Blue Marlin 'Grander' catcher!
"Perhaps the coolest part of Gene's story is that more than forty years on, Vander Hoek still makes his plunger from the very same mold he used back in 1978."
Capt. Gene Vander Hoek is a Kona Legend. With 50 years of fishing on the Kona coast, Gene has been awarded big game fishing highest accolades, suitably qualifying him as one of the best in the business. Including; The Billfish Foundations prize for the top tag and release for 15 years running. Voted the AFTCO Pacific captain of the year in 2002. He has led anglers to 32 IGFA world records and has weighed four grander Pacific blue marlin. Though with an unofficial tally of five after a 2006 tag and release.
Marlin fishing history in the making
Vander Hoek captained a 39ft Rybovich named Sea Gene II, the same boat that in 1978 Gene ran his plunger for the first time, a design that saw the removal of the traditional Kona scoop and the centring of the leader tube, said to have been a collaboration between Vander Hoek, Bart Miller (Black Bart) and Capt. Rusty Unger. The story goes that Capt. Vander Hoek and Capt. Rusty Unger were running their new lure designs, Rusty watching the action of Vander Hoeks creation, said: "look at the way that thing plungers". The length of Gene new design was three times its diameter with a tapered front third and bevelled edge. That same day Gene's plunger went on to catch a 200lb plus blue marlin. With Gene's continued success, Capt Peter Hoogs phoned Joe Yee, asking him to make a lure based on the design refined by Vander Hoek of the Sea Genie. When Joe Yee presented his version to Hoogs is was bigger than expected, Hoogs exclaiming, "That's not a plunger Joe, it's a Super plunger". Joe's Super plunger has since become one of the most copied lures, with dozens of grander Blue and Black marlin, striped marlin and countless personal bests falling prey to the many super-sized plungers available today.
Perhaps the coolest part of Gene's story is that more than forty years on, Vander Hoek still makes his plunger from the very same mold he used back in 1978. In an interview with marlinmag.com, lure fishing secrets of the pros, Capt. Gene Vander Hoek listed his top four lures as;1. Marlin Magic baby blue
2. Crampton medium-sized tube
3. Vander Hoek plunger
4. Weston Leslie tube or plunger
5. A backup of any one of my top four