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History

1963 through 2003
Infected for life, my first fight with a Blue Marlin



Bart Miller
Age 17 ... Yellow Tail Bonanza!



My first Captain's job
Aboard the 36 foot. Haoule Sampan charter boat, Adelante

The Adelante's charter rate was $85.00 per day. I went fishing nearly every day. This old wood boat was hard work ... she was seeing her last days. There was a collision here between my passion & fury to learn more about the sea and her old creaky cracking bones. Big game fishing had become a compulsion that was consuming me completely. The hours spent fishing were long, and self inflicted, still I loved every moment of it.

 


Giant Blue Marlin would visit me
However ... my tackle and skills were not up to the task!


Each day after fishing I would tour the the lobby of the Kona Inn hotel to view and dream about catching fish like Capt. Henry Chee’s grander Blue Marlin. Chee’s taxidermy mount was on display for all to view. The dream of capturing one of these old, clever, powerful, ill tempered grandmas swimming in these warm Hawaiian waters seemed most unlikely. How very wrong I was. At this time in my youth, records were out there to be broken and they surely will be, as they were for me. Never judge your fishing by conventional measures of time ... seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, or even years. Sum the total up much later in time. This is a more kindly manner of measure. Your will and spirit will be better served.

 


Penn Senator reels, wimpy rods, and lots of fish
Thrills and surprises were the menu of each day


There she is short bait, snap, crack, pop, birds nest, smoking reel, how the hell did that happen?

 


Sharing the bounty with the locals
There you go Mrs. Erickson, enjoy the fresh Marlin sashimi

These were very happy times for me. Sunshine and Marlin-a-Plenty, nary a care in the world ... just waiting knowingly for the next bite.

 


Climbing to the top
Let me see now how can I fix that last screw up

I would not accept failure. I would have to fix all the problems until they were gone .. long gone!

 


My second boat, a 38 foot Uniflite named Kiholo
Hawaiian translation - Big Fish Hook


Above photo shows my Kona record of 5 Blue Marlin in one day, all caught on live bait. Live bait was my method of choice. Note the 8 lb. Aku, Oceanic Skip Jack baitfish front & center. Lure fishing for me at this time was difficult at best. Changing from live bait to lures did not come easy for me. It took time to learn the many tricks of the Master Hawaiian lure fishermen. To learn these techniques, I literally hunted down the best talent I could find that would teach me artificial lure fishing. I could hardly sleep those nights while waiting for the next early morning charter so that I might practice what I had just learned. My program went like this: Early A.M.. live bait, Late P.M. live bait, everything in the middle - Hawaiian artificial lure fishing. Practice, practice, and then more practice makes perfect!


 


My third boat
A 38 foot Bertram


She came loaded with hot new heavy tackle, heavier rods, 130 lb. Fin Nor reels, gaffs, Murray Product fighting chair, 1000 fathom recorder, top notch crew, along with plenty of charters that kept me on the water hunting for Tu Tu. Things started to happen for me, tournament wins, big fish, World Records, Kona records, I knew for certain that I was on my way. Even my lure fishing had improved. I now had a good balance between live bait & artificial bait techniques.

 


My forth boat
A 33 foot homemade Banana patch boat

She stayed in Kona for a short term as I moved her and myself to Bay of Islands, New Zealand in search of new adventure. I moved lock stock & barrel to the beautiful, historic, mystical Bay of Islands. I shared fishing ideas with great and famous Captains. It was a turning point in my career. One year after fishing New Zealand I went on to fish the 1970 season at Cairns, G.B.R. 1000 pound Black Marlin and World Records were out there, down under, for the taking. This was the turning point in my life as a Captain. I learned so very much about how to handle big fish, boat handling, leadering techniques, and tackle made to do the job. When I finally returned to Kona from Australia, I was more ready than ever. Once again, I shared what I had learned with my Hawaiian peers.

 

My fifth boat
The 42 foot Merritt, Black Bart

My love affair with this boat grew greater with each passing day. Virtually all of my dreams came true while I owned and operated this truly fantastic fishing machine. She had it all. We were as one from 1973 to 1994. She carried me from one victory to another. We were like warrior and horse to the very finish. I sold her in 1994. Her name today is Huntress. Wearing her new name she was still is up to old tricks catching an additional two Blue Marlin over 1000 pounds. She has caught more 1000 pound Blues than any boat in Hawaiian waters. This great machine provided the most perfect platform from which to perform that I could have ever asked for. For starters, we won the Hawaiian International Allison Yellow Fin Tuna tournament with back-to-back victories. The latter is still a tournament record. My team won that tournament by a point separation of over 2000 points. No contest win! Shortly after, my team won the Hawaiian International tournament giving me the highest score ever achieved. As top Captain for the Henry Chee Memorial trophy, this was my second win in this tournament. Tournament fishing aboard the Black Bart was a joy. I also achieved my personal goal of catching a grander the first one weighed- 1265 lbs. The second weighed in at 1656 lbs. This was and is the largest Blue Marlin ever taken in Kona, and the second largest Marlin ever taken in the world.

 


The memories are great fun for me
Catching Grander on live bait, dead bait, & lures

Catching granders in three different oceans! These were some of my fondest memories. Along with receiving mail from fishing buddies telling me about their blue water encounters, their highs and their lows, the good luck, no luck, and bad luck stories. We all shared while playing this salty game of hide & seek.

 


Receiving the Henry Chee Memorial Trophy
For record-breaking score

The 42 foot Merritt Black Bart made the difference. Guess, who the fishermen on my right is if you can guess correctly I will send you a surprise!

 


The Bahamas Billfish Championships
Seasons 1996 & 1997

Fishing the Bahamas Billfish Championships during the seasons 1996 & 1997 will always remain in my mind as one of the supreme competitive tests I ever experienced. Our team had more than its share of good luck winning a considerable amount of events offered during that magical fishing time of my life. This catch brought us into the winners circle at Walkers. We got this incredible bite with only 45 minutes left on the tournament's clock. Fonda Huizenga was our angler ... all 100 pounds of her! She and her wonderful husband Wayne (on the left) offered the crew complete freedom to perform as best they knew how, with no interference, just constant trust and support. We all had the times of our lives together. Three Captains did not spoil the soup ... Capt. Scott Levin, Capt. Bobby Brown, Capt. Bart Miller ... the soup was the best I have ever tasted.

 


Team Black Bart
Crooked Island, Bahamas


This talented group of men made it possible for me to complete a new Black Bart video which encompassed our successful attempt to satellite-tag Blue Marlin, as well as video from above and below water from a little known secret Island. The great fishing and lifestyle we all shared for one month, it was fantastic

 


The proverbial one that got away
A six-hour battle which went on into the night

Finally, the greatest of all my fish encounters. Whilst 99% a gonner, still managed to escape breaking the 80 lb. line. She was along side and ready for the taking. How big you ask? To that I have a stock answer ... if you weighed the head alone from the pecks forward you would have yourself a large Grander. My estimate was somewhere between 2000 or 3000 pounds I’ll split the difference and call her Tu Tu Tonner plus 500 lbs.

 
Great fishing to you all, Aloha.
Captain Bart Miller

P.S. I’m glad I didn’t catch her, you see I couldn’t live with all that luck!
 
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