Giant Black Marlin on the Great Barrier Reef – Photos by Hans Feurer

This rare sequence of photographs by legendary Swiss photographer Hans Feurer captures an unusual moment in the world of big game marlin fishing – breaking wire on a black marlin.  The year is 1979, The action takes places aboard the Avalon, owned and skippered by Peter Bristow.  The location is somewhere on the Australian Great Barrier Reef.  Hans had contacted Captain Peter Bristow indicating his love of the big fish and requesting that he be given permission to ride along and take photographs of the action. Permission was granted and Hans spent two weeks with us documenting the experience of living, diving, fishing, eating, drinking and partying on the GBR.  What a pleasure to have Hans on board!  Good times, for sure!  The ‘wireman’ (me!) wears the blue visor, the 2nd mate, ‘Woodduck’, holds the tag stick used to implant a research tag in the fish before release.

FRAME 1:  An unusually calm day on the reef.  For those unclear about the particulars of this type of fishing, the tackle is 130lb test with a 30′ wire leader attached by swivel to the end of the line.  At the end of the wire is, of course, the hook attached to the bait fish.  In this frame the fish (approx. 300-400lbs) is about as ‘green’ as green gets, and has been brought to the boat quite quickly by the angler, the swivel reeled up to the rod tip and I have already taken some good ‘wraps’ on the wire.  The rod tip is low, as it should be, resting at my shoulder, and I have myself braced against the transom of the Avalon.  Note the red handled wire cutters tucked into Woodduck’s speedos, used to cut the wire after the tag is in place.  Follow the action and you will see that on this particular occasion he will not need them…

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FRAME 2:  The fish is airborne – much of the wire is still just underneath the surface of the water…but not for long!

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FRAME 3:  The fish has continued its explosive jump.  Woodduck is signaling Capt. Bristow to halt any forward movement of the boat but it’s too late – the wire has snapped and the fish has broken free.  Breaking wire on a fish is not the ideal situation but it sometimes happens on smaller fish like this one.  

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FRAME 4:  My expression is one of real pain because the wire has snapped back and nailed me in the face – not fun.  Zoom in and you can see it curled and hanging off my shoulders, trailing off behind me. Another great day of fishing on the GBR!

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FRAME 5:  The letter from Hans that was included with the photographs.  

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