BELIEVED to be the biggest catch in the history of the Ocean Reef Sea Sports Club, a replica of a 198kg marlin has held pride of place on the wall since the fish was caught in 1984.
An invitation to visit his old fishing club recently brought back memories for Ray Cockman (73), who was tracked down by club manager Steve Snell during his first four months in the job last year.
Mr Snell said when he met up with the great-grandfather, who now lives in Mundaring, he asked him to bring a photo from the day he caught the fish.
He has blown the picture up and put it and a plaque beside the replica fish, and last month, the club held a dinner for the former member.
“He’s a great guy with lots of local stories to tell and is well respected here at the club and is very much part of the history,” Mr Snell said.
Still fishing in Cervantes and Jurien Bay regularly, Mr Cockman told the Weekender the marlin was by far his biggest catch, although he had caught “plenty of dhufish up to 18-19kg” over the years.
“It was Mother’s Day; I said to my mum ‘I’m going to catch you the biggest fish for Mother’s Day’ and sure enough, I caught this damn big marlin,” he said.
“I would call it a miracle; I think it was meant to be caught.”
The fisherman said he was on his big boat between Alkimos and Burns Beach that day in 1984, fishing for pike.
“I saw this great big tail thing coming towards the boat; I thought it could have been a dolphin, it could have been a hammerhead,” he said. “It went past me and I thought ‘it’s a damn marlin’.”
Mr Cockman said it took a fair amount of effort to catch the fish, which he hooked then noosed.
When it was alongside his boat, he grabbed its bill, and cut his hands as the fish thrashed around.
“My heart was going about 10 to a dozen,” he said. “It was a very exciting day.”
Mr Cockman said at the December dinner he enjoyed catching up with old friends from his 27 years in the club, but that there had been plenty of change since he moved away a dozen years ago.
Mr Snell said the club was growing rapidly and was expanding its services to host weddings, seminars, conferences and other functions.
“We are increasing our membership day by day with lots of family, single and older members joining,” he said.
“We have four sections – angling, diving, sailing and power boating.
“Our club is friendly and live music every Friday and Sunday is now on our calendar.”
For more information, visit www.orssc.asn.au.
Ray Cockman with his Marlin in 1984.