Rochester attorney has whopper of a fish tale to tell
Charles Bird, a long-time attorney in Rochester, was part of a crew that landed a giant black marlin to win a fishing tournament in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
ROCHESTER — Before he traveled to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, in October, Rochester attorney Charles Bird had never competed in a fishing competition for prize money.
But he sure has a fish story to tell now.
The 74-year-old Bird and three friends, one from Minnesota and two from Wisconsin, were competing in an offshore tournament. It was the second of three held in October on the Sea of Cortez. The foursome were in a boat that included a captain and first mate.
The members of the boat had landed the largest tuna of the tournament on the first day of the tournament to earn the top prize. That fish weighed 176 pounds. But during the second day of the contest, the group landed a whale of a black marlin.
“A marlin got on (the line) and that thing towed us all around the Sea of Cortez for five miles,” Bird said. “It was incredible. The tuna was fun, but the marlin was more fun. It was just a gigantic fish.”
The first mate grabbed the fishing pole with the giant fish on the line and he was in control after that.
“He was a younger guy, a gym rat, a weightlifter guy,” Bird said of the first mate. “And he just wouldn’t give up the rod. He wanted to own it so we just let him do it.”
The group had a deadline to bring the fish into tournament headquarters. They first hooked the fish at 1:30 p.m., but that was the start of a five and a half hour battle with the enormous black marlin.
Tournament fishermen were not allowed to put a line in the water after 5 p.m., but if they had one on the line, they could continue to land the fish. The deadline for weigh-in was 9 p.m.
“It was right around 7 o’clock that we finally boated that fish,” Bird said. “It took all six of us on board to get it over the side.”
The spear-like bill of the marlin actually punctured a hole in the side of the boat and was so big it didn’t fit in the back end of the vessel. The fish was about seven and a half feet long and was barrel-like with a very thick middle.
“It was a big deal, something I’ll always remember,” Bird said. “I got tired watching the guy fight the fish.”
Bird’s was the last group to pull into the marina at the close of the tournament. Numerous tourists were watching and videoing the boat as it came in. The tournament already had a festive atmosphere with bands on hand to play music.
Seeing the size of the marlin the group landed caused a few gasps from the crowd.
And the black marlin that Bird’s group landed? It turned out to weigh 555 pounds, nearly 50 pounds bigger than the next largest marlin caught in the tournament. It was also the largest marlin caught in Cabo in 2022.
“We figured once we got it in (the boat) that it was going to be a winner,” Bird said.
The four fishermen in Bird’s group earned about $29,000 each in prize money for winning two categories. Bird said the fish caught in the tournament are donated and sold with the proceeds going to an orphanage in Cabo.
“And what did I do? I just happened to be on the boat that caught the fish,” Bird said with a chuckle. “But it was still fun. It was a lot of fun.”
Rochester's Alyssa Rauk was part of the Minnesota State University, Mankato women's cross country team that ran in the NCAA Division II National Championships last Saturday.
The Mavericks placed 16th in the team portion of the meet. Rauk, a sophomore, was one of seven varsity runners in the meet for Minnesota State. She was the No. 6 finisher for the Mavericks and placed 234th overall.
Rochester's Maggie Anderson, a junior, and freshman Kennedy Speer are also on the MSU roster but they did not compete in the national meet.
Guy N. Limbeck is a sports writer for the Post Bulletin. His Local Notebook appears each Tuesday. He can be reached at email@example.com .