Fishing can be a nice way to relax with nothing but the sensations of nature to keep you company, but sometimes, it can be a lot more stressful. You might not think of fishing as being a sport, let alone a dangerous one, but with some fish (such as the tuna) weighing upwards of 300kg (660 lbs), snaring an aquatic creature requires no small amount of skill, or even luck.
Fishing shows like Deadliest Catch are watched by millions around the world, and in the endless battle between men and the sea, the fishermen don’t always come out on top.
Back in January 2013, a fishing crew off the coast of Panama came across a black marlin in the waters below. Native to the Indian and Pacific oceans, these fish can travel up to 80mph underwater, and as one of the biggest bony fish in the world, they can be a massive target for a fisherman looking for an impressive haul. When the vessel known as Abundancia took on this marlin, nature prevailed against man, as the entire boat sank in the Gulf of Panama.
On January 18th, an offshore boat from the West Coast Fishing Club in Panama sank into the waters after a confrontation with a black marlin. Estimated to have weighed around 500 pounds, the marlin proved too tough for Abundancia, leaving four crew members as well as several guests on the boat uninjured, but significantly wetter than they were before.
While black marlin are notoriously fast and powerful fish, this particular nautical mishap was in part down to human error on the boat. In order to snare the black marlin, the captain of the boat used a technique known as “backing down”: he placed the boat in reverse gear, which helps the fishing line to reel in a tough fish such as the black marlin.
Unfortunately for the Abundancia, a rogue wave overtook the stern of the boat, putting the entire vessel off-balance, and soon, the boat was toppled. The ejected passengers of the Abundancia were discovered by another member of the West Coast Fishing Club, and vice president of the club, Brian Grange, says he’s happy that nobody was injured in this sea excursion.
“We are relieved to report that the anglers, the captain and crew were all evacuated from the vessel without injury or loss of life, thanks to the quick response by the captain and crew of one of our other boats. Our practice has always been to fish within sight or radio contact with a sister vessel, and in this case, one of our other boats was very close by, which enabled an immediate response
The angler of the rescue boat, Dave Saenz, pulled out a camera to try and capture the fish before it escaped, and said the fish weighed around 500 to 600 lbs, and called it “extremely acrobatic”. So awestruck was he by the exploits of the black marlin, Saenz booked another trip to Panama with the West Coast Fishing Club right away.
Founded in 1988, the West Coast Fishing Club has provided entertaining holidays for fishing enthusiasts for nearly 30 years. Accidents like the one involving the Abundancia in 2013 are bound to happen, but Brian Grange says the club is well equipped to handle such occurrences, saying they’ve put “a great deal of money in onboard safety equipment and hundreds of man hours annually to ensure that if something arises, we are prepared to deal with it.”