Alexandra Nuttall's first-ever catch of a Pacific blue marlin probably will earn the Australian angler a world record.
She landed the 958-pound behemoth off Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, where she was vacationing recently with her boyfriend, Nick Durham.
Nuttall grabbed the rod, climbed into the fighting chair and waged a 90-minute battle with a marlin that was eight pounds heavier than the current women's record in the 130-pound-test line category.
(The International Game Fish Association 950-pound blue marlin caught off Mauritius in 1994 as the record.)
"It was without a doubt one of the most exhilarating things that I have ever done," Nuttall said of her catch. "I fish a lot back home in Australia. Although I have caught many sharks, ono, and ahi here at home, I have spent the last few years chasing my elusive first marlin."
Van Mols was hired specifically to find a blue marlin for Nuttall, and he knew that the fish weighed at least 900 pounds when it jumped soon after striking the lure. "She was kind of in shock," he said of the angler's response to such an impressive sight.
"We usually let our marlin go but we were prepared to take a fish if we knew it had a shot at a record. So we got our flying gaffs out."
The marlin was subdued with flying gaffs and hauled aboard by crewman J.D. Hudson, Durham and Van Mols.
"It was a task dragging a huge marlin like that through the [vessel's] back door with only four people, but we managed," Nuttall said. "The feeling that we may have gotten the world record only sunk in on our way back to the harbor. I don't remember ever feeling the sort of happiness that I was feeling at that point."
An IGFA representative questioned Nuttall at the marina and her catch has been submitted for world record consideration.
She won't know for at least a few weeks whether she'll be credited with the record, but Van Mols said IGFA rules were adhered to during the fight.
Of Nuttall he added: "She did an outstanding job. She's a strong girl with good strong legs."
The captain said the marlin did not go to waste. "The front half of the fish was molded by a local taxidermist to make a head mount for Alex, and the back half was sold for marlin jerky," he said.
The Kona coast is famous for its big blue marlin and several weighing 500 pounds or more have been caught during the spring. The action usually picks up during the summer, Van Mols said, but the larger fish become harder to find.
--Photos showing Alex Nuttall, boyfriend Nick Durham and the Monkey Biz II crew are courtesy of The Charter Desk--Follow Pete Thomas on Facebook and Twitter