyed there last day on the water, happy they got what they came for and more.
Good luck to 9 year old angler, Jack, hope you succeed in catching the final two billfish you need to complete the slam.
Aloha, Capt. Teddy Hoogs