662-pound Blue Marlin reeled in near Point Loma

SAN DIEGO — Social media was abuzz late last month with the largest Pacific Blue Marlin catch recorded in more than 80 years.

Angler Matt Santora and Capt. Andy Vo reeled in a 662.2-pound Pacific Blue Marlin on Sept. 23. Santora and Vo weighed in the marlin at The Marlin Club in San Diego.

“It is the largest Pacific Blue marlin weighed in San Diego dating back in The Marlin Club records to 1931,” International Game Fish Association (IGFA) representative John Campbell, who witnessed the weigh-in, said in an email. “This is a rare catch for these waters. They are generally found in warmer waters but we have warm 74- to 78-degree water now. [The marlins] are here because they are chasing their favorite food, which is dorado, and tuna.”

Campbell said the marlin was hooked 9 miles west of Point Loma on 100-pound test line and lure at 8:15 a.m. on Sept. 23.

Santora fought the marlin for several hours before bringing it to The Marlin Club for an official weigh-in. The angler first believed he had a wahoo at the other end of his line but soon realized he was chasing a marlin. 

“I thought it was a wahoo at first. I knew it was a big fish thought it would be 350 to 400 pounds,” Santora said, adding the boat’s crew poured energy drinks and fed crackers into his mouth as he battled the marlin.

Santora said he did not release the big fish because, in his judgment, the marlin would not survive.

“I believe if I were to release it, he probably wouldn’t be able to survive,” said Santora, who runs finbomb.com.

A 692-pound blue marlin was reportedly caught near Balboa Island in 1931.

The Marlin Club reported 32 marlins were caught so far in 2015; 23 of the marlin were released. Santora’s catch was one of 9 marlin brought to the club for a weigh-in.

IGFA published “Release Rules” on its website, provided a framework for anglers to follow when fishing inland or offshore.

“Recreational anglers – whether weekend fishermen, world record hunters, or tournament competitors – are becoming increasingly conscious of the need to conserve the fish they love to pursue. More and more tournaments are adopting an all-release format, necessitating a standard for released catches,” a statement on the IGFA website read. “The International Game Fish Association has codified a new set of Release Rules to clarify and support the ideals of ethical recreational angling.

“It is IGFA’s hope that establishing a definition for an ‘official IGFA release’ will not only institute a standard by which anglers can compare releases, but also, and more importantly, encourage anglers to continue releasing fish,” the statement continued.

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