Check this Rival Off the List!

by | Nov 9, 2022 | striped marlin on the fly | 10 comments

cursesAt 2 AM I was woken in the middle of a strange marlin dream.  I was getting attacked by a mounted one!  But what truly woke me was a weaving palm tree outside our room here in San Carlos, Baja on the shores of Magdalena Bay.  There’s been hardly any wind this week but in the wee hours it kicked up.  Sammy, Grant and I are fly fishing for striped marlin from a Mexican panga.  If it got too windy we wouldn’t be able to head out to sea with our boatman Norberto.  In which case, yet another shot at my first striped marlin on fly would pass me by.

 

bajaI returned to sleep but at 6 AM there was a glimmer of daylight.  I ventured outside to assess the wind.  Things didn’t look great.  The clouds were thick and there was a sprinkle of rain.  Today was indeed my last crack.  Off we went under threatening skies.

 

chub-mackerelWe stopped at the mouth of Magdalena Bay to catch teaser bait in case the marlin wouldn’t cooperate.  Today’s bait were Pacific chub mackerel.  While the guys jigged them up on flashy little lures, I dropped a bonefish fly down on my sinking line.  It’s a species I’ve caught before but fun nonetheless.

 

fly-fishing-bluewaterArmed with a few mackerel we headed out to sea.  The swells were big and the wind was blowing.  Reality sank in.  If I didn’t catch my striped marlin today, it may never happen.  This is a sport where if it wasn’t for Sammy hiring this boat, I wouldn’t be here.  With our busy schedules who knows when we’ll do it again.

 

skipjack-tunaAbout an hour into our ride to the marlin grounds we found diving birds.  There was plenty of action that included several thrashing striped marlin.  Bait was flying in the air and Norberto cut the motor.  Sam and I got several cast to the frenzy and I went tight with the 13/14-weight.  My line screamed off but it was pointed deep.  Usually marlin run high and jump.  Soon I was releasing one of my friends, the skipjack tuna.

 

fish-BajaThe marlin feed was over by the time the tuna was released and we continued our ride south.  Shortly we were there and so were the marlin.  Numerous marlin.  If only they would eat better then yesterday.

 

flyfishing-for-marlinThe marlin were feasting on sardines.  The six inch fish were leaping for their lives every direction.  Many of the ones escaping danger from below got picked off by birds above.  Sammy and I launched our marlin flies into the chaos.

 

striped-marlinOnce again, these striped marlin seemed hard to convince to eat a fly.  We got lots of casts right on ones heavily feeding.  Then, I kid you not, I went eye to eye with a crazy feeding marlin that was literally whacking the leaping sardines with his bill in midair.  I will never (NEVER) forget this fish.  By miracle, my fly landed exactly in his line of fire.  He flipped my feathery hook in the air with his bill then turned back and ate it.  “On!” I shouted!

 

Jeff-Currier-big-fish

I was once and for all, ON!  My reel emptied its fly line in less than two seconds and then the backing hissed off at mock speed.  Finally the fish slowed and stopped.  That’s when the marlin made a dozen or so amazing jumps.  This was the fish I dreamt about!

 

striped-marlinAfter the jumps my fish ran and dove.  Just like they all do.  I kept immense pressure on.  Its important to fight them hard and beat them quickly.  There are horror stories of folks fighting these fish for hours on end.  Its not good for the fish nor for a 57 year old angler either!

 

15 minutes went by.  30 minutes.  35 minutes in and a new school of feeding marlin surfaced close.  “Cast Sammy.  Cast!”  Hollered Grant.

 

Sam made one cast and we were doubled up!

 

marlin-on-flyI didn’t like the feel of this from the get go.  My marlin was close to the boat and seemed tired when Sammy made his cast.  But now with Sam’s fresh fish on and jumping around the boat, my marlin found new energy.  Especially when Sam’s fish ran past mine.  They both took off in the same direction.

 

BajaIt looked like our fish would tangle together.  They must have been swimming close.  But inch by inch I heaved mine back and to the opposite direction of Sam’s.  Grant sent me to the back of the boat to finish off my fish and he stayed up front with Sam.

 

marlinFive minutes later I had my leader butt a few feet from the boat.  My marlin was finished.  It was a matter of Grant running to the back to grab it.  Just then Sam’s marlin made a thrilling run forward and Norberto kicked the boat forward to follow.  I couldn’t just drag a seven foot long fish along so I had to loosen my drag and let my fish go again.  He went behind the boat, jumped, and broke me off.  Are you kidding me!

 

My striped marlin curse was a couple feet from being ended but instead it was fueled much deeper.  As Sam continued to fight his marlin Grant and I rerigged his 13/14-weight fly rod.  I’ll tell it like it is, I was sick to my stomach.  And a little disappointed we couldn’t have simply focused on my fish and got him – then maybe go for another?

 

striped-marlinYou can’t look back.  After my rig was ready I did what any friend would do.  I pulled out my phone and shot pictures of Sammy fighting his marlin.  And after about 30 more minutes Sammy brought in his 3rd striped marlin on the fly of the trip to boatside.  Wow.  What just happened I thought?  No doubt it had something to do with my marlin nightmare earlier today.

 

marlinDespite the fact that my arms were tired from a tuna earlier followed by the 35 minute fight with a marlin I didn’t land, I was up and at it again.  The seas were getting bigger and the wind stronger, but all this did was bring more marlin up.  There were striped marlin everywhere.

 

chasing-marlinIt didn’t take long before I hooked up again.  This was a marlin Grant teased to boat.  The fish was zigzagging all around the boat lit up like a Christmas tree with all its colors.  At first it wouldn’t pay attention to the fly.  Finally I antagonized it enough he ate.  I strip-set with all my might and the fish screamed off and jumped.  Then it jumped several more times coming towards the boat so fast it slack lined me.  By the time I got tight again he was gone.  Ugh. . .

 

Currier-marlinThings slowed the next hour.  Sam and I got some casts to bait balls and the occasional surface feeding marlin.  But it was looking bleak for my last chance to catch a striped marlin.  The seas were rougher and honestly, my body was feeling all my efforts of the week.  But just as fast as I was losing hope, a marlin swirled under birds about thirty feet out.  I double hauled sending my fly in the commotion.  I didn’t see what happened but one strip and I was hooked up.

 

big-fish-CurrierSheer determination took over my mind and body.  I could hear the guys saying things but I didn’t even try to comprehend.  It was me vs my ultimate nemesis, the striped marlin.

 

Mag-Bay-marlin

There were amazing jumps.  I remained hooked up.  There were screaming runs so far into backing the reel nearly emptied.  I gained all the backing back and it happened again.  And again.  And again.

 

Currier-marlinAfter 30 minutes I had the fish close.  We could see the beautiful creature lit up below the boat.  But he reached a point where I couldn’t budge him.  I reefed with all I had – just shy of overpowering the strength of my leader.  But this move only irritated my fish and he made the dreaded dive.  Straight down then deep into my backing I went yet again.

 

marlin-fliesAfter 45 minutes Grant simply said, “Every once in a while I see a mean one Jeff.  Hang in there.  This could take some time”.

 

I could comprehend again.  Grants comments registered loud and clear.  I had a tougher than normal striped marlin on.  But regardless of my quivering forearm and cramping reeling hand, I was winning this one.

 

Currier-striped-marlinI’m thrilled to say that after exactly one hour, Grant billed my first striped marlin on the fly.  At last!

 

striped-marlin-releaseGrant and I slid the mighty stripy into my lap for a quick photo.  If you haven’t seen a marlin in real life its hard to explain.  These amazing creatures flash colors of electric blue like you won’t see anywhere else.  I was in awe to finally land one of these fish and studied and admired every inch.  Then Norberto kicked the boat into forward gear and I resuscitated the beautiful marlin.

 

marlin-release-Currier

This marlin remained strong.  It didn’t take long for him to start fighting me again.  I took one last hard look and let go of his bill.  He made one mighty thrash with his tail and I watched him dive out of sight.  This was well worth many years of frustration.  The curse is over!

 

Currier-Yellow-DogIt was a painfully rough ride back to San Carlos tonight.  We crashed down on wave after wave jolting every inch of our bodies from our teeth to lower back.  The ride took 2.5 hours!  But every time I winced an image of my marlin release flashed in my head.  What an incredible day.  Add this difficult species to my list!

Despite being 2022, internet is sparse in remote parts of Baja.  Furthermore, after a 10-12hr fishing day on the salt, it’s hard to get the blogs out on time.  They will be delayed but they will come in full.  Stay tuned! 

In the meantime, please visit my webstore for “Christmas Gifts for the Angler that has Everything” and stuff those stockings with my fish decals from “Pescador on the Fly”.

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

10 Comments

  1. Lance

    👍👍👍 They are a gorgeous fish! Pull darn hard but gorgeous. Congrats!

  2. Kevin Yoshida

    What a story! Congrats Jeff!

  3. Jeff

    Thanks gents!

  4. owen

    Excellent story. Thanks for taking us along for the ride!

  5. Brian I

    Just fantastic, congratulations! I had a feeling you were finally going to get this done – was great to read that it did.

  6. Jeff

    Glad you all enjoyed the story. Soooooooo glad to get that one under my belt!

  7. Lane

    Congrats, Jeff!

  8. Dan

    Wow! Great fish from a great part of the world!

  9. Jeff

    Thanks guys. It is a wonderful place. Taking it easy for the rest of this trip!

  10. thehersh

    My heart was pounding just reading. Thanks for sharing.

Welcome to the Blog of Jeff Currier!

Contact Jeff

I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!

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