Kayak angler tosses rod overboard, catches record marlin

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Kayak fisherman Devin Hallingstad with his kayak-record black marlin; photo courtesy Hallingstad

When battling a fish, the last thing you'd think a fisherman would do is throw his fishing rod overboard, but kayak fisherman Devin Hallingstad had no other choice if he wanted to land the huge black marlin he hooked in Hawaii.

Due to his quick thinking, Hallingstad wound up catching the largest black marlin ever taken from a kayak, a whopping 212-pounder. According to Kayak Fish magazine, it was also the second heaviest of any species taken from a kayak.

Fishing the second day of last weekend's Pelagic Pursuit Kayaking Fishing Tournament, Hallingstad hooked into the marlin close to shore, in 100 to 120 feet of water.

"It did a lot of jumping at first," Hallingstad told GrindTV Outdoor in a phone interview. "It was jumping everywhere back and forth. That's when I kind of dug in and it pulled me straight out to sea."

The marlin was also pulling out a lot of line. The reel was getting down to the end of the line, otherwise known as "getting spooled."

"So I just decided to connect my other rod to the pole," Hallingstad explained. "I've known of old-timers doing that [with big fish]."

He tightened the drag on the reel of his first fishing rod, which he clipped onto the line of the second fishing rod.

"I had a rod leash, so I clipped it to the end of the leash so it was like a leader," he said.

Then he tossed the first fishing rod overboard and began fighting the fish with the second rod, and the fish kept taking line. Hallingstad figured the fish took about three fourths of the line off the second reel, about 600 yards between both reels, before tiring.

Finally, he gained on the fish. He got his first rod back and continued fighting the tired fish until he got it to the side of the kayak and gaffed it.

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Kayak fisherman Devin Hallingstad with his kayak-record black marlin on the rocks he and his friends had to carry the fish over; photo courtesy Hallingstad

The challenge wasn't over, however. He had to get it to shore, avoiding sharks, and then carry it up and over some rocks to his truck.

"I had it by the bill and I just drug it headfirst," he said. "I couldn't get it on the boat at all, no way. So I tied it off and held onto the bill and just drug it in [as he pedaled to shore].

"It took three of us to get it into my truck."

Hallingstad is no stranger to catching big fish from a kayak. The Hobie fishing-team member owns the kayak record for yellowfin tuna, a 176-pounder. Incidentally, Andy Cho holds the overall record for biggest catch with a 225.5-pound blue marlin.

After weighing his catch on a certified scale, Hallingstad drove the fish to tournament headquarters, where he was awarded first place in the offshore category.

"They're kind of used to me bringing some big fish over there," he said. "But everyone was tripping out. Some people didn't believe it. They went, 'What the heck is that?'"

What it was, was an incredible catch, according to Paul Lebowitz, an authority on kayak fishing from Kayak Fish magazine.

"Kayak fishing records are informally kept," he told GrindTV Outdoor. "This fish is the second largest ever to make it to a scale. Larger have been leadered [and released], but that scale receipt confers a level of confidence. Devin was already known for his big ahi; with this catch, he’s in the argument for best big-game kayak angler going."

And a quick-thinking one, at that.

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