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Barnes sets high bar in Classic

Catch of the day: Barnes, on the boat Shake Down, with the 741lb Marlin he caught yesterday (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Edward Barnes is the early front-runner in the Bermuda Big Game Classic after catching a 741lb marlin in the first day of competition.

This is the largest fish in recent memory from the prestigious fishing competition, which has a 500lb minimum weight for catches.

“Very nice fish for these guys, very impressive,” said Dan Jacobs, tournament director. “Anything over 600lbs is impressive, anything over 700 is really impressive. This is bigger than any fish that we weighed the last couple of years.”

Barnes was on Shake Down, a relatively small 35ft Bermudian boat captained by Eugene Barnes, fishing out on the southwestern edge.

“Captain called and saw a nice fish in the spread, so we turned around and the flatline went off. So we got all set up, got in the chair, and there was basically about an hour, hour and ten minutes of attrition then we got it alongside and decided that it was a significant fish, had a decent weight, so we elected to take it in, and here we are.”

The official catch time was 1hr 6min 59sec for the blue marlin, which was reeled in just past 11am.

“You’ve got to have a little patience, it’s a cat-and-mouse game,” Barnes added.

The competition, which attracts hundreds of international anglers as well as local teams, is celebrating it’s 15th year as a centrepiece of the Bermuda Triple Crown Billfish Championship Series.

Shake Down are in second place, presently trailing Florida boat Divine Intervention, who picked up two marlins yesterday, both of which weighed in at 500lbs.