By: Parimal M. Rohit
NEWPORT BEACH – When an angler named A. Hamann caught a 692-pound blue marlin off the Orange County coast on Aug. 13, 1931, Herbert Hoover was the United States President and neither the 714 nor 949 area codes existed.
According to an official record book, the marlin was the second largest fish ever caught in California and more than 400 pounds shy of the 1,098-pound shortfin mako shark captured by Sean Gizatullin in 2010 near Anacapa Island.
But on Oct. 13, 2014 Anthony Hsieh came pretty close to getting into the same record book when he reeled in a 462-pound blue marlin. While the catch is smaller than the one caught in 1931, however, news reports indicate Hseih’s game fish find appears to be the first blue marlin catch of this summer/fall season and most recent in a few years. It is unclear whether Hsieh’s catch was the first blue marlin catch in 83 years or merely the largest since.
Aboard his Hatteras Bad Company, Hsieh told The Log he and his crew of four caught the 462-pound blue marlin within 18 minutes. The time was corroborated by the official weighing station in Avalon Harbor. Hsieh added the catch was made almost as soon as he and his crew set sail. Leaving the Newport Beach shore early morning on Oct. 13, the blue marlin was caught just after 8 a.m. between Catalina and San Clemente Islands using a 130-pound line.
“Killed one over 4 a little after 8am. Steve, Pete, Elisio, and Ron on board. 18 min between the islands. 130 gear. Strange fishing blue marlin in long pants, will weigh it at Avalon tonight,” Hsieh said on his Facebook page at 9 a.m. on Oct. 13.
Hsieh added the blue marlin remained in Avalon after its weigh-in, where it was “being smoked.”
According to reports, while Hsieh was the first angler to boat a blue marlin this fishing season, another crew lost out on the prized fish it hooked earlier this year after a four-hour battle.
Blue marlin are a rare find along the Southern California coast – even more rare this late in the year – though the warmer weather is keeping water temperatures high enough to make for some eventful fishing in October. Generally found in open waters and far away from land, blue marlin generally navigates waters where temperatures reach 70 to 86 degrees.
While the blue marlin catch was a rare one, black marlins have reportedly been a popular catch. According to the Marlin Club of San Diego, there were 68 reported marlin catches, tags or releases as of Oct. 14, compared to just eight in 2013.