Atlantic blue marlin can weigh more than 1,000 pounds and the International Game Fish Assn. lists a 1,402-pounder as the largest ever caught on rod and reel.But perhaps more impressive was the recent capture of a blue marlin so small that it fits in the palm of a hand.
In fact, Richard Brackett used both cupped hands to scoop up the cute miniature marlin.
(Note: This has been verified by The Billfish Foundation as a blue marlin, even though it looks more like a sailfish. To see the explanation, visit the group's Facebook Page. Also, see photo of baby sailfish pictured at right, and notice the much longer bill.)
Brackett and Joey Cagle were trolling en route to the East Coast swordfish grounds and had battled a couple of sailfish before the sun began to set.
They then set up a drift and that's when Brackett noticed the baby blue swimming beneath the transom lights.
Brackett shares the rest of the story on The Billfish Foundation website:
"After an hour or so, I saw what we thought to be a juvenile sailfish in the transom lights. Being such a last-minute trip, I forgot the dip net so I had to resort to option two.
"I filled the bucket with water, opened the transom door and scooped him up with my hands and set him in the bucket.
"I have to say even at this small size they are crazy aggressive. I got him in my hands in the bucket ... and we snapped a quick picture so we could release it as quickly as possible."
It's a big, cruel world out there, but Brackett and Cagle are hopeful that their itsy-bitsy will survive long enough to become a top-level predator to be reckoned with.
Photo of baby blue marlin courtesy of Richard Brackett. Photo of baby sailfish is courtesy of The Billfish Foundation