Dean Lemman said he would have been satisfied if he or any of his fishing partners had landed a blue marlin in the 300-pound range.
So the fish he ended up with off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Kona last month was almost beyond belief.
Lemman, a part-time Bend resident, landed a 1,226-pound blue marlin on May 27 while fishing on the charter boat Luna, captained by fishing guide Chip Van Mols.
At the time it was landed, according to the newspaper West Hawaii Today, the fish was the third 1,000-plus-pound marlin, called “granders,” landed in 2015 in Hawaii.
Lemman, 58, said he needed 2½ hours to reel the fish into the boat. He said the marlin was pulling him out of his chair and “literally pulling the boat at 8 to 10 knots.”
“It was just unbelievably hard work,” Lemman said. “I was totally exhausted after. You just have to dig deep and realize that it’s a marathon. You pull back and try to get one wrap on the reel. And then every once in a while she just takes all the line that you just gained over the last half hour. I had her to within 15 to 20 feet of the boat where we could see her three other times, then off she’d go again. It was a brutal fight. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
Lemman said the enormous billfish hit a Smash Bait lure that measures about a foot long with a 6-inch hook. The anglers were using 130-pound test designed for the giant Pacific blue marlins of Hawaii.
Lemman’s son Tim hooked a 700-pound blue marlin on the trip.
Dean Lemman said he had fished the last few years for marlin near Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Marlin in the 150-pound range are a big deal there, Lemman said, but Kona is the blue marlin mecca.
Lemman explained that because marlin is not the tastiest of fish, his catch was cut up, smoked and made into jerky.
“It was pretty amazing,” Lemman said. “It was like the luckiest day of my life, I think.”
— Reporter: 541-383-0318,