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Qld Teen Nets World Record 496kg Marlin


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Qld teen nets world record 496kg marlin

A north Queensland teenager battled a black marlin almost 10 times his weight for more than an hour before reeling it in to set a new world junior fishing record.

Alex Johnston, 14, proudly showed off the catch of the decade - a five metre, 496kg giant - that he hooked while fishing Linden Banks, about 80km off Cairns.

"I've been trying to do this since I was nine," Alex told the Cairns Post.

"It's pretty cool."

The marlin eclipsed his previous junior world record of a 485.5kg tiger shark.

Proud dad Graham Johnston, whose charter boat Shikari's manoeuvrability helped secure the catch, said Alex was a natural who landed his first black marlin at age nine.

"He's been at it a long time," Mr Johnston said.

"Everyone in the marlin industry knows him. He does the lot."

Mr Johnston said it took Alex just 75 minutes to reel the monster female into the boat despite the attention of a host of large bull and tiger sharks.

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An update on the kid who landed that big marlin this week...Seems not everyone was happy with his record catch:



World record fisher gets death threats

From The S.M.H.

November 30, 2006 - 7:25PM

A teenager who landed a 496kg black marlin has been sent death threats in an angry backlash against his world record catch.

Alex Johnston battled the 5m female fish almost 10 times his weight for more than an hour off Cairns, in far north Queensland, before reeling it in to set a world junior fishing record on Sunday.

It was proudly displayed in a public weigh-in before and he and his father Graham towed the majestic game fish back out to sea to watch it get ripped to pieces by sharks.

The marlin was estimated to be up to 20 years old.

Mr Johnston, president of the Cairns Game Fishing Club, said one person wrote to his son hoping he would die a "slow and torturous death".

Another said the teenager should be fed to the sharks.

"It's completely over the top," Mr Johnston said, describing his son's critics as "crackpots, nutters and rabid animal libbers".

"Most are just gutless peewees who sit behind a computer screen."

Mr Johnston, who described himself as a conservationist, said he usually released 99 per cent of his fish but killed the marlin for a weigh-in because it was a world-record catch.

The Queensland's RSPCA labelled the catch as "cruel" and said everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves.

"This boy and his fellow fishermen who kill our magnificent creatures of the sea are no better than game hunters and the poachers of Africa who kill elephants for their tusks as trophies," RSPCA Queensland spokesman Mark Townend said.

"It makes me ashamed to be Australian when people destroy the environment like this."

Australians also voiced their anger in letters to newspapers.

"Appalling! You have to be a sicko to get pleasure out of watching such a magnificent creature's death throes", wrote "Barry" in a web blog to The Courier-Mail.

Others wanted such "barbaric" game fishing to be banned by law.

Dr David Williams, a principal research scientist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science, said the marlin would have been born in Coral Sea between 10 to 20 years ago.

It would have hatched "billions" of eggs and travelled "thousands of miles" in its lifetime, he said.

"After it had hatched and grown up into a small animal, it most likely would have drifted down the coast in the east Australian current," Dr Williams said.

"Then it could've moved all the way across to South America."

Dr Williams said marlins over 180kg tended to be females.

It's not known how long they live, but available information on age indicates that the fish can reach 15kg in their first year, 30kg in their second year and up to 55kg in their third year.

Black marlin females grow in excess of 700kg.

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Guest danielinbyron

I think it sounds pretty wasteful , feeding her to the sharks... I don't know anything about Marlin fishing , there numbers and how or if its possible to release them after such an epic battle.. I don't like the idea that its not possible to get a record without killing the fish. Maybe Ross could illuminate.

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