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The Not To Young Man And The Sea

850-Pound Blue Marlin Fish Story

BY PAUL CARONNA
THE NOT-TOO-YOUNG MAN AND THE SEA
850-Pound Blue Marlin Fish Story
BY PAUL CARONNA

Paul_Caronna_Blue_Marlin.jpg

This is a fish story much like The Old Man and the Sea except I wasn't very old.

I had always loved to fish; from the age of five, my father used to take me to Ocean Park pier in Santa Monica to fish for perch and mackerel etc. At that young age, only two things got my attention: fishing and cars. So as the years went by, my dad and I fished all the time.

He passed away when I was 13, and I thought fishing would be over. However, my mom knew how much I loved to fish, and she would take me down to the Redondo Beach pier and I would fish all day and sometimes I would go out on the barge Sacramento. Man, that was great — lots of bonito, halibut, sharks, and whatever was around that day.

Off To Hawaii

Later in years, I decided to buy my own boat. Living in Torrance and close to the beach, I bought a 28-foot Tollycraft and fished Catalina and around the area but found no really big fish. So, thinking a bigger boat would bring bigger fish, I moved up to a 36-foot Drake, which didn’t catch any larger fish!

Someone told me I should go to the big Island of Hawaii, as that’s where the big blue marlin are caught, so I gave it a try.

Ted Elliott of Elliott boats told me to go see a Mr. Fran Weinberg who lived in Hawaii and had a 65-foot Elliott called Capricorn; maybe he would take me fishing.

So I went to Hawaii and stayed for a year. In that time, Fran and I fished a lot and I learned all the tricks on how to catch the big blues. We fished and fished.

One day we caught a 650-pound blue and that was it — my new life had just begun. I got so excited about fishing for blues that, when I finally got back to California, I bought a bigger boat — a 53-foot Pacemaker called Challenge, a good name because it was a challenge just to keep fuel in her 12V71 engines — but that’s another story.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I fished around Catalina for about 10 years and caught my share of fish strippers and a few swordfish; I even caught the first marlin of the year in Catalina three times in the ‘70s.

A Move To Cabo

I was ready to make a move and take the boat to Cabo along with my buddies Joel Faucetta and the owners of the Red Onion Restaurant in Newport Beach Rick and Steve Loomis. We took off and spent the season in Cabo, from March to June; that was a long time back in the late ‘70s.

There we caught a few blues in 500-pound class, and a few in the 600 and 700-pound. Oh, and there was one 812-pound fish that is mounted in Pancho’s restaurant in Manhattan Beach that the owner Abb Lawrence caught. Well, Abb liked the Pacemaker boat so well and I had my eye on buying the boat I had fished in Hawaii that he ended up buying mine and it became Pancho.

I finally bought Capricorn and renamed it Challenge II. (You may have seen her trolling around Cabo trying to catch the big one that is something over 1000 pounds.)

I never did, but I did catch a fish with all the wrong things going on (see picture). The time was April 1983 with just my girlfriend Maryann Prall and me — no deckhand, just us.

We had spent a few days at Frailes about 45 miles from Cabo and were just taking it easy when we decided to go back to Cabo. The weather was great — flat calm and about 85 degrees — so I swung the boat to the outside of Gordo Bank about 25 miles offshore, hoping to catch a wahoo or tuna.

The Big One!

We were just relaxing when all of a sudden one of the jigs went off. I looked back but no fish. So, a moment later, here it came — a big, and I mean big, fin behind the short jig.

It took the wahoo purple and black jig and ran out about 600 yards of line. Maryann grabbed the pole and said she didn’t feel anything.

Just then, the fish came up, jumping next to the boat. I knew it was big but how big was unknown at the time. Maryann said, “You take it; I’ll never be able to catch this monster.”

I said, “Keep trying.” but it was too big for her 110-pound frame so I took the rod and fought it for about another hour and fifty minutes while she took the controls (and by the way, Maryann had never touched the controls before).

With hand signals and a harness hooked to the rod, we managed to bring the fish to gaff. Now, getting the fish aboard was a task; after trying to get on the swimstep had failed, I had to tail rope the fish and use the dingy davit to pick it up and put it in the cockpit.

After looking how big this fish was and how just the two of us with no crew had managed to board this fish, I began to think a little about life as a fisherman.

Now With Scott B. Jones

I’m now a yacht broker with Scott B. Jones International Yacht and Ship Brokers in San Diego. I have, for the last 26 years, been at the same brokerage.

I love the business and work with the design firm of Mangia Onda Company that have patents on the new “M” hull and the double “M” 65FT X 32 high-speed yachts that Knight & Carver are building.

Also, we are the exclusive brokers for Knight & Carver Yacht Center in San Diego for new construction for all our 40 to 130-foot yachts.

In Summary: The Details

Angler: Paul Caronna
Captain: Maryann Prall
Weight: 850 pounds.
Date: April 29, 1983
Fish: Pacific Blue Marlin
Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Tackle: Andy 50lb. test
Lure: Black and Purple Sevenstrand
Leader 15ft.185lb. 49 strand wire
Boat: 65-foot Elliott Challenge II

Tight Lines,
Paul Caronna

In Summary: The Details

Angler: Paul Caronna
Captain: Maryann Prall
Weight: 850 pounds
Date: April 29, 1983
Fish: Pacific Blue Marlin
Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Tackle: Andy 50lb. test
Lure: Black and Purple Sevenstrand
Leader 15ft.185lb. 49 strand wire
Boat: 65-foot Elliott Challenge II

Tight Lines,

Paul Caronna

Paul Caronna may be reached at YachtCar@aol.com or 619-224-6025.



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