©John Schwartz, A Kona Blue.

Professional photographer Jon Schwartz was biding his time on the press boat during the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament, when something wild happened. The crew of the 36 Hatteras Chiripa, the designated press boat, set out two lines hoping to catch a tuna or mahi while waiting for the tournament boats to hook up. Then a blue marlin hit one of their lines, and charged the boat.

“I was totally stoked,” said Schwartz, “this is what I’m always thinking about.” He grabbed his camera and started shooting as the fish went ballistic. Ironically, he’d rented a high powered fixed lens to shoot boat-to-boat, leaving him scrambling to take close-ups. “This fish was coming right at us,” said Schwartz, “and I was bummed I would lose the shot.” He didn’t.

The picture above is just a sample of some of the marlin shots he got before the fish rammed the boat and swam underneath. Schwartz said he got lucky, but it’s the byproduct of putting hundreds of hours on the water. “This can be stultifyingly boring,” he said, of the time outdoor photographers put in.

Getting blue marlin shots are always difficult because they usually hit far behind the boat and do their dance from afar. “It’s like watching a bullfight from a mile away,” said Schwartz. This time it unfolded up close, and though they took a shot to the hullsides and eventually lost the fish, from a photographer’s point of view it’s a once-in-a-lifetime catch.

You can read Jon Schwartz’s account on his personal blog, Bluewater Jon.