GT! Two extremely fearsome letters together like this! Across the globe, these magnificent apex predators haunt the dreams and fuel the aspirations of determined sport anglers.
Up your game!
You cannot bring a knife to this gunfight. Even the small GTs in the estuaries are pound-for-pound the most stubborn fish around. When they get adult-sized, like 30 to 50 kgs, you are in hot water. At over that weight, you best be packing some 100lb.
They get 80kgs.
This is my biggest…
And here is the story…
I thought it was a marlin. The bait was huge – a feisty skipjack tuna of 7 or 8 kilos. But it was way out of marlin season (June), and we were after the big GT’s the divers had spotted the day before. We practise catch and release so the divers don’t mind dropping us tidbits if intel, about the Tofo waters we share. But we had a normal Mydo live bait trace on. Not a huge circle hook.
The rod was bouncing away in the holder as I got to it I saw the huge sickle fin, very broad though, arching in on my bait. My heart was racing as I did not want a stupid angry marlin to take my kingfish bait. And also the rod was only a 100lb braid kitted coffee grinder jigging stick!
But I had tied the leaders fresh the night before, and the trace too. Really strong with 5X hooks and #12 wire. A nice long leader to handle the reef. Everything right. So after a second or so, I started cranking on that drag. Soon the fish felt something was up, but it was too late, the trace bit and the game was on. Expecting an angry tailwalking marlin, the fish tore of line and we cleared the boat. It kept going, on the surface, like a steam train, but it never jumped. Sometimes marlin do that.
Charging off after the fish, we finally stopped losing all that precious line. The tackle was measuring up great, everything felt solid. And so I started to pull. Like really pull. All the tricks in the book. And I won too. Sometimes. Control of the battle switched between us constantly. We were both on the edge all of the time. Huge headshakes, but I knew it wasn’t a shark. The pressure I was appyling would have broken any shark by now.
And then after 45 minutes he made a tiny mistake. I got his head up. And used all the power of that jigging rod to keep him coming. When I looked over as I got his huge last circle under control, I caught my breath. It was the biggest GT I had ever seen or imagined. Eyes like tennis balls! Mine too!
But the fish was well behaved by now, and I got a lip gaff in, and then another in the bottom jaw. You could have shoved a rugby ball in it’s monstrous mouth. All teeth. The hooks came out nice and easy, with no damage to our prize fish and new best friend. We swam the kingfish alongside the boat a while. Getting some well earned oxygen flowing. Chatting nicely and saying thank you for the encounter. Got one photo as the camera battery went flat.
And let her go!
Best feeling in the entire realm of existence.