It was 12.30pm on Saturday, on the south side of Rarotonga, 10 miles out from Tikioki, when the rod bent. They had hooked a blue marlin.
The two were out on Thorp’s small homemade ‘Poti Marara’ styled boat, with a relatively small Yamaha Marine F130 motor, during the Don Beer Memorial fishing competition held over the weekend.
“We knew it was big,” Thorp says.
They thought, perhaps 300kg. They had no idea how big it really was.
“We fought it for about 3 hours,” he says. “It took another two hours planing the fish up” said Thorp.
Using a Shimano Tiagra 80w reel with a 60kg line, they finally got the marlin on board at 5.30pm: 1041 pounds (472.6 kg) of pure muscle.
It was the first “Grander” – a fish weighing in over 1,000 pounds – caught on rod and reel anywhere in the world this year.
“It’s a dream to hit this, Thorp says. “I’ve been waiting fifteen years to get a grander.”
Friends who were also out fishing, Papa Buckley, Buckley Jr and Kieran Thorp, helped drag the marlin on board. It took all of them to get it in the boat.
Arriving back at Avatiu wharf it was a mad dash to the weighing station; the boat with the marlin laying on top was quickly maneuvred onto its trailer, and driven to the Cook Islands Game Fishing Club to have its weight recorded.
Not surprisingly, Thorp placed first in the fishing contest for the heaviest fish, and the boat also collected the bonus prize of $1,000 for the first marlin over 300kg weighed in during a competition.
And the fish? It was shared amongst friends and family.