For the next four hours and five minutes the fish did everything he should have. He ran, he sounded, he thrashed the surface and bore in on the boat. All the while, Parker kept the stern on the fish, gently coached the angler but at the same time let him know that this battle was strictly between the fish and the man in the chair. And when the marlin finally gave up at 8:05 p.m., Parker dispatched him quickly and lashed him along the stern. This performance by Parker, immensely helpful to a novice, can be duplicated by any of the top skippers in Kona, especially by Henry Chee, who is a real master of his trade, and by Charlie Machado and Waldron, the oldest hands and wisest heads in the Kona fleet.
The fish weighed out at 500 pounds even. And this weighing process is something else that seems to be more fun at Kona than most places. Kona is a tiny town, which had only one hotel until two years ago. Therefore, both the natives and the tourists are still openly friendly and really enthusiastic about the business of bringing in a marlin. No matter how late the fisherman gets in, the dock is crowded with people and cars. Everybody comes just to see the fish; and as the dockside hoist swings out to lift the marlin tail first from the water, three or four flash cameras go off. When the fish is safely ashore, other anglers come up to shake hands and ask how the fish had struck; and little boys, in the same wildly flattering voice they usually offer only to star halfbacks, ask if this was the man who caught the fish.
Once out of the water, the fish is trucked, along with the angler, to the Kona Inn, where it is hoisted on the weighing gibbet hard by the open-air dance floor. Then a marlin bell shatters the rhythm of Hawaiian music, and more flashbulbs lure the dancers out to the angler who, by this time, is feeling quite giddy about the whole thing. After the weighing, and according to custom, the fisherman walks down to Johnny Spencer's Kona Steak House to celebrate the catch with a truly superior cut of island beef and a glass or two of rum. There he finds that the news of the catch has reached the Steak House ahead of him, so that the bartender and the men in the band call him Mr. Marlin and generally convince him that, though his fish weighs 130 pounds less than one that was caught only the day before, he is still somehow one of the world's really great fishermen.