When Samantha Dereschuk went deep-sea fishing for the first time ever in May 2013, she was just happy to be there. She was enjoying a Hawaiian vacation visiting family when she decided to fulfill her longtime ambition to try her luck on the ocean. She immediately enjoyed her voyage on the Magic, a 50-foot Pacifica Sport Fisherman under the charge of captain Russell Tanaka. Once she caught a 20-lb. tuna, she figured that had been the excitement for the day. Little did she know that the excitement was still to come.
“In the first few hours, I caught a yellowfin tuna. It was 20 lbs., and I reeled that one in super easy,” she tells Griffin’s Guide. “Nine hours into the trip, we were about four hours offshore. You couldn’t see any of the islands from our position. I was about to eat lunch and there was a commotion on the boat. I could hear lines being hit. The fish hit two lines and spun the out, then spun my line. I jumped in my chair and worked the line, a 130-lb. test line. Based on the line marks on the reel, I must have reeled it in a dozen times. The fish did acrobatics; it was jumping out of the water. It took every muscle in my body to keep my butt in the chair!
“It took an hour and a half to get it in. It took five people to get it in the boat. They clubbed it to get it into the boat. They pulled up the head first, then had to haul up the fin. We were holding the swing door on the boat open, and the captain was worried that it wouldn’t fit! I couldn’t tell how big it was in the boat until they hoisted it up at the marina and measured it.”
The end result? A monster thirteen-and-a-half-foot Pacific blue marlin coming in at 846 lbs. “It was the biggest fish in the marina this year,” says Dereschuk. But she didn’t lay claim to the fish: The charter company sells large catches to a local smokehouse (to make fish jerky) in order to help sustain their business. On this non-tourney charter, customers draw cards and are assigned a numbered reel, and then rotate throughout the day. “When I got home, everyone asked, ‘Didn’t you get the fish?’ But it was not technically my fish; I didn’t have any choice in the matter.”
Still, Dereschuk didn’t go home empty-handed. “I kept the tuna,” she laughs. “And I ate it!”