Travel

Quest for the Royal Billfish Slam

Target: Pacific Blue Marlin

Toomey went for another Pacific blue marlin to shave 11 days off his time.

Dave Ferrell

May 15, 2013: Los Sueños, Costa Rica

A good friend, Joan Vernon, arranged for Toomey and Miller to stay at the Los Sueños Resort and fish with Capt. Bubba Carter aboard Tijereta, along with Capt. Dana Thomas. After a one-hour run to the fishing grounds, they deployed the baits with a spread that included two teasers and four circle-hook-rigged ballyhoo.

Schools of bait and porpoises stretched for miles, and it wasn’t long before a blue marlin appeared. As Carter teased the fish toward the boat, Toomey positioned the pitch. The marlin disappeared off the teaser and then, in a textbook bite, reappeared on the bait, opened its mouth and ate the ballyhoo.

Toomey immediately dropped back, let the fish disappear with the bait, engaged the drag and waited for the circle hook to do its thing. As the line went tight, a beautiful 225-pound blue marlin leaped out of the water in a series of impressive jumps. As line peeled off the reel, Toomey knew he’d had a good, clean hookup, and within a few action-packed minutes, the marlin was boat-side for pictures and release.

Toomey had done it — caught the Pacific blue marlin and reduced his royal slam time down to 32 days, besting the original Ruwitch record by four days!

Despite the convoluted logistics, the weather forecasts around the world that had needed deciphering, and enduring grueling conditions, jet lag, close quarters and countless pulled hooks, they’d done it. Fifty-three days after Toomey and Cannon had left Miami, they had both achieved royal slams, both beat the previously held 36-day record, and both had memories and bragging rights to last a lifetime.