Chesapeake youngster tackles tough challenge – The Virginian

VIRGINIA BEACH

There is a list as long as a spool of line of things most anglers will never do.

One of the things is fight a blue marlin – especially when the fight includes using stand-up gear, where the angler wears a belt and sometimes a back brace to hold onto the rod and reel.

If Austin Gies continues to do things most others haven’t, the scratch-offs on his list will be plenty by the time he gives up fishing.

Austin, an 11-year-old from Chesapeake, had the experience that probably will remain at the top of his list for a long time during a trip to Key Largo, Fla.

He caught a the blue marlin that was considerably bigger than him.

“When the mate pulled it into the boat for pictures, I couldn’t believe how big it was,” said Austin, a sixth-grader at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy.

Austin’s family lives on the Elizabeth River, where the youngster has gotten plenty of experience, catching mostly croaker and a few speckled trout.

So he was excited about the opportunity to do a little offshore fishing for bigger species.

His dad, Rob Gies, said the family was expecting to catch mostly dolphin because the reels were spooled with 20-pound test line.

They got much more and got it quickly.

“We were only out about 30 minutes,” said Austin, a Boy Scout who also loves camping, basketball and baseball.

“The first mate had put several lines out and was putting out more when the captain yelled, ‘It’s a marlin.’ It jumped on the line and then went down.

“They got the harness around me and the pole in the holder and because the fish was straight under the boat, we had to sit still. He couldn’t back down on it to help me fight the fish.”

The fight took about 40 minutes and featured another drag-screaming run after he got the fish close to the boat the first time.

“My arms were already tired,” said Austin, who is one of his school’s class representatives.

“But I had to do it all over again when it dove back down again after it saw the boat.”

Dad said the three anglers in the charter boat party continued to fish after Austin’s thrilling experience. They caught 11 dolphin.

With a once-in-a-lifetime catch under his fighting belt, Austin is ready to tackle anything.

“I would really like to try it again, but we don’t have any plans to right now,” Austin said.

“With everything I do, I don’t have a lot of time right now anyway.”

Lee Tolliver, (757) 222-5844, Lee.Tolliver@pilotonline.com

Twitter @LeeTolliver

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