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April 05, 2007

Galapagos Striped Marlin Fly Fishing School Report

Greetings from San Cristobal Island, Galapagos, Ecuador

March 31, 2007; Today after coffee at the Miaconia Hotel, George & Sharon Maybee and I walked across the street at 6:30 AM to the municipal dock where we met up with Braden Escobar, Captain Alan Starr, and mates Tito and Julio aboard the vessel ¿Blue¿. As we headed out of the harbor here at San Cristobal, Galapagos, the air temperature was 72 degrees and the water temperature was 71.9 degrees, with thick fog.

Suzanne Schmidt Goldstein decided to take the day off to pack for her upcoming trip to Panama and to meet up with her husband Herb Goldstein, who returned from a 4 day nature cruse of the Galapagos today. After a 1 hour thirty minute to Rosita Bank we began trolling the soft head teasers and looking for Marlin.

Around 11:00 AM the sun came out, the fog burned off, and the water temperature got up to 75 degrees. George Maybee was the first to hook a Striped Marlin on fly today, it was a hot fish that tore off 200 yards of backing then proceeded to jump 21 times and charge the boat. After a 25 minute battle with George getting the Marlin within 30 feet from the boat six times, that Marlin went crazy and ripped off 300 yards of backing again and jumped another 10 times.

After 46 minutes George was 40 feet from landing this world record sized Striped Marlin when the 20 pound test tippet finally wore through and broke. As soon as the tippet broke, which took the pressure off of the hooks in the pink and white Cam Sigler fly, the fly and broken tippet floated to the surface after falling from the Marlins Mouth.

Thirty minutes later Sharon Maybee got her chance when Braden teased in red hot striper which was the biggest hooked fish of this trip, Captain Alan Starr estimated this fish to be over three hundred pounds. Sharon made a good cast to the Marlin which crashed her fly, then when she set the hook that fish went grey hounding away from the boat while ripping drag from George¿s new Ross Momentum # 8 Fly Reel. After a 44 minute battle which was a tug of war Sharon¿s back gave out so she handed the TFO Big Game heavy fly rod off to George, who proceeded to put the heat on the big Marlin. Thirty minutes later that Monster was still 40 feet below the boat when the 20 pound tippet gave way and that big Striped Marlin swam away free. Today we raised 12 Striped Marlin, all were between 160 and 350 pounds, my students got four bites and landed none.

Fishing for Marlin with fly equipment while using IGFA rules of engagement along with 20 pound test or lighter leaders is like hunting Elephants with sling shots, It is the thrill of the hunt and battling these monsters where they have more than a fare chance to win is what makes this sport so exciting. Just think, 20 years ago no one had ever caught a 200 pound Marlin on a fly, during the last 11 days fly fishing here in the Galapagos we landed several world record sized Striped Marlin (Suzanne Schmidt Goldstein's 200 pound plus on 20 pound tippet, and my 240 plus pounder on 16 pound tippet) and cast flies to at least 4 Marlin over 300 pounds. These folks attending my Marlin on Fly Schools are not seasoned professional fly anglers, they are people with that passion to do something really hard and they have chosen to try this wonderful sport.

I am frankly amazed at how far we have come in such a short time. For me at least, releasing that Record sized Marlin (My biggest ever on fly) was another milestone in my pursuit of Big Billfish on the Fly. During the last 11 days of my Marlin Schols my students and I saw hundreds of Striped Marlin between 140 and 350 pounds, we raised over 100, teased in dozens, and had more than 30 eat the fly. That last big Marlin which I caught was my 64th Striped Marlin on fly, however I can tell you that these are much bigger Striped Marlin than the ones in Mag Bay Mexico.

I will be back in North Carolina on Tuesday morning, then I will be in the Keys on April 6th to begin My Tarpon season, however I will defiantly be back to The Galapagos for more of this awesome fly fishing for Striped Marlin just south of the equator.

-Captain Jake Jordan