It only took 49 days into 2015 before the first ‘grander’ was caught, as yesterday 16-year-old angler Kai Rizzuto landed a 1,058-pound Pacific Blue Marlin aboard Ihu Nui Fishing Charters in Kona, Hawaii.
Any fish over a thousand pounds is known as a ‘grander’ in fishing circles, and they’re exceedingly rare. As you can see here, only 27 Marlin weighing over 500-pounds were caught worldwide in January, and 21 so far in February…and that’s just fish over 500-pounds, not a thousand. For comparison’s sake, the all-tackle IGFA World Record for Pacific Blue Marlin is 1,367 pounds, and it caught in May of 1982, also in Kona, Hawaii.
16-year-old angler Kai Rizzuto’s 1,058 Blue Marlin stands alone so far in 2015 as the only fish caught weighing over a thousand pounds, and news of the rare catch spread like wildfire across Hawaii.
Regardless of your stance on the killing and weighing of billfish, this 1,058-pound blue marlin must be admired. This is the catch of a lifetime, only it was caught by a teenager….
Grind TV apparently caught up with the fishing crew from Ihu Nui charters to ask about the monumental catch:
Though the growing trend is to release large billfish, Kai’s fish succumbed after a ferocious 30-minute battle, so it was hauled to port and weighed in Kailua-Kona.
For second-generation Captain McGrew Rice and crewman Carlton Arai, who have been fishing for much of their lives off Kona, it was the third grander they’ve brought aboard the boat. (On average, two are landed each year in Hawaiian waters. The largest blue marlin ever landed on rod and reel, weighing 1,805 pounds, was caught off Oahu by multiple anglers in 1971.)
Jim Rizzuto, who also was aboard Ihu Nui, said the marlin struck a green Koya Poi Dog lure, described his grandson’s hookup via email:
“We saw the fish jump and immediately went into ‘big-fish mode.’ That meant going hard right from the start. Carlton Arai is world-famous for being cool and calm, but he yelled, ‘Big Fish’ at the top of his lungs and flew across the deck to get the angler settled and bring in the [other] lines.
“The fish tore up the surface from port to starboard and back, which kept us close. Carlton told Kai to push the drag to ‘sunset’ (full bore), and lean on the fish for maximum advantage. McGrew kept after the fish wherever it went. When it got close after 30 minutes, it rolled over and was done. At that point, all matters of possible release became moot.”
All five people aboard could not hoist the billfish entirely onto the boat, but managed to secure it enough for measurements, which are used to determine a probable weight, so they knew they were bringing in a potential grander.
Said Rizzuto: “By the time we got back to the dock, the news of a potential grander had drawn a big crowd. Lots of cheers when the 1,058 pounds was announced. Kai comes to the Big Island several times a year and has been fishing since he was 2. This was his first blue marlin.”
Rizzuto assured that the billfish was not wasted: “Marlin meat is very nutritious and is used in a lot of dishes, from poke and sashimi to sausages, jerky, tacos, fish cake and other delicacies. This fish was shared widely and there are probably more than 100 people enjoying it now.”
Only once have I caught a billfish we didn’t release, and it was due to the fish dying after an hour-long fight. It was a Pacific Blue Marlin out of Los Sueños Marina in Costa Rica caught aboard the Dream II. We went 3 for 3 on Blue Marlin that day, and only lost the one. And I hate to admit it, but it was without a doubt the best tasting fish I’ve ever eaten in my entire life, and it’s not even close. Like, better than anything I’ve caught and cooked or ordered at a Michelin-rated restaurant.
For more on this incredible catch you can head on over to the Ihu Nui Sportfishing Facebook Page. And for all of the photos of the 1,058-pound blue marlin you can check out this gallery on Facebook: