The Union Democrat Sports Department

"This was a serious fishing trip," said Wayne Walker, of Soulsbyville. "It was a dream come true."

Walker, Matt Clay, of Sonora, and Ed Van Cleave, of Murphys, went fishing in Kona, Hawaii for 10 days beginning on July 1.

All three caught big blue marlins. Make that gargantuan.

On their second day in the Pacific Ocean, Clay pulled in a 350-pounder. On the fourth day, Walker snagged an 11-foot, 302-pounder and Van Cleave caught a 250-pounder.

"Matt caught his using live bait, Aku Tuna," explained Walker. "On

mine, we were using a lure. The blue marlin I brought in, by far, was

the biggest fish I've ever caught in my life."

The trio hit the waters each day around 6:30 a.m. and, most often, didn't finish until between 4-6 p.m.

On the day of his big catch, Walker said, "We'd been trolling

around the waters about two or three miles off Kona, going 10 or 15

knots of speed. We have big outriggers on the sides of the boat - two

on each side, and one in the center of the back. Always five lines in

at a time. As we're trolling, we're looking for fish.

"The fishing lines are connected to the outriggers with large

rubber bands and when a fish strikes, they'll rip the rubber band off

the outriggers bouncing around.

"So when the fish take the bait - taking the line - that's when the

fight began and then I got myself in a fighting chair. And that's the

point where you're really fighting the fish. You're working your arms

and your legs to reel that fish in. In my case, the fish took 300 yards

of line on the first run. From there, I just kept on working to get the

fish back to the boat."

Walker estimates the trio caught around 30 smaller fish of the 5-to-10 pound range, one weighing 25 pounds.

Clay, said Walker, "had caught a 437-pounder about four years ago, so he had gone back on this trip for another large one."

While the trio "had a blast," said Walker, they're each anxious for

the next trip. "A 1,000-pound Blue Marlin is called a Grander - and

that's what we'll all be going for."