Basin Electric employee tells big fish tale

From left: Kandi Voigt, Echo Voigt, DesaRae Hogan, Brent Berreth, William Spooner and James Decker.

Standing with the 541-pound blue marlin are (from left) Kandi Voigt, Echo Voigt, DesaRae Hogan, Brent Berreth, William Spooner and James Decker.

DesaRae Hogan was astounded when her friends pulled in two yellow fin tuna weighing more than 100 pounds during a fishing excursion in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Hawaii.

Little did she know what was in store for her.

Not long after her friends’ catches, Hogan, a Human Resources assistant for Basin Electric, reeled in a 541-pound blue marlin.

Hogan visited Hawaii May 6-13 with several friends, including co-workers William Spooner, systems administrator II, and James Decker, hardware maintenance assistant. Decker arranged the day-long charter fishing trip that had one main goal – catch a blue marlin.

The blue marlin is one of the biggest fish in the world. Females, which are significantly larger than males, can reach 14 feet in length and weigh nearly 2,000 pounds. Average sizes tend to be in the range of 11 feet and 200-400 pounds.

Hogan and the group traveled 15 miles off the coast of Oahu on a 50-foot yacht to their eventual fishing spot

“We had tons of dolphins that we saw around us. It was just beautiful,” Hogan says.

The group members took turns being strapped to a rod and reel and bracing themselves in an anchored chair to reel in fish, and landed three yellow fin tuna weighing in at 162, 143 and 70 pounds.

“They were so huge, and I was like, “Oh my God, I’d love to catch a fish that size,” Hogan says.

Daylight was fading and the boat started heading back toward land. They left a line trolling in the water, however, and something hit the lure hard in about 7,500-10,000 feet of water. It was Hogan’s turn to strap to the rod and reel and brace herself in the anchored chair.

“Once you hear the reel go, that person runs to the chair and the guy brings the reel to you and you strap it on,” Hogan says. “I was so nervous.”

Hogan feverishly began reeling in the fish and the captain put the boat in reverse to ease the process. Hogan was able to bring the fish near the boat twice before it’d go on a run.

“Then the fish just takes off, and all you do is lock your legs and just hold on. It was pulling me out of the chair,” she says.

Suddenly, the fish leaped out of the water. It was then they realized she had hooked a good-sized marlin.

“Everyone was so excited, and I’m just cranking and cranking and to the point where I’m just beat,” Hogan says. “By that point my arm was so sore, I was using my knee to push my elbow to reel it in.”

The back-and-forth battle between Hogan and the marlin lasted nearly an hour before the fish tired and the guides lifted it aboard. Watch video of Hogan’s battle with the blue marlin and crew members pulling the fish onto the boat.

“I thought the tuna was just huge. I couldn’t imagine something this size that I pulled out,” Hogan says. “All the guys pretty much had to help to get this fish roped in and pulled on the boat.”

The fish’s measurements were 112 inches, or just less than 10 feet, from the tip of its tail to its lower jaw. She had the option to get it mounted, though that was very expensive so it was taken to market, she said.

The group also visited Pearl Harbor, snorkeled and toured a submarine. It was the fishing experience, however, that might have left the biggest impression on Hogan. After she returned to Bismarck on May 13, she brought her fishing boat out of storage and purchased her fishing license.

“Now I just have to get my boat ready, get some poles and get out there,” Hogan says. “I’ll get more experience, so maybe my next vacation I’ll do some other fishing elsewhere.”

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