A young Melbourne girl is the toast of junior fishing after landing a world-record sized marlin off Merimbula.
Makayla Buttigieg, a member of the Greenvale Sports and Game Fishing Club, is only 10 years of age, but already has a haul of awards to her name.
The latest confirmation of a world record came seven months after she pulled in a 147kg striped marlin while on board her dad Darren’s boat while holidaying on the Far South Coast.
The 147kg whopper – caught on a 24kg line – was only one of the catches Makayla received awards for at a recent presentation by the International Game Fish Association (IGFA).
Mr Buttigieg said the IGFA verification process is very strict and requires having the fish weighed on certified scales, sending photos of the rod, reel and fish, along with a sample of the line used, and having all witnesses sign a statutory declaration with their account.
However, the happy result is confirmation of the biggest striped marlin ever caught by an angler Makayla’s age.
“It was only 4kg shy of the record for senior female anglers,” Mr Buttigieg said.
The fish was sent to the taxidermists and will end up on a wall in Makayla's house.
Last weekend Makayla attended the annual Game Fishing Association of Australia awards night in Cairns.
Her proud parents watched on as she was awarded by the president of IGFA, Rob Kramer, with an amazing number of awards.
Makayla claimed three South Australian, one Victorian, and two NSW records, as well as six GFAA Australian and one IGFA world records.
This was a combination of catching southern bluefin tuna on 4, 6, 8 and 10kg line as well as her two marlin captures – 92.5kg on 15kg line and the 147kg on 24kg line.
All the records were caught between March and May this year.
Makayla said she felt very privileged and overwhelmed to be surrounded by many reputable and important people, a night – and a catch – she will never forget.
Makayla Buttigieg, 10, accompanied her father to Bermagui for a long weekend fishing trip in February 2016.
After tag and releasing nine marlin on the first day it was Makayla's turn to take hold of the next fish.
She finally caught her first one with the drag backed off on 37kg outfit with a helping hand from her father, Darren.
It wasn't until then that Darren realised he underestimated Makayla's capabilities and she was ready to catch a marlin without assistance.
Darren then began planning a strategy on how to make it a reality as Makayla was now determined to do it on her own.
Two weeks later they headed to Merimbula specifically in search for a record or two in dad’s 675 Haines Hunter "Happy Hour".
This was a good enough reason for Makayla to finish half a day earlier from school and go for the long seven-hour drive from Melbourne.
The first day the weather forecast was a light north easterly wind and the colour of the water 40km offshore was cobalt blue which lead to a successful day catching three striped marlin.
In a special day for Makayla, she caught her first unassisted striped marlin on 15kg line, which weighed 92.5kg and set a new pending NSW and Australian record.
Makayla was so excited she fell asleep with a smile on her face not knowing that she had only warmed up for the bigger catch.
The weather the following day was even better and they went on a search of a record on 24kg line.
Makayla was not disappointed, but had to work a lot harder for this one.
She hooked a big one, but after battling it for an hour was completely exhausted and close to giving up.
However, after a bit of a rest and some refreshing cold water over the head, drinking two litres of water throughout the battle, she managed to go all the way.
It took one hour and 45 minutes to land the 147kg fish.
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