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Archive for Sunday, December 4, 2005

Baseball great Williams featured on marlin video

December 4, 2005

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One of the greatest catches Ted Williams ever made landed on a 1959 Fleer baseball card. It was entitled, "Fisherman Ted Hooks a Big One."

The card featured a photo of Williams beside the 1,235- pound black marlin he caught off Cabo Blanco, Peru, in December 1954.

At the time, it was said to be the world's eighth-largest fish taken by rod and reel, and the late baseball legend delighted in telling people of his feat.

He even had documented proof. The 30-minute battle was captured on film. The General Electric Housewares Division filmed it as a public service announcement.

Now, more than 50 years later, the PSA is making a comeback.

Michael Fowlkes of Inside Sportfishing obtained the 16mm color film through the International Game Fish Association and digitized it.

The result is Black Marlin Boulevard, a DVD showcasing the catch by Williams and the waters of Cabo Blanco, once the most prolific big-game fishery in the world.

"It's such a classic piece of American history, of fishing history, and a slice of the life of Ted Williams," Fowlkes said. "There's so many attributes, we couldn't not make it available."

Fans of Williams, history and fishing will enjoy the 54-minute film that starts with the Splendid Splinter saying, "This is the story of the biggest fish I've ever caught."

Also featured in the 1954 footage is a wife and husband who each land a 1,200-pound black marlin on the same boat on the same day.

Sadly, Cabo Blanco's fishing grounds are now a ghost town, destroyed by eight years of commercial fishing that devastated the eco-system by wiping out the anchovitas and baitfish, according to Fowlkes.

"No other spot could rival it then: no other spot rivals it now," Doug Olander of Sport Fishing magazine in 2003 said. "And it seems increasingly possible that no place ever will."

The DVD is $17.95 at www.insidesportfishing.com.

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