Florida Man Hooks Behemoth Record-Setting Marlin, Fishing Crew Pockets $1.1 Million Tournament Prize

by Courtney Blackann

State records have been smashed this year by eager anglers all around the country. While some of these fish are fairly modest in size, others require a boatload of people to hoist onboard.

This is the case for an extremely lucky Florida fisherman who caught an Atlantic blue marlin over 1,000 pounds – 1,135 pounds to be exact. Moreover, the impressive haul broke the state record. It also earned the fisherman a hefty load of cash, per Chesapeake Bay Magazine.

The angler was able to fight with the giant animal for hours before reeling it in close enough to wrangle it into the boat.

The story unfolded while fishing off the coast of Maryland. It was during the 30th annual Mid-Atlantic Billfish Classic that Florida resident Billy Gerlach felt the bite of his life. With an impressive amount of strength and dedication, it took the man 3 hours to reel in the 1,000-pound marlin. Several crew members aboard the boat had to help drag it into the vessel.

Heading Offshore

While Gerlach planned to go quite aways offshore, the fishing had been fairly slow. The man and his crew were trolling about 70 miles from Ocean City when he felt the pricey marlin grab on.

After a grueling fight, Gerlach knew he was coming back to shore a rich man. The marlin, which broke the previous 2009 state record by more than a hundred pounds, paid out a life-changing $1.1 million dollars.

News of the Goliath fish reached shore before Gerlach and his crew made it back. Awaiting them was an impressive crowd of people eager to see the tournament-winning fish.

As several men lurched the animal onto the official weighing scale, an eruption of noise burst from onlookers when they realized what the fishing crew accomplished.

Interestingly, the grander marlin won’t go to waste in any capacity. Its meat was donated to local food banks. The remaining parts of the fish will be used for scientific studies.

When Marlin Hit Hard

Very early this year, another lucky crew captured a blue marlin. However, this happened in the warmer waters of Kona, HI.

The small fishing vessel headed out into to waters off the coast of Hawaii in the F/V Maverick shortly after New Years this year. It was less than an hour before the crew felt themselves wrestling with a 500-pound creature they knew would be a keeper.

“Another awesome fish for the boss today,” Maverick Sportfishing Kona wrote on Facebook. “Unfortunately, the fish got tail-wrapped and came up backwards, so we had the smoke master ready. We are out the next few days so stand by for hopefully more excitement.”

While the warmer water allows for an active billfish season in Hawaii, many charters catch and release the creatures to preserve conservation of the creatures.