There are fishermen who always have their photo albums and all of their personal records with them wherever they go, and they proudly show off their trophies to anyone who will stand still long enough. At the other end of the scale, there are others who are asked for pictures and respond by tapping their foreheads and saying, “I've got it all up here There are fishermen who always have their photo albums and all of their personal records with them wherever they go, and they proudly show off their trophies to anyone who will stand still long enough. At the other end of the scale, there are others who are asked for pictures and respond by tapping their foreheads and saying, “I've got it all up here.” It is easy to see where big gamer Jörg-Dieter Haselhorst falls in this spectrum — there are practically no pictures of him or his catches anywhere. And this makes sense, since his medium is not really the camera as much as it is the telephone.
Not a day goes by when the IGFA representative for Germany is not in contact with people all over the world, talking about fishing and hunting down information about new and promising coasts where he can set sail.
One thing at a time, however. His big-game fever broke out in the destinations where most Europeans catch the bug. A quick run-down of the early highlights: Gran Canaria, 1980, a 120 lb. blue shark. Mauritius, 1983, the first blue marlin, which clocked in at 375 lb., and a blue of 741 lb. in 1987, as well as a record wahoo over 117 lb. After that, he shifted to the Azores in 1991, where he broke a European record off Horta on Faial Island with his first marlin at 1051 lb that same year.
In 1993, J.D. (as his friends call him) fulfilled his dream of having his own boat. Together with friends in Florida, he bought a 36-foot Hatteras SHY ll. He made arrangements to bring the boat to the Azores, where he bought insurance, purchased spare parts and got fishing gear.
From this point on, JD's ledger started to fill up with entries which show what fills him with pride and joy. The highlight of that year says, “ln our first season, a guest on the SHY ll broke a new marlin world record — 1189 lb.”
A later entry reads, “Best boat with the most blue marlins from 1993 to 1996.” In the three short months of the 1996 season, the SHY ll managed 112 blue marlins, and JD reached his personal best — 22 blue marlins. Another personal record was the 314 lb. swordfish he caught on his little private boat, a 29-foot Chris Craft, off the coast of Horta in 1997.
After that, though, fishing went bad off the Azores. As if he'd seen it coming, JD sold the SHY ll and replaced it in 1999 with a 38-foot Bertram, the SHY lll, where he laid anchor off the coast of Croatia, which was widely unfamiliar to anglers at the time. The task was then to explore a new territory, because one of his countless phone calls tipped JD to good blue-fin tuna off the Kornati islands in the Adriatic Sea.
That same year, JD learned about unusually good marlin fishing in Ghana. A test run on the only available private boat yielded good marlins which he weighed in the industrial port of Tema, and that was the beginning of the “Ghana project.” JD bought another boat in the US, christened it under the name of the desert wind, HARMATTAN, and transferred it to the Volta delta of Ghana under trying circumstances.
As the new millennium began, the HARMATTAN set out on excursions to unfamiliar waters, and in six trips JD caught 16 blue marlins. This boat stayed in service for two years, and during that time he brought the SHY lll from Croatia to Ghana's Volta delta as well. JD's log book says, “In the 2002 season, the SHY lll caught 142 blue marlins, which is a new record.”
After that, thanks once again to his nose for good waters and a series of informative phone calls – JD had skippers Les Gallagher and lan Carter bring the boats 1300 sea miles to the Ascension Island at the end of the 2002 season on their own keel. And fishing grew worse off Ghana, but JD caught his 100th marlin there and set up a charter service, which he gave up in 2007.
Croatia had not been forgotten: JD brought a new SHY ll to Jezera during this period. Another thing still on his mind was the mega-drill, which JD is unlikely ever to forget: a fish bit a Rapala tied to the end of a 50-pound tackle, and it became a nightmare. The first five hours JD himself fought with the fish, and the next five his friend Tassilo took over. When he too was exhausted, the third man on the boat, Georg, took up the pole for another hour.
Something had to give, and ultimately it was the boat's gear box, which could no longer hold out in reverse and gave up its ghost. The anglers lost the fish whose face they had not even seen during the entire eleven-hour struggle.
He made up for this “mistake” in the summer of 2003: JD caught a 220 lb. blue-fin tuna at the Kornati island with a 30-pound tackle after drilling for three hours and 20 minutes. He is justifiably proud of this catch.
He withdrew from chartering when he turned 50, and since then he has been fishing for pleasure. He took the ANDROMEDA around the Cape Verdes and was recently in Panama, where he could not resist the temptation of fishing for black marlins, not to mention large yellow-fin tuna.
Skipper Les Gallagher summarizes JD's career as follows: “Jörg-Dieter's boats rank among the best in the world. And we have him to thank for the fact that some unknown territories on the big-game maps has been filled in. Even the biggest names in the field pay him respect and say that JD achieved things other people never even dared to dream about.”
Jörg-Dieter Haselhorst will give advice re. fishing off Croatia and Panama and knows all about buying a big game vessel.