In a stunning bluewater angling achievement, a commercial fisherman from the Cook Islands caught a massive blue marlin that set a new island record for the species. Fishing from his 22-foot boat, the Haurau, Pauro Arnold hooked, fought, and landed the marlin entirely on his own, according to Cook Island News. Arnold's fish weighed 1,128 pounds, which also makes it one of the heaviest marlin caught worldwide this year.
"I was overwhelmed to be honest," he told the local news outlet. "I've waited 14 years to do this."
The Cook Islands are a scattered string of 15 islands located northeast of New Zealand, near French Polynesia. Arnold was trolling three miles off the island of Rarotonga, the largest of the 15 and home to the capital city of Avarura, when he hooked the marlin. During the 90-minute battle that ensued, Arnold kept the marlin close to his boat using a short line of about 50 yards. He said the massive fish jumped several dozen times during the battle and made numerous sizzling runs that Arnold estimated at over 35 miles per hour.
“I don’t like letting my marlin go, [so] I kept [the line] short,” said the veteran angler, who also caught a 600-pounder earlier this year.
After the epic battle, Arnold brought the fish back to Avana Harbour, where it was officially weighed and sold to local residents. This was a fact that another local commercial fisherman was proud to share as he defended Arnold's decision to kill the fish.
"Before people complain, Pauro is a commercial fisherman. He trolls two lines, catching one fish at a time," Cameron Thorp wrote in an Instagram post. "The more fish we can catch, the less we have to import from foreign commercial businesses.
"Every single part of that fish gets utilized," Thorp continued. "All the meat gets sold locally, and bones/head get boiled up by local families. Sustainability at its finest."
Arnold, meanwhile, told reporters that he was just happy to provide for his fellow islanders.
“A massive thank you to the ocean and Polynesian spirit,” Arnold said. “These fish demand so much respect. I’m proud to be a Cook Islander, and to bring in these fish in, in my own home."
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Only a few "granders" (a nickname for marlin weighing more than 1,000 pounds) have been caught and recorded in the Cook Islands over the past few years. The previous island record was a 1,045-pound blue marlin caught by Paku Poila in November 2020.