LAHAINA - The Start Me Up Again joined the 600-pound club for the year with a 601.8-pound blue marlin by Phil Margiotta. He was fishing with Capt. Patrick Dorn and deck man Doug Douglas.
With the charter a half-hour late getting to the harbor, Patrick watched five boats ahead of him trolling toward Kamaiki Point on the southeast corner of Lanai. Just as Patrick crossed the 100-fathom ledge off Kamaiki, they had a strike on the short corner Steve Elkins Bonzoid lure.
At the strike, the marlin immediately jumped clear of the water. The second jump was more of a half-body lunge, then it started greyhounding straight for the boat - at this point only 40 feet away. Patrick throttled the boat full ahead, getting up and out of the hole pretty quick.
The marlin jumped another five to six times, gaining ground on them in a hurry. With the boat and marlin moving in the same direction, and at about the same speed, the 130-test line stopped ripping off the reel. Suddenly, the marlin went straight down about 50 feet and stopped. The line kept rolling off the spool, about 100 yards, before Patrick could get the boat slowed down.
Patrick brought the boat back down as Doug cleared lines. Once stopped, Patrick immediately started backing the boat down hard on the fish. He had a great line angle on the marlin - getting up on top of it pretty quick - with Phil able to pack most of the line back on the spool.
The line angle changed as they got the marlin straight up and down off the stern about 50-60 feet deep. At that point, it was about getting Phil into a rhythm and moving the boat on a 600-pound fish that was very alive. Phil did a great job keeping the line tight.
From that point, it took about 15 minutes to get the marlin up. It was swimming back and forth but acting kind of weird. At the time, Patrick didn't realize that the marlin was double hooked - one in the upper palette and out through the eye, and the other in the lower jaw.
Once they got the marlin up on the surface, it was about 25 feet away swimming back and forth across the stern. Patrick just needed to decide when it was time to make a move. As the fish went to the port side, Patrick backed the boat down hard on it, with Phil getting his fish to leader.
Doug grabbed the leader on the port corner but had to dump the line as the marlin turned away from them. The second time, the same thing happened. Finally, Patrick got the boat spun around and the fish on the starboard side - the side with the bad eye. This allowed Patrick to get the boat close enough to the marlin that Doug could grab leader and hold on.
Patrick was able to reach out and get a perfect gaff shot right behind the gill plate, ending the 23-minute fight. Patrick got a half-hitch wrap on the bill and cleated the fish off. They pulled the head up out of the water and let everybody settle down and catch their breath.
The marlin was totally lit-up, showing spectacular colors - a pretty cool experience for the charter to see. This was the first fishing trip of any kind for Phil.
Patrick mentioned that it was his first fish that stayed that close from charging the boat, and to be able to get up on a fish of that size that quickly was something pretty special. Everything had to go right, and everything did that day.
For catching a marlin over 500 pounds, Start Me Up Sportfishing gave Phil his trip for free. They also donated $300 to the Vickers Tournament as part of their continuing charity donation program for a marlin caught over 500 pounds on one of their boats.