Giant Marlin Has Fisherman Reeling

Most fishermen don't have proof to back up their stories of the one that got away, but a teenager who had a terrifying run-in with a 600-pound black marlin does.

His sister caught the whole thing on tape while they were on a fishing trip off the coast of Panama.

The monster fish leapt out of the water and crashed right into the face of 18-year-old Stephen Schultz of Marietta, Ga.

Recalling the event, he says, "The bait was taken and the mates on the boat start yelling. They grabbed the pole and put it in the cup and then you fight with it to get it in."

He tells The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith he was having a great time when the unthinkable happened.

"I was fighting with the fish for about 25 minutes before it happened," Schultz explains. "He jumped once, facing away from the boat and turned around in mid-air; he was about 15 feet away; went back into the water, made one more jump toward the back of the boat and his bill struck me on the left side of the face and knocked me onto the ground.

"I closed my eyes," he says.

Crew members quickly cut the fish loose and then family and crew turned their attention to Schultz, who was on deck bleeding profusely from the mouth and nose.

"I got a towel on him," his father, Robert, says. His 20-year-old sister, Allison, was so in shock that all she could do was keep on rolling the camera she was using to videotape the event.

"I wasn't too sure what happens when you go deep sea fishing," she says. "I wasn't sure if they were supposed to be that close. So I was like, I'll get this on film. Then it was in the boat. Before I could react, it was already at us. So I just kept rolling."

It is believed to be the first time an incident like this was ever caught on tape. And although her filming shows her calm throughout the incident, she says she was panicking.

"I saw from the back. So it looked like the bill went through his face. So that really scared me," she says. "There was so much blood on the floor, I just ran over to him and started grabbing him for some reason. Then I realized I probably shouldn't be grabbing him. But I was just panicked."

"It was a long ride back to Panama to get help," Robert Schultz says. "It was a two-hour boat right back to the jungles, then an airplane out."

Stephen Schultz was flown 100 miles north to National Hospital in Panama City. His father says, "He had a laceration in the back of his throat. He has four broken bones in his nasal cavity and several deep cuts inside his mouth."

Stephen Schultz says he is not sure how that happened, but doctors believe the injuries resulted from the impact not from something going into his mouth. Much of the swelling has gone down on his face. The orthopedic surgeon is hoping the sinus bones will heal without the need for surgery.

It was supposed to be a Fourth of July weekend vacation for the Atlanta area family, who had planned the fishing trip before Stephen Schultz went off to college at Colorado State.

Having fished about 30 miles off Darian Jungle, Panama, a number of times before, Robert Shultz says he is sure marlins have come into fishermen's boats before.

"It's probably more common than you think," he says. "I've heard of people having marlins come up. Usually, they're in control and they can jump in a vertical type of situation. It won't be where they take a run at you. We thought we were safe."

Stephen, Allison and Robert Schultz say they would go fishing again. But Allison Schultz says from now on she will do her fishing "in a lake."