LAHAINA - The Action started May with a 160.9-pound "Allison" yellowfin tuna by Danny Kelley. He was fishing with Capt. Jason Duby and deckman Ryan Thomas.
They were having a bad day at the NASA-Buoy on the backside of Lanai, getting their baits bit-off by ono time and again. They finally got tired of that approach and put out the lures, snagging an ono, and had a couple more bites as they trolled away from the buoy.
They had a couple of marlin bites between the NASA-Buoy and K-Buoy marks off the southwest corner of Lanai and worked several porpoise schools, keeping the anticipation level up. As they headed back toward Maui, Jason crossed the 100-fathom ledge off Kamaiki Point, Lanai, coming in toward the Olowalu Dump.
From left, Danny Kelly, Capt. Jason Duby and deckman Ryan Thomas with their 160.9-pound yellowfin tuna. Photo by Donnell Tate.
Ryan saw a couple of porpoises swimming around the boat chasing flyers (malolo). A few more porpoises in the school were feeding on the malolo. Jason turned the boat around and worked the porpoises for a couple of minutes before getting bit on the short rigger jet.
The ahi took off screaming out the 100-test line off the 50-class reel. In about ten seconds, they were already into the Dacron backing 300-400 yards. Jason looked at the spool as it got smaller and smaller. Ryan had the short corner cleared as Jason turned the boat around toward the fish and gunned it forward.
The ahi ran out and then turned back around toward the boat, putting a huge, deep belly in the line. With them moving almost side by side, Danny was cranking the slack line as fast as he could as Jason got the boat up on the fish pretty quick.
The ahi then doubled back on them. Jason saw the line moving as it went completely under the boat. Jason had to turn the boat around and get out of the way of the line as the ahi went the other way, making a figure eight run as it headed down.
They were in only 250 feet of water, so the ahi didn't have much room to run deep. As they finally got the line tight, the ahi felt the added pressure and took another huge run out a couple of hundred yards. Jason kept up the chase as Danny kept up the cranking, regaining line.
The first time they got the ahi close to the boat, it took out another 200 yards straight down to the bottom. Danny hauled up his ahi one more time. The ahi found its comfort zone and hung out under the boat for awhile down past double line distance. Jason idled the boat ahead, planning the ahi up as Danny gained and lost line, again and again.
Twenty minutes later, they finally had the ahi to leader. It was all lit-up, showing a cobalt blue back, golden yellow side stripe and silver belly. Its long flowing second dorsal and anal fins distinguished it as an "Allison" tuna.
The rod was bent over the stern as the ahi made several five- to ten-foot tugs - with a few 20-yard digs - in a give-and-take struggle with Danny. The next time to leader, Ryan took it slow and easy, not wanting lose the ahi so close to the boat.
The ahi was digging down, trying to make a run under the boat again. Ryan was not going to give it anything. He held his ground and steadily pulled on the leader. He was able to take several wraps and hold on as he called Jason to gaff, ending the 25-minute fight.