They were heading in from an afternoon four-hour trip. Steve had been working the LA-Buoy, Factory area, between Lanai and Kaho‘olawe, where a lot of big fish had been caught recently. He was about six miles off the Olowalu dump when they raised the fish.
Steve heard the long rigger line come down hard and immediately turned around to see a big explosion and a huge hole in the water where the lure had been. No line was coming off the spool.
The marlin came up jumping out and away from the boat from the long rigger position out past the long gone lure. It cut across to the port side making some radical jumps all over the place. About 20 seconds later, the long gone reel took off. Steve thought that they had gotten foul-hooked on the long gone lure in the melee.
However, it turned out to be a second marlin around 300 pounds jumping in the other direction. The larger marlin was going toward the port side, with the 300-pounder going to starboard, then back across to the port side. Both fish were airborne as they crisscrossed each other, tearing up the surface.
Chris grabbed the 50-class reel off the bridge, with the 300-pounder on it, and moved underneath the 130-class reel that was in the chair rod holder. He had to uncross the lines several times, but with the crisscross movements of the two fish, the 50-class line got sawed off.
The larger marlin screamed out line straight across the surface. Chris got the rest of the lines cleared and Luke in the fighting harness. The fish was 500 yards away, jumping as if it was possessed.
Once it settled down, Steve had the boat idle reverse for 15-20 minutes, with Luke getting 150-200 yards back. DJ was in the chair next. He was able to get 100 yards or so on the spool. Andy was third, getting the marlin to within 100 yards. It was straight out and down but stayed close to the surface.
The girls were next. Chris put the reel into one-to-one ratio, with Jennifer getting clipped into the harness. Steve started to circle on the fish the last 100 yards, fighting it off the side of the boat and cutting it off from its movement. The marlin switched directions. Steve maneuvered the boat around, cutting it off in that direction, finishing up with it on the port side.
Jennifer was able to slowly winch the fish even closer, with it 100 feet down just past the rubber band mark. Steve had the boat in neutral with the marlin straight down and out. He was hoping it would come up, instead of him having to go after it.
The last 100 feet took them 40-45 minutes. Candace battled the fish in a stalemate, give and take the last 50 feet for 15-20 minutes. As it finally came to double line, it was slowly swimming from corner to corner all lit up like a fluorescent light.
Chris could see the leader below. He started pulling on the double line, but the marlin was digging in hard. He didn’t want to risk pulling hooks, so he let go. The fish took out 40-50 feet.
They got Luke back into the chair. Steve was now able to get a little more aggressive on the marlin. Chris pushed up the drag and dropped the reel into low gear. They had at least 60 pounds of pressure on the fish at that point.
Luke got into a rhythm and slowly pumped and cranked the marlin to leader. The fish was tired at this point but not ready to give up. Chris took wraps on the leader and muscled the marlin up. It dug in and yanked him around a bit. The fish tried to go underneath the boat, but Chris hauled it out and pulled it up the side of the boat. It rolled onto its side, putting up no resistance as it was secured.
For catching a marlin over 500 pounds, Start Me Up Sportfishing gave the group their trip for free and made a $300 donation to charity.
Pictured (from left) are: front — Luke and Jennifer Lang, Andy Sytsma, Candace Costello and DJ Jones; back — Chris Gifford and Steve Cravens.