Have you ever caught a big fish weighing up to 1,500 pounds? What does it feel like to battle for hours with a fish that size in the middle of the deep blue sea? Then why not ask one of the guys from the Essex boys Marlin World Cup Team, Dave Hawkeswood, who lives for that rush?
The Essex boys have already got back to back wins at the Marlin World Cup and Dave from Essex in the UK tells us why this competi­tion keeps him hungry for more. He says: "I love fishing and I have been doing it for at least thirty eight years. I have fished along the UK coast and also in Mexico. But I learned about Marlin fishing in Mauritius on the Sky Sports channel. I was hooked straight away and along with my fishing mate, Paul, and our families, we made our way here. It is an amazing challenge to catch a marlin."
He tells us that the whole experience is one full of expectation and that the real fun is when the fish bites. He describes the atmosphere when the sprawl lets loose. "Mauritius is the best place to catch a mar­lin. At this time of the year they migrate along the West coast of the country. At one moment everyone is on the lookout. Then all of a sudden all hell breaks loose. The sprawl reels away at a furious pace in a loud roar, people are shouting in excite­ment and it is all hands on deck. One has to communicate with the boat skipper to point the boat in the right direction and while you are doing all this, you have to strap yourself firmly into the chair and keep a firm grip on the rod. The marlin will dance and run. One minute it could be to your left and the next it is on your right. It is amazing how a fish can move so fast. It takes a lot of mental strength and technique to reel in such a fish. You could be battling for hours and you cannot beat that feeling. Its like man versus ani­mal, there can be only one win­ner. Once it is caught and brought to the side of the boat we take a picture and then set it loose. We do not harm the ani­mal as it is sport fishing and not commercial. However, if we catch tuna we can bring it in."
Dave explains that points are awarded depending on the breaking point of the line used. "You have a 501b, 801b and 1301b breaking strength line. You are awarded more points when you catch a big fish with a lighter line. This requires tremendous technique and ability. I would love to win the Cup, making it a hat trick. However, even if I did­ not win, I would not consider it a loss. What counts is that I have taken part in this great competi­tion.
"It would be nice to see more Mauritian teams, but then again, one has to take into con­sideration the fact that it is an expensive sport. Sometimes you invest a lot of money and time in the sport. I remember that I once went 150 hours without catching a fish. There are a few local teams taking part and it is great to have a mixture of nationalities. It adds to the buzz. The Marlin World Cup is not only a great sport; it also gives the family an opportunity to soak up the brilliant sunshine and weather."
Dave finds our country beautiful and welcoming. "The draw of the Marlin World Cup is not only what attracts me to your shores. Mauritius is a country where I feel wel­comed. The island and the people are wonderful and I would come here any time. Our families also share that view. The wives especially love the shopping. So while the men spend their days on the boats the women spend our money. It is just great to feel at home in a place so far from home. Being away from the dull British weather does us a great deal of good. I would not want to live, here though, because I find the island too small. I intend to move to Australia where I could drive for hours on end if I want to. Mind you, even if I am in Australia I would still come here on holiday.

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