It does not get much better than catching Marlin on a hand line.
But, here we are, bringing to the shore a first class fish. Apparently, one of the fastest fish in the sea.
Clare and I had been dangling our line over the side of the boat, trolling for our dinner, when the Lord blessed us with a feast for a whole island.
We were quite excited at already catching a decent sized Spanish Mackerel, and were thinking of heading back to the small island of Yuo, just off the shore of Wewak in PNG, where we had been spending a much-needed break when a massive pull on my line nearly sent me overboard.
Tony, the Captain, the son of the Big Man Robert on the Island, and a long time friend of ours shouted, “Do you need help?” I could not speak. I was fighting with my whole body to stay in the boat which despite a 40 HP motor, had changed course and was now heading backwards.
Clare yelled, “Quick, Paul needs Help!” A lot of help as it happened. Tony grabbed hold of the line alongside me with huge hands. I could see his young muscular body tense, his sinews tighten, blood vessels covered his muscles, as the pull of the monster’s load took its toll on us. Fight or flight? This was time for a flight.
Suddenly, what seems like a serpent lunged of out the water and a great sail inflated along its back. What a sight. “Marlin, Marlin!” shouted Tony.
Shocked, I had other things on my mind like staying in the boat and wondering what a Marlin would do to me if I joined her in the sea. I felt a wooden paddle break under my foot which I had been using as a foothold. I lost all feeling in both my hands as the line bit my fingers.
After what seemed like an age we fought the Marlin to the side of the boat. I held onto the line, my body almost horizontal, taking just a small part of the strain. Tony grabbed for the considerable sword on Marlin’s snout, pulling it over the side as much as he dared, and shouting, “Spear. Get the spear!” Haha, I thought. In your dreams. Do you know how old I am? But, somehow I inched towards the front of the boat and with a numb finger fumbled with the spear and somehow passed it to Tony.
Tony thrust the spear at the Marlin with enormous might. It was if the spear was a small plastic spoon. The eight metal prongs bounced off Marlin’s leathery skin like water off a duck’s back. He tried again, but with no joy
After another age and with me still pulling with all my might, we got the head halfway up the boat’s side. Using Marlin’s own spear nose, we levered the head over the side of the vessel. Marlin struggled, thrashed wildly and in doing so became airborne, and with one enormous last effort from Tony and I, we took advantage of Marlin out of the water, and she landed in the hull. Clare screamed.
Marlin was frantic. Me too. Clare was beside herself thinking her future with her children was becoming less certain. Tony was shouting. Marlin thrashed, fighting for dear life, and not taking prisoners. This boat was too small for all of us. Tony with the spear in hand tried to secure the head, the hot end. I made for the tail with a foot and two hands holding onto the boat. I soon found out the tailfin was as hot as the head.
Needless to say, we overcame the Marlin to win the day. Tony and I held the fish for a considerable amount of time without either of us moving an inch until we felt safe again. On arriving back at Yuo, the island people were ecstatic. This is the first Marlin catch anyone can remember being caught on the island. Robert, Tony’s father and local preacher, interrupted his midday sleep at hearing a Marlin had been caught.
They hung the Marlin from a tree and spent all afternoon cutting and preparing the fish for a great feast to come.
What a blessing so many could enjoy one of God’s most magnificent provisions.
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