Hawaii woman reels in half-ton marlin, loses prize

Posted Aug. 23, 2012, at 10:16 p.m.

HONOLULU — A Hawaii tournament fisher fought a 12-foot, half-ton marlin in the Pacific Ocean for more than four hours before she and her teammates got the monster fish out of the water — but she missed out on the glory and thousands of dollars in prize money.

Molly Palmer, 28, would have needed to reel in the fish by herself in order for it to qualify as a valid catch for the tournament, according to rules set by the International Game Fishing Association.

But her team helped her pull the massive marlin aboard — so all the Kailua-Kona angler got was a fish story.

Palmer told The Associated Press that her team wasn’t overly concerned about getting disqualified hauling the fish on deck, because they just wanted to land the big catch.

“I didn’t come here to set world records,” Palmer said. “I didn’t even really come here to win money. I came here to catch fish and that’s just what we were there to do.”

Palmer’s fish weighed in at 1,022.5 pounds, well over the record of 950 pounds for a woman using a 130-pound line, tournament organizer Jody Bright said.

Cheating would have been easy and tempting. The Big Island Invitational Marlin Tournament runs in part on an honor system and Palmer, her captain and crewmates put up roughly $9,000 to enter last week.

“I’ve had people try to slide things past me for a whole lot less money, for a less important thing than a world record,” Bright said.

“We don’t have officials on the field like you do in baseball or football or anything like that,” he said. “Everybody’s playing on the open ocean playing field and since there’s nobody there checking to see if you stepped out of bounds or any of that sort of stuff there’s a whole lot of opportunity to do things nobody would know of.”

Palmer said breaking the rules never crossed her mind.

“The question was only can I land the fish or not,” she said.

Officials at the International Game Fishing Association were not immediately available late Wednesday.

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