The month of June lived up to it's reputation as a marlin month in Guatemala with the 'Decisive' releasing at least one blue marlin on every outing, and together with the flat seas, great weather and a splattering of sailfish activity kept all our anglers extremely happy.
We started with our friend John Bailey of Huntingtown, Maryland bringing down his daughter Kristen to enjoy the Guatemalan billfishing experience as well as for her to learn more about hooking and fighting billfish. The sailfish were a little on the scarce side which made the hands-on hookup side a little tuff, but what we missed in sailfish we more than made up for in marlin. On our first day out dad John hooked an aggressive 350 pound blue on which Kristen got to pull and feel the power of her first blue marlin. We stepped up the pace the following day, with Kristen releasing 2 sailfish and 2 blue marlin to really start mastering the art of standup fishing, as well as celebrate her birthday in fine Guatemalan billfishing and hospitality style. By day three Kristen's angling technique was really coming together and it was a very happy John who watched his daughter release her 4th blue marlin using fine controlled form, to end a superb 3 day trip.
Our lodge neighbor Dr's Scott and Kristy Lund came down to enjoy their Guatemalan vacation home the 16th and 17th of June, bring with them Dr. Scott and Ami Schwerdlin, of Palm Beach to enjoy in the fun. Carlos Arrivillaga, our friend from Guatemala was also along to enjoy the first day to see Scott Schwerdlen release his first Pacific standup blue marlin, a 250lb fish in fine fashion. Not to be outdone, Scott Lund released a similar size blue the next morning, and we missed a larger 300lb plus size fish latter in the day but keeped our unbreakable marlin run rolling.
To see the season out, my wife Cindy invited her close cousin and family down on the 19th to celebrate her birthday Billfish Inn style. With the blue water and marlin in so close we decided to give the boat it's last run and were rewarded with an early blue marlin raise early 7 miles, followed by 5 sailfish and then a spectacular jumping 250lb blue which Patyi's son Ronny released and we got great from the water footage of, for our upcoming full feature DVD release. It was a superb way to see the season out, although a little pity we did not get out more times this month as the marlin were definitely out there but as the word gets out, marlin anglers may well take advantage of this and book a May, June or October trip with this in mind.
We have come to the end of another great Guatemalan billfishing season, and one that will stand out in my memory as one of the most special in many different ways. There was talk of the sailfishing being a little slower than normal, but our anglers still released an impressive 1903 sailfish and we had the very best blue marlin bite in Guatemalan history. Our 40ft Gamefishermen the 'Decisive' showed her true form raising the fish like no other and never missing a days beat. It was most fulfilling to see us being able to take advantage of the marlin with such consistency, out releasing any other boat by more than double the number of marlin releases. It is not easy catching blue marlin at the very best of times, especially when trying to target sailfishing on light conventional or fly tackle at the very same time, which makes things even more challenging. Team 'Decisive' came through with flying colors and it is a testament to the skills of a great team and their anglers to see us do so well teasing and pitch-baiting to the blues on our 50lb Alutecnos standup rig, to turn for what for many other boats here was an average stretch, into a highlight season. For this month of June alone we released at least one marlin on every outing and in the last 41 days on the water have released an amazing 41 blue marlin, to reinforce my opinion that the blue marlin fishing here peaks from May through until November. Our total for the season includes 64 blue marlin releases, 2 striped marlin (which are rare for here) and the 1903 sailfish releases, adding to an impressive total of 1969 billfish releases for the season, none of which would have been possible without the undying commitment of our anglers and supports like Eros Cataneo's of Alutecnos, as well as the boys at Pelagic, Eagle Claw, Moldcraft and Legend Lures and the many other individuals who assist us on a daily basis to make this all possible, none the least "Decisive" owner Steve Cothron who brings it all together and enjoyed another top year onboard.
Cindy and I are heading back to South Africa for two months of visiting with family and friends, as well as some hunting and photo safaris, after which we'll be in Madeira for 3 weeks targeting the big blue marlin there along with my buddy Clay Hensley and James Roberts. Our bookings are looking very good for next season, we have a gap or two here and there as well as some great fishing days in October, as well as latter on in May and June of next year available still, but they are filling fast.
I'll drop in a Madeira report sometime in mid-September, but until we start here again in October, good fishing to you all. Tight lines, circle hooks, healthy releases and smooth sailing.
Capt. Brad Philipps