LAHAINA - The Start Me Up Das It landed their third marlin for the year over 400 pounds, with this the largest at 515.6 pounds, by Dale Gingerich. He was fishing with Capt. Denny Putnam and deckman Capt. Rich Lynch.
They worked the area from the Palaoa Point Lighthouse on the southwest corner of Lanai down to the "Slides" on the backside. Denny made 15-20 back and forth passes trying to catch an ono. With no luck, he headed out to the 100-fathom ledge on his way back toward the lighthouse. After about a ten-minute run down the ledge, they raised a fish on the long rigger position.
Rich was standing next to the rod as it rattled in the holder after the hard hit. The marlin came flying out of the water, jumping straight away from the boat and crossing the long gone line, chopping off the bird teaser. It turned back toward the boat, making three full body jumps before it disappeared. It looked like a nice fish around 400.
From left, Dale Gingerich, Denny Putnam and Rich Lynch with their 515.6-pound marlin caught on Start Me Up Das It. Photo by Donnell Tate.
The 80-class reel abruptly stopped dumping the 100-test line. Denny knew they were still hooked up but nothing was going on. He looked back for the fish but couldn't see anything. He slowed the boat down as Rich started clearing lines.
All of a sudden, the reel started picking up speed. The next thing Denny sees on the other side of the boat is the marlin flying out of the water just abeam of the port corner. The reel is screaming line at this point, as the marlin makes 4-5 big fish jumps, going ballistic as it tears across the surface. It heads up the side of the boat just 50 yards away trying to get around the bow.
The marlin jumped off half-a-spool of line before it disappeared. With Dale in the chair, Denny throttled the boat ahead, spinning the stern of the boat around after the marlin. Dale wasn't getting any cranks on the reel. Denny couldn't chase after it, but just had to sit there and wait. All of a sudden, the line came zipping across the surface as the fish pulled the loop of line tight.
Denny started backing the boat after the marlin, but Dale was having a hard time gaining any line. Denny could see the fish jumping just 100 feet away from them but couldn't do anything but try and keep the line tight. He couldn't reverse the boat any faster than Dale could crank the handle.
Denny had Rich put the reel into low gear, with Dale finally getting some line back. After about a 15-minute stalemate of not gaining any line, they didn't have any other choice but to hand-line the marlin to the boat. Denny told Rich to grab the line and start pulling the fish in.
Denny started idle reversing the boat in and out of gear - just enough that Dale could pick up some line - as Rich pulled it in for him. With a 45-degree angle on the marlin, Rich had to reach out and grab the line, hand over head, to pull it in. Dale stacked the line on the spool as he cranked.
It was give and take for awhile. The marlin made a couple of short runs of 50 feet, with them gaining 100 feet back, and then losing another 50 feet. Each time, Denny reversed the boat to keep line on the spool. They did what they could, picked up line when they could, and when the fish ran, Rich let go.
Once they got the marlin more up and down off the stern, Denny started working the boat to give Rich a better angle to hand-line. Rich could feel the head shaking as he pulled, letting him know the fish was still alive and well.
The marlin kept coming up, with the rubber band sliding through the guides.
All of a sudden, the double line came up. Once the leader came out of the water, Rich grabbed the line. The marlin zigzagged him, darting from the port to starboard corner, then stopped. Rich moved up ahead of the fish, got a couple of wraps with both hands and brought it around the starboard corner and up the side.
The marlin was swimming at a weird 45-degree angle, trying to get away from the boat. It was all "bronzed" out and looked dead. Denny reached out with the fly-gaff, secured it and pulled it to the boat.
For catching a marlin over 500 pounds, Start Me Up Sportfishing gave Dale his trip for free. They also donated $300 to a Maui charity as part of their continuing charity donation program for a marlin caught over 500 pounds on one of their boats.