Language Barrier

By Capt. James Marko:

This past month I got to experience a major language barrier on my boat.  I had some clients that flew here from Germany because they saw me on TV with the goliath grouper.  My client’s name was Max and he was an avid fisherman.  We started with exchanging emails back-and-forth and he told me his best redfish was 45” and his best snook was 39”, so I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy trip.  When we finally met at the dock, the first five minutes was extremely awkward because there was no English. A few words he did know, somewhat of the basics, so it was a start.  We started off the trip to find bait for the goliath grouper and ran into tarpon. I had everything ready and laid out a quick plan.  Within about 5 minutes we were on.  I tried my best to explain how to fight this fish and anyone that knows tarpon knows it’s hard to enough to learn in 5 minutes in English, so imagine my difficulty.  The first jump survived but the second he broke off, due to the fact Max was yanking back on the rod.  After that excitement, we ran into a school Jack’s; luckily, he knew what he was doing there and we grabbed a dozen in the live well.

We headed off to Boca Grande to target Goliath. We dropped our first bait and within seconds we were on. It ended up being about a 100-pound Goliath. We went in for the next try and hooked into a bigger boy that ended up being over 250 pounds. Anyone that has fought this fish around structure knows it’s the ultimate tug of war. A man using a setup valued at over 1k with no drag, pulling against a 250-pound fish…I was nervous. I ran up, loosened the drag to give the client a better chance of landing the fish. I work with Fish and Wildlife so we take the fish extremely close to the beach to conduct a biopsy, plus get some measurements. I generally use 20/0 circle hook, with a 400lb mono leader by TrikFish and 800lb braid from Tuf-Line. I use the Makira 50w reel with a Dan James Custom Rod, which has held up against 520 lb. fish.  After we conducted our study we got some great pictures and released the fish to conduct some data for the research we’re doing.

If you would like to be a part of a study, visit my website or Instagram for more information at or @captjamesmarko. As always enjoy and protect our waters. Check out our website for trip information and contact information. Also remember to follow us on Instagram @captjamesmarko & Facebook at for our daily catches.