Salt Water in the Blood

My father took me trout fishing when I was six years old. This was the beginning of my great passion for angling. Towards the end of the seventies we visited Florida and finished up in Key West where all those beautiful white yachts and charter boats docked in the marina having caught fish with long bills and big sails. The moment I saw them I knew at once: I want to catch fish like those myself. So I chartered a boat together with some other tourist anglers. By the end of the day we had a multicolored collection of snappers, groupers and mackerel in the ice-box, but we had failed to catch a sailfish.

By the time I got home I was completely obsessed with the thought of catching a sailfish once in my life. In those days it was difficult in Germany to find suitable information on big game fishing. There were no such things as the internet or smart phones so American fishing magazines and books were the main source of information. We simply lapped up any details we could get, after which it was a question of learning by doing.

In the early eighties we spent our vacation in Hawaii – the ultimate big game fishing center. Unfortunately we were in this great spot at the wrong time of the year. We caught wahoo, dorado and yellowfin tuna – bit again no billfish. Hope springs eternal (as they say) but after the fourth vacation and more than fifty trips without a single marlin contact, my frustration levels (at that time) got the better of me – never again marlin fishing off Hawaii?

Yet the following year we were back in Hawaii again. At long last I raised a hard-fighting marlin for the first time. During trip number 61, and probably at a time when my spirits couldn’t have been any lower or my angling frustration any higher, I had that liberating marlin strike and a hook-up. It was a small striped marlin of about 120 lbs. – my first marlin after all those years, but man was I happy…

After that I travelled to Kenya in 1992. We were rewarded with a rich catch of sailfish and tons of bycatch. From then on things got better and better in terms of catch success.

New destinations had to be found. I was so passionate that I bought my first set of big game tackle, spent days tying knots and double leaders, performed load tests and did plenty of dry runs. I wanted to do more and more on my own and tried to perfect everything. In theory things went a lot better than they did later on in reality.

The adage “When in Rome…” can also be applied to fishing. After every trip it was my goal to filter out the best tips and tricks from all the skippers and deckhands and then to optimize and perfect them.

The absolute culmination of my angling career came on 30th January, 2007 off Rodrigues. With a cyclone coming up behind us and fifteen feet waves, a marlin snapped at my bait. It was a big marlin, the marlin of my life as this Pacific Blue weighed in at 1,238 lbs. and was later confirmed as the IGFA world record in the 80 lb. class. It had taken one of my unnamed lures that I had been taking along in my tackle box for years. Afterwards I couldn’t bear the thought of dragging this lure through the high seas again and possibly losing it, so it now has a place of honor behind glass in a display cabinet.

I started reading books on how to best run up one’s own marlin lures. I wanted to make replicas of this particular lure. Drafts and technical drawings were prepared and then the first lure heads were turned on a lathe in my cellar. These sample lures were then subjected to the acid test on vacation. Some finished up in the rubbish bin and some went into serial production. This is how our BluewaterFishing lures came into being, one of which I used to catch my second weighed marlin grander, an Atlantic blue of 1,150 lbs., in May 2011 in the Cape Verde Islands. In the meantime, BluewaterFishing lures are used all over the world and one of my greatest pleasures is to see other anglers successfully catching fish with them, which makes me feel happy.

Apart from hunting big game, over recent years I have developed a taste for popper and fly fishing. This interest remains at the top of my fishing list to this very day. It is no longer a question of the ultimate size or the ultimate weight but has more to do with the atmosphere that surrounds you – with one single exception. Since until now no fisherman in the world has been able to catch a weighed grander slam, I set myself this target and pushed my angling luck by travelling to the Great Barrier Reef in search of a black marlin grander.

26th of October 2019. After 8 years and a total of 96 days’ fishing the Great Barrier Reef I finally succeeded in officially catching and weighing a grander Black Marlin of 1,032 lbs. and thus become the world’s first angler to achieve a Marlin Grander Slam. It was a tough time but the hunt for this ultimate record is now over. You can’t imagine how huge the burden was that fell off my shoulders. From now on marlin fishing will take on an entirely new dimension; no more stress, no more record hunting, just pure fishing for fun.

Tight Lines, Stephan Kreupl