They were coming back from a snorkel trip at Honolua Bay and wanted to catch an ono for dinner. Killer made an ono run right off the point at Kapalua Bay. Suddenly, a marlin came in and hit the short corner “stubby” 50-class rod running on the starboard side of the stern railing and went ballistic. It jumped and tail-walked, doing circles and ripping across the water all over the place for at least five minutes.
Killer thought that there was no way possible they were going to catch it. The 50-test line went slack for at least ten seconds after the marlin made a big loop and came back toward the boat. Sheena asked, “Did it get away?” Killer told her to keep cranking. Killer kept the cat idling ahead into the wind and waves.
The line came tight, and the marlin took off running, almost spooling them, getting over 300 yards off the 50-class reel. Killer started backing the cat into the seas the best he could, finally stopping the marlin’s run. The fish stayed on the surface, allowing them to get a lot of line back.
The marlin stayed off the starboard side, swimming slowly in a counterclockwise circle. Killer had to spin the cat completely around three times. On the third spin, as the fish cruised along, the swivel popped up. Killer let out a shout knowing the fish was close.
Killer figured that if he could get to the marlin and get a wrap on the leader, they were going to get it or not. There was a fiberglass antenna stand on the starboard end of the hull. If the marlin got too far around on them, it might touch the antenna and break the line. Killer knew it was either do or die right there.
Killer went to the starboard end where the antenna stand was, wrapped his leg around it, leaned over and grabbed the leader. The marlin dug down, going underneath the edge of the corner. Melissa was at the helm and turned the cat just enough that the fish popped out the side.
Killer held on to the leader and had Sheena loosen the drag enough so he could pull the marlin up the starboard side. But first, he had to get back across from the antenna stand to the stern railing. It was only two steps — but a scary two steps — in the sea conditions.
Chris was standing at the corner as Killer reached the rail. He handed the leader to Chris so he could pull the marlin up to the starboard railing gate. Chris had never leadered a fish before. He tried to hold on to the leader, but the line kept slipping through his hands.
Killer told him to wrap the line around his hands. Chris told him, “I saw that show, and the guy went overboard.” Killer told him not to worry and just open his hand if he had to let go, but don’t let go.
As Killer hopped over the rail, Melissa handed him the stick gaff. Killer told Chris to try and pull the marlin’s head up and keep walking it forward.
Killer leaned down at the gate, got the gaff into the fish, and told Chris not to let go of the leader. Killer told Sheena to grab the winch handle as he and Chris pulled the fish onto the deck.
The marlin lay still, so Killer quickly hog-tied it to the railing stanchions. It lit up and jerked around for a few seconds but couldn’t go anywhere and settled down.
This was the first time Sheena had reeled in a marlin. She had caught walleye and Northerns, but never one of these guys, she said. It was exciting, hard and a lot of work, but pretty amazing.
From left, Melissa Mifsud, Chris Love, Sheena Rinkenderger and Capt. Terry “Killer” Kellam with their marlin.