LAHAINA - Mike Little battled a 450.6-pound blue marlin for two-and-a-half hours aboard the Finest Kind with Capt. Kamal Pfeifle and deckman Sean Hudson. They were inside the K-Buoy off the southwest corner of Lanai a couple of miles when they raised the fish.
Kamal was in the tower when he looked down and spotted a marlin come in on the short corner lure. He headed for the deck and free-spooled the lure back a couple of yards. The marlin grabbed the lure and started ripping out line.
Kamal locked up the reel and thought he had the fish hooked as it continued to take line. The marlin must have had the lure across its mouth and let it go. The reel stopped spinning.
From left, Mike Little, crew Sean Hudson and Capt. Kamal Pfeifle with their 450.6-pound blue marlin. PHOTO BY DONNELL TATE
Sean circled the boat around. Kamal saw the marlin come back in on the long corner Elkins pink-back popsicle lure. He gave the 80-class reel a couple of cranks. The marlin was lit-up and all over the lure but never snapped the rubber band off the rigger.
Kamal cranked down the line real slow off the rigger, pulling in the lure, and then dropped it back up to the top. The marlin came back in trying to attack the lure as the line reached the rigger, but it turned and swam away. Kamal took a couple of more cranks on the reel, bringing in the lure again.
As Kamal free-spooled the reel, dropping the lure backward, the marlin came up and grabbed the lure. It snapped the rubber band, pulling the 100-test line off the rigger. Kamal kept the reel in free-spool for a few seconds before he locked up the spool.
The marlin took off past the long rigger before doing a mean tail-walking display for the next 200 yards. It stayed on the surface kicking up whitewater as it danced back and forth. Sean already had the long gone in as Kamal cleared the long rigger.
The marlin was still ripping out line as Sean kept the boat moving forward. Once everything was in the boat, Sean was really aggressive reversing after the fish. They gained back 300 yards in about 20 minutes, slowing the boat every now and then to give Mike a chance to catch up.
As Sean continued to reverse after the marlin, it came up and started tail-walking toward the boat, putting a belly in the line. Sean had to throttle the boat ahead to get the slack out and get it tight. Once the fish settled down, Sean was able to reverse the boat up to it - about rubber band distance away - before it went down.
The marlin settled into its zone straight down off the stern for the next hour. It was not cooperating as Mike tried to work it up, getting into a stalemate with his fish. Kamal had to "Portuguese Pump" the line as Mike got cranks, helping out the effort.
Whenever Kamal would see Mike in a stalemate as the marlin dug in, he would hand-line the fish up for a few minutes until it began to rise, then let Mike get back to battling his fish. As the marlin neared the surface, it headed back down on an 80- to 100-yard run.
Mike worked his fish up again, getting the rubber band on and off the spool several times. They could see color below but the marlin was being very stubborn. Sean spun the boat around down-swell as Kamal turned the chair to the port side.
Sean drove the boat alongside the marlin as they collected line when they could. The fish wanted to stay on the port side, but the current was pushing it the opposite way right underneath the boat. Sean had to keep spinning the boat away from the marlin to keep it out of the running gear.
Every time Sean spun the boat, they would lose 20-30 feet of line. It was a give and take game with the fish. Kamal kept bumping up the drag, putting some "heat" on the marlin and trying to get it to come up.
Sean tried to plane the marlin up and then reverse on it as it swam back and forth behind the boat. It came up on the starboard side, heading away from the boat. They had it close to double line a couple of times before Kamal was able to pull it up to double line, and then to leader.
Kamal could see a big silhouette lit-up iridescent blue as he took wraps on the leader. He got a couple more good wraps and pulled as the marlin turned to cut back to the port corner. Kamal took another wrap and pulled the fish up. Sean put the boat to neutral and moved to the middle of the transom, nailing the marlin with the fly-gaff as it came across the stern.