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Monday, November 7, 2011

Great grandmarlin! Angler nets fish weighing third of a ton at the ripe old age of 85

By Richard Shears

Catch of the day: Connie Laurie, 85, pictured reeling in her fish on a boat in Cairns, Australia

She's the same age as the Queen, but might be just a little bit stronger after hauling in a marlin weighing more than one third of a ton.

Great grandmother Connie Laurie, 85, has been fishing for most of her life but she's never caught anything as big as the marlin she hooked from a boat off the north Queensland coast.

Experienced fishermen have been astonished at the elderly woman's ability to play the fish on her line and expertly haul it in to the boat, off Cooktown.

'I got lifted out of my seat twice as I was pulling it in, but I was able to get it right up to the back of the boat before we released it back into the sea,' Mrs Laurie said of her short but thrilling battle.

Her remarkable day, which is now said to have gone down in Cooktown folklore, began when she landed a 12lb mackerel which she decided to use as bait for something bigger.

And they don't come much bigger than the black marlin that Mrs Laurie hooked.
'It was just a magical sight to see this huge big fish jump out of the water - it fulfilled a dream,' she said.

Hooked: The marlin weighed more than one third of a ton

Experienced angler: Connie Laurie, 85, has been fishing for most of her life but had never caught anything as big as this one

'It's something I’ve wanted to do all my life, to go out and fish for something big.'

With the fish released and on its way back into the deep, Mrs Laurie, who was on holiday from her home on the Queensland Gold Coast, returned to shore to a welcoming committee of locals, who had been told of her catch in a radio call from the boat's skipper.

'I don't even think I'd be game to take on a fish of that size,' one fishing shop worker told the Cairns Post.

And Mr Bob Lowe, president of the Lizard Island Game Fish Club, said Mrs Laurie's achievement was 'an amazing feat'.

'It's very unusual for a lad of that age to be able to catch a marlin of that size', he said.

'It comes down to technique - the skill of the angler and the skill of the boat driver combined. It's definitely quite an achievement.'

Making a splash: The elderly woman hauled it in to the boat off the coast of Cooktown



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