Wanted to share my review of Topshape, First, things first though. I caught a 524lb Blue Marlin! While I know first hand that you are never guaranteed of catching a fish, I believe Al (captain) and John (his crewmate) along with an amazing boat, top of the line gear, knowledge, and perseverance put me in the best position for the strike. And it was John's active coaching and Al's positioning that helped me get my first big game fish to the boat. It was a 45 minute battle and it created a memory of a lifetime.
Getting onboard - We rolled up around 8AM where we were greeted by Al and John. I had noticed in the pictures of the boat that the crew was wearing long sleeves shirts so I figured it was likely for the sun. Wear something long as if you end up in the "hot seat" the rays of kona will fry your arms. John told me that the area is known as the "skillet" . So remember - long sleeves (light cotton preferably). The first thing that caught my eye was the gear. It all looked brand new and very high end. Then we toured the inside cabin. Again - it looked brand new and luxe (nicer than my condo!).
Capt Al then gave us (5 in total) the rundown. Simple and straightforward. Al is a professional and he takes great pride in his craft. He loves to fish and it shows. We never felt like this was a paid gig for Al or John. It was all about the fish. Big Fish.
We headed out a ways..my guess is about 3-5 miles. Al and John have these hi-tech binoculars that help them see thing (birds, fish swarms, etc) in rough seas. And on this day it was a little bumpy. I would definitely recommend wearing a Dramamine patch. I didn't and didn't get sick but felt a little nauseous - don't eat the safeway breakfast burrito on the way to the boat - trust me.
We trolled around for a while following some birds and dolphins and occasionally seeing a bait ball off in the distance. Then BAM! Out of nowhere Al sees the marlin hit the bait. He yells to John who jumps to the rod. I immediately headed for the chair. A few seconds later we see this beauty jump straight up. Al immediately comments on the size. Saying "thats a trophy". It seems like its so close to the boat when all of a sudden the think takes off with about 6000 ft of line. Then it jumps twice and literally dances backward on the water. When it jumped the second time I was thinking it was smaller than I thought but that's because it was so far away. The rush you get when you see it jump - its like no other.
Even though I was the one fortunate enough to reel it in everyone helped. My son's took turns dousing me with water as I was sweating up a storm trying to pull it in and my brother in-laws were moving my chair and encouraging me...they all felt like they were part of the action.
Overall a very memorable day with great people a great outcome and new friends (Al and John). I couldn't give this team a higher rating!!! It was perfect!!
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