LAHAINA - There were 18 blue marlin over 400 pounds weighed during 2011. It was one of the best summers for big blues in eight years, with ten over 500 pounds, from May through July.
June was the best month for 500-plus-pounders with seven being weighed (647.3, 635.1, 621.4, 592.2, 576.4, 552.4, 548.8). Only two other times have seven marlin over 500 pounds been weighed during any month since I started keeping billfish stats in 1983.
There were also two estimated 700-pound blue marlin released. One was aboard the Piper in July and the other aboard the Maui Jim in September.
On the Start Me Up Das It, from left, Capt. Randy Evans, John Phillips, John Tyrrell and Capt. Denny Putnam caught this 884.2-pound marlin. Photos by Donnell Tate.
The Start Me Up Das It brought in the largest blue marlin of the year at the end of July, weighing 884.2 pounds by the duel angling team of John Phillips and John Tyrrell. They were fishing with Captains Denny Putnam and Randy Evans.
Denny headed out on an afternoon charter toward the Kaho'olawe Shoals. They were about 35 minutes out of the harbor as Randy started to give the "fa-fa." Denny was just a mile past "Secret Spot," about six miles offshore between Launiupoko and Olowalu in 240 feet of water, when they raised the fish.
It was a duel hookup, first on the short rigger and then the long rigger position, both on 80-class reels packed with 100-test line, taking them 40 minutes to boat.
This marlin was the largest for Lahaina/Ma'alaea Harbor and Maui County in 2011. It is the largest marlin since June 2008 and the ninth largest for a Lahaina/Ma'alaea Harbor Charter boat. It is the 16th largest documented on Maui since 1972.
It was 13'8" from tip of bill to end of tail, with an 11'2" short length. It had a 34-inch half-shoulder girth, a 33-inch half-anal girth, with a 19-inch caudal circumference.
There were a couple of monster blue marlin weighed during last year's 33rd Spring Wahine Fishing Tournament held on May 14-15. There were 14 boats in the two-day event with 44 wahine entered.
The first place marlin weighed in at 794.5 pounds by the tag team effort of Lisa Wear and Jessica Price. They were fishing aboard the Tai Pan II 2 with Capt. Nat Padgett and crewman Adam Wright.
Nat was heading back to Lahaina Harbor early afternoon on the first day with no fish in the boat. He was about 4-5 miles off Olowalu, in about 70 fathoms of water, when the short corner line snapped the rubber band connected to the 12.0-class reel base. It took Lisa and Jessica 45 minutes to land their fish on 80-test line.
The second day saw a 630.5-pound blue marlin by Kuulei Waite. She was aboard the Kai Akua with Captains Steve Lambert and Mason Jarvi, crewman Billy Burnett and husband Chris.
They had been out at the SO-Buoy located ten miles off the southwest end of the Kaho'olawe Shoals. Steve left the buoy and headed toward the tip of the shoals. They were about three miles north of the buoy when the short rigger lure got bit. It took Kuulei 45 minutes to angle her fish using an 80-class reel packed with 100-test line.
Start Me Up Das It brought in another monster - this one a 700.5-pound blue by local boy Ursus Kapule. He was fishing with Capt. Randy Evans and crewman John French.
Randy had been working the shoals side of the SO-Buoy off the west end of Kaho'olawe all morning, picking up a mahi. They were about two miles away from the buoy when the short corner line came down hard out of the clip. It was a 70-minute fight on 130-class tackle for Ursus.
The Maui Jim tagged and released an estimated 700-plus-pound blue marlin by Kimo Taitague and Strider Kerrick from Kimo's restaurant. They were fishing with Capt. Tom Casey and crew Dave Causey.
Tom headed out to the NASA-Buoy located on the 1,000-fathom ledge off the southwest side of Lanai. The buoy didn't look too productive, so they decided to troll down the ledge. They were two miles from the buoy when the short rigger came down hard. The marlin pulled 200 yards of 100-test line from the 80-class reel, taking the team an hour-and-20-minutes before releasing their fish.
The Piper out of Ma'alaea Harbor released an estimated 700-plus-pound blue marlin. This is the largest marlin to be "technically" released aboard a Ma'alaea or Lahaina Harbor charter boat. Capt. Jeff Kahl was at the helm with crewman Ta'ane Veine.
Next week: Part II.