The Palm Beach Post

Thursday, February 23, 2012 | Outdoor World with Willie Howard OUTDOORS |


Blue marlin released off Boynton Beach: Novice angler catches 11-FOOT FISH after two-hour fight. A blue marlin released off Boynton Beach, Florida, Friday by the crew on the GENO IV CHARTER BOAT shows its stripes while “lit up” in the clear Gulf Stream water off Palm Beach County.

Claes Warnander, a newcomer to the world of blue-water angling, released a blue marlin off Boynton Beach Friday while fishing with captain Geno Pratt on the Geno IV charter boat. They were trolling in about 650 feet of water, headed east in the waters off Boynton Inlet, looking for dolphin. The marlin appeared on the surface behind the boat. It struck at a strip bait in the trolling spread, then moved back and attacked the mullet instead. “He came in and just piled on that thing,” Pratt said.

He was throwing water 5 to 6 feet in the air!

Mate Jon Zubak said they watched the dorsal fin and tail slicing across the surface as the marlin moved in to attack the trolled mullet.
“The bite was very exciting,” Zubak said. Warnander, a native of Sweden, was visiting from Chicago and was the least experienced of the angling party that included Bob Cantwell, Gary Wagner, Mike Dengis and Betty Rocci. It was Warnander’s first time fishing on the ocean.

He climbed into the fighting chair and began to work the rod fitted with 60-pound-test line to subdue the billfish, which was about 11 feet long and weighed an estimated 350 pounds.

At first, the fish was active and mad. “He jumped four times and did one windshield wiper (waved its bill at the surface) and then did four more jumps,” Pratt said.

Then the marlin headed deep to begin the back-wrenching fight against Warnander. Pratt moved the boat around, backing up to allow Warnander to gain line while Zubak coached him on lifting and reeling to gain line. About an hour into the fight, the marlin surfaced and made another jump, then went down again to continue the battle.

After two hours and 15 minutes, the tired marlin finally appeared at the surface behind the 51-foot Geno IV. “It was a struggle,” Cantwell said. “He (Warnander) had to mend the blisters on his hand, and he was quite sore the next day.” Releasing a blue marlin in the waters off Palm Beach County is not that unusual, but it’s not something you hear about every week, either. In the 50 years Pratt’s family has been charter fishing off the county, he said his clients have released about 25 blue marlin, including three in the past 10 years.

Captain George LaBonte of Edge Sportfishing in Jupiter said marlin roam the waters off Palm Beach County, especially when the bonitos arrive with the warming water of spring and summer. But he said not many anglers actually invest the time to target marlin here. LaBonte said he has seen marlin come to the surface to steal bonito that are being fought by anglers on his boat many times. Bonitos and blackfin tuna have arrived early this year, probably because this has been a warmer than average winter. So it’s only logical that marlin would not be far behind.

All-Star Casting: Billionaire’s Row Lures Anglers of Every Stripe

by M.B. Roberts
Unlike nearby Ft. Lauderdale or Miami, with their sykscraping condos and hotels, Palm Beach boasts a low-tot-o-the-ground silhouette. There are several resorts at either edge of town - the Ritz Carlton to the south, the Breakers to the north - but from this vantage point they look like Mediterranean sand castles emerging from the white sandy beach. In between mansions of Billionaire's Row dot both sides of the oceanfront road, blending tastefully in shades of white, pale peach and lemon yellow.

"There's Mar-a-Lago", says Karen Pratt, one of GENO IV's on and off-board captains, pointing towards Donald Trump's residence turned private club just in from the shore, "and there's the Rockefeller place.

There's the old Vanderbilt estate. The Hearsts own it now..." A few years back, the late William Randolph Hearst, Jr., an enthusiastic fisherman, enjoyed this very same view on the Pratts' previous boat the Geno III. "Randy" Hearst (as he like to be called), is just one of many bold-faced names that Geno and Karen have welcomed aboard. Others include actors Kevin Kline, Ed Burns as well as comedian Don Rickles, who dished out nonstop, hilarious ribbing between casts. Another favorite is the King of Bahrain..."

Fishing With the Chef

Florida Living, January 2007

Give your catch of the day to Hubert Des Marais, and he'll transform it into a memorable cuisine.

If drumrolls were possible in fine dining rooms, we would hear a thunderous roar as the server brings dinner to my table.

I'm at the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach. The airy restaurant overlooks the bluer-than-blue pool, with the Atlantic waves lapping beyong. And I'm about to dive into a five-start meal. Best of all, I caught this fish on my plate - with more than a little support from Chef Hubert Des Marais - during our adventure aboard the GENO III.

Hubert seems jubilant, too, as we begin our play-by-play of the day, which started early and is ending late.

The charter boat is a 44-footer, equipped with everything from an expert captain and first mate to champagne for toasting. It takes us about 6 miles out, where we fish, talk food, and nibble the snacks from the Four Season's cooler.

"The first thing you do is bleed the fish and ice it down", says Hubert expertly, as he pulls a cero mackerel onto the boat, slitting into it with his special knife. "Fresh is the main thing", he adds, tossing it into an ice chest.

The chef's deckside manner is bright with commentary about food, his background, and what he'll do with the fish we are hauling in. All the while, those skilled hands clasp the rod just so, occaisionally reeling in to rebait and then casting it back into the waters.

First Mate Karen Pratt helps me, allowing my uncertain hands to hold the rod like a genuine fisher. I chatter along, feeling proficient until there's a tug. Then Karen takes over, exerting amazing will and muscle to land my future dinner.

We agree that I can claim the victory despite the fact that she did the 'reel' work. Besides, a noted chef's story seems more interesting than getting physical with an uncooperative fish!

For more information: Call the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach 561-582-2800 or 800-432-2335