Boat Down During Marlin Fight, Panama captain loses control

Photo credits: The Billfish Report,

While fighting a marlin in Panama, the captain backs down on the fish, but loses control of his vessel. Fortunately, all aboard were rescued.

Reports from sources say that the captain, while aggressively backing down on the marlin, slipped and lost control of the wheel. The boat then dug down further into the seas, taking on water and eventually sinking. All onboard were safely taken aboard another nearby vessel.

While backing down hard on a big fish it’s common to get the seas very close to the transom top. Maybe even a couple of inches from the top of the transom is about where the seas might be in such a battle, at least momentarily. Cockpits full of sea water are not out of the ordinary, either, but require immediate action. The scuppers won’t work when the cockpit is filled with water, maybe with one big wave over the transom.

In such a case, you can go to neutral and then start forward to let the water escape. You can even open the tuna door. The boat then regains its buoyancy.

  • strike yachts

    Friends & fellow fishermen,
    Please allow us an opportunity to shed some light on the recent incident involving one very determined black marlin and one highly capable Strike Yachts 37 ft. walk-around.
    As you have recently read and certainly seen in a series of jaw-dropping photos across various forums, an unfortunate accident occurred off the Pacific coast earlier this month involving the loss of a local chart boat. Understand that this was nothing but a freak accident, which could have unfolded anywhere and at any time. And while the precise cause of the incident may never be fully determined, we are extremely thankful that fellow fishermen were nearby and that no one was injured, that is what matters the most. As a matter of fact, the group of anglers aboard the stricken vessel actually went fishing the following day, determined to recapture their marlin.
    As the vessel’s manufacturer, we feel compelled to address the falsifications and misquoted information floating around. In response to a number of misconceptions, the black marlin did not sink the boat. This impressive vessel has been proven across the globe. She is nearly 40 ft. long, features a 36” high transom from the waterline and a hefty 13 ft. beam. No fish is pulling this boat under.
    A stepped hull design had absolutely nothing to do with the incident. Additionally, the engine room, or no other part of the vessel was flooded in any way. The photos clearly depict the twin inboard diesels operating as normal. There was no cracked exhaust system and no loose hose fitting. This particular craft was meticulously maintained and was fully equipped with multiple bilge pumps and high water alarms. This same vessel has been chartering and catching fish in the rich Panamanian waters under various conditions since she was splashed more than two years ago and has backed down on hundreds of marlin without incident.
    Direct from Panama, I was informed that conditions were not as calm as they appear in the series of published photos. Rather, there was a large swell present which is very common in the Pacific. After hooking the fish of a lifetime, the captain did what all experienced skippers would, and backed down hard on the powerful marlin as it attempted to elude capture. Unexpectedly, a large swell crashed over the transom. This alone is nothing of concern, and a common occurrence. However to no fault of his own, the operator in the tower lost his footing. Now with his feet literally slipping out from under him and the vessel still hard in reverse, a second large swell crashes over the transom. At this stage, the frantic skipper, with his hands still on the throttle and continuing to slip even further, unintentionally pull the throttle lever into full reverse, effectively driving the flooded transom directly into the oncoming sea. Inevitably, she leaned hard to starboard as she continued to dig beyond the point of return, all of this happening in mere seconds. It is easy to picture how this tragedy occurred as the Captain was facing aft with his hands controlling the throttles from behind his back.
    Sportfish yachts are not typically designed to be driven directly into an oncoming sea in full reverse. This was a freak accident and no one is to blame (well, maybe the marlin). Thankfully everyone is safe.

  • Travis Isensee

    That Captain will never here the end of that one.

  • Capitan Allan Starr

    what capn,needs training wheels ,idiot so sick of seeing that bullshit,fukn jerk.