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Andy Cho is the world’s most accomplished angler to fish from a kayak. Known to his friends at Hawaii’s Aquahunters.com as F.B.I. (From Big Island), he’s the only champion the annual eight-month marathon Makihiki Pro tournament has ever seen. This is the catch that cemented the Kona-based Cho’s legend.
It is August 30. For the first time, Cho trails in the Makahiki race. He won’t for long. At 7:30 am, his live opelu takes a crushing hit. “It started taking off and I thought, “Ho, what is this?” he says.
Cho hammered the hook home. Instantly, a big blue marlin takes to the skies, tail-walking dangerously toward Cho. It whips narrowly past. The fight is on.
The blue powers Cho two miles out from shore, into the abyssal depths, pulling a staggering 900 feet of line from Cho’s heavy-duty reel. It’s just a matter of time. Cho is implacable.
“When I got it up to leader, I said “Ho, this thing’s kinda big,” Cho remembers. He’s right. The fish is too wide to hoist on his Ocean Kayak Prowler Big Game, one of the largest fishing kayaks available at the time. He calls his brother Steve. “I got a marlin, wanna come cruise out and help me out?”
They wedged the marlin between their two kayaks, took their kayak paddles apart, and paddled back to shore outrigger canoe style. At Honokohau Harbor, Cho’s blue clocked in at 225.5 pounds, the heaviest kayak-caught fish to yet make it to a scale.