Fishermen are always secretly hoping to hook into a big fish. For a Minot man, that wish came true recently. Scott Sjol not only hooked into a big fish, it was ridiculously big 610 pounds big!
The fish was a blue marlin. Blue marlin are known to grow to immense size, but 610 pounds puts Sjol's fish toward the top of blue marlin catches off the waters of Hawaii. Sjol and his wife, Diane, recently vacationed on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. While there they contacted a local charter company. The rest is fishing history.
"Three times that fish came out of the water," said Scott Sjol. "It was about 400 yards out when he came out the first time. The reel had 750 yards of 400-pound test line. The captain said it was a 500 pounder. I could hardly believe it when he said that."
Accompanying Sjol on the charter was brother-in-law George Dakin, of Bedford, Texas, and a fisherman from New Mexico who, according to Sjol, "just happened to be on the boat."
"I sat my brother-in-law down first," said Sjol. "He didn't last long. I told the captain that if he wished to keep his rod and reel he'd better turn toward that fish. There was no line left. It was a blast."
The battle with the monster marlin lasted an hour. Shifts at the reel left all three men exhausted.
"None of us could hold our arms up," laughed Sjol. "It was quite an animal and too darn big to get on board. The captain made the decision to drag him behind the boat seven and a half miles to shore. We were hoping the sharks didn't get to him first."
The sharks never arrived, but once on shore the fish attracted a swarm of people. The marlin measured exactly 12 feet from tip to tail and boasted a 62-inch girth. Marlin of that size are a rare catch in Hawaiian waters. The biggest marlin shown on a local website was 732 pounds.
"I kind of caught on to how good a catch it really was when the locals at the resort were bringing 10 at a time just to look at the picture," said Sjol. "I knew it wasn't an everyday occurrence, that's for sure."
Sjol was lucky to get on the water. It was the first trip out for the charter in four days. The region had received a whopping 41 inches of rain in 48 hours. The system included three-inch hail and a tornado.
"We had to go quite a ways out to find blue water," said Sjol. "It was rough, too. It looked like it was going to be a pretty dead day. We had about a 30-pound Mahi-Mahi. About an hour later it got pretty lively."
Did it ever! Sjol said he considered getting a mount made of his big catch, but ultimately decided against it.
"What do you do with something like that? They just do Fiberglas replicas anyway. We ate the Mahi for lunch and left the marlin for the captain," said Sjol.
The lucky Minoter said he's comfortable fishing bluegills at Lake Metigoshe and that his previous big fish was a six-pound walleye, quite a change from a giant blue marlin.