Sterling Ellis, who is battling cancer, traveled to Hawaii for a fishing trip in the hope of catching something memorable as part of the Make-a-Wish program. Wish granted, and then some.
Ellis, 19, a Texan who two years ago was diagnosed with Hodgkins Disease, anticipated going after small game, such as mahi-mahi.
Instead, in the sparkling waters off Honolulu, he found himself aboard the charter boat The Wild Bunch, engaged in battle with a Pacific blue marlin that would tip the scale at a whopping 759 pounds.
“He told me how to do it. And then I was like, alright I’m doing to do this,” Ellis, speaking about Capt. Karl Adams, told KHON 2 News. “[But] it was, like, complicated. My arm hurt.”
When they first spotted the billfish, Ellis and his mother, Tammy Colon, thought it was a porpoise or a shark. But the crew knew what it was, and soon Ellis was hooked up.
“He was a great angler, he did a great job,” Adams said.
Ellis’ cancer is in remission but he was scheduled to have a bone marrow transplant after returning home. On the dock, however, he was all smiles.
“Don’t worry about things,” he told KHON 2 News. “Can’t worry about anything and just kind of go with whatever and don’t plan on anything, so just expect things to go good and they’ll go good.”
Said his mother: “He’s just a wonderful kid. He always keeps good spirits and [a] good personality. He works two jobs… He’s just a wonderful kid.”
According to Hawaii News Now, Ellis kept the marlin’s bill as a souvenir and Adams sold the meat to pay for the cost of fuel.