PHOTO: 12-Year-Old Florida Girl Catches Pending World Record Blue Marlin

by Amy Myers

On May 30, 12-year-old Elizabeth Arn and her father, Jonathan, took to the waters of West Africa in search of blue marlin. What the pair found instead was a world record and a trip they’ll never forget.

Originally from Panama Beach, Florida, Elizabeth and Jonathan are no strangers to big catch fishing. Masters of the Gulf, they decided to take their ventures to new waters and see if they could break a world record in the process. So, they joined the Dacia with an all-American crew that traveled to Cape Verde from Miami.

During the five-day trip, the crew managed to catch a total of 13 blue marlin, and four of those were Elizabeth’s. Her prize catch was the 115-inch-long and 624-pound monster that she managed to reel in. This gigantic catch qualifies her to beat the previous Female IGFA Junior Angler record. Currently, the record holder Marlin is a 549-pounder that a fellow Floridian angler caught off the coast of Ghana in 2003.

Father Applauds Young Angler for Solo Fight with Blue Marlin

Once the crew realized what a meaningful catch this would be for Elizabeth, they knew they couldn’t interfere. Helping the young angler in any way would disqualify her catch for the Junior Marlin record. So, it was just the 12-year-old up against a 600-pound fish on the end of her line.

And obviously, she didn’t disappoint with her skills.

Seated in a fighting chair, Elizabeth brought the blue marlin to the boat in just a half-hour. Ever the modest fisherwoman, the record-breaker said that the fish wasn’t all that hard to catch. But her father shared a different perspective.

“Elizabeth did an outstanding job pushing the drag up to 25 pounds to ensure the fish [was] hooked solid, then backing off the drag and taking the rod and transferring it to the fighting chair,” Jonathan told the Pilot, according to Outdoor Life. “This was one of the most challenging parts of catching the fish, no one could assist Elizabeth during the fight. If any of the crew had touched the rod and reel or line during the hookup or fight the catch would have been disqualified by IGFA regulations.”

Despite the marlin’s world-record status, Jonathan clarified that in Cape Verde standards, Elizabeth’s fish was actually pretty standard. Still, that doesn’t make her catch any less impressive. The two recommend traveling to the West Coast of Africa if they’re serious about blue marlin fishing.

“If you really like fishing for blue marlin, you will eventually travel to the Eastern Atlantic,” he said. “It’s a journey to get there, but every time you leave the dock you have a chance to catch a fish exceeding 1,000 pounds.”