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True Fish Tale

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A Sulphur Springs third-grade student made the catch of a lifetime last week in Bermuda — in fact, it was the catch of anyone’s lifetime. Gillian Ricks, the 8-year-old daughter of Sarah Quigley-Ricks and Sail Ricks, caught a 336.3-pound blue marlin on July 15 in the waters off of Bermuda. What is even more exceptional than the Water Oak School student landing a 300-pound fish is that Gillian's achievement is a pending

world record. Never before in the history of the International Game Fishing Association has a female smallfry angler, a female child under the age of 10, set the world record for a blue marlin. When confirmed, it will also be the first time Bermuda is listed as the location for any blue marlin world record. Gillian’s mother described the events of the catch: “On board the ‘El Cazador’ on that beautiful Tuesday morning, Gillian, with ‘Cappy’ Captain Michael Kennedy, her family, friends and crew, set out for a day of marlin fishing in the hopes of finding the fish for the record books. Just after 10 a.m., the blue marlin bit and made an incredible spectacle behind the boat jumping out of the water while the reel screamed off line. Following IGFA rules, Gillian independently set the hook, jumped into the fighting chair, and prepared for battle. With salty waves crashing over the covering boards and into the cockpit, she fought the fish for an hour and 20 minutes without assistance. She finally won the fight and brought the fish to the boat. The blue marlin was boated and taken to a certified scale and weighed by an IGFA member, who pronounced that the fish qualified for the world record.” “My arm was hurting but when I knew the fish was big enough, I just kept reeling,” explained the bashful eight year old girl at the weigh station in front of reporters, photographers and cheering spectators. “It's an emotional struggle to just stand back and not to help your child when you know the difficulty of their challenge, but this was hers to win and we knew that she was capable and determined,” said Gillian's father, Sail. “We are very proud of her.”

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