LAHAINA - The Start Me Up Too hooked one up at the "bottom of the ninth," weighing a 600.1-pound blue marlin by 14-year-old Garrett McClure. He was fishing with Capt. Patrick Dorn and deckman Tim Temple.
They were on their way in from an eight-hour charter without any bites, so Patrick made an ono run inside to "Papio's," in 50 fathoms of water off Launiupoko Park, to try and get a fish for their charter. He saw a couple of splashes and some birds working ahead. At first, he thought they were dolphins, but they ended up being pilot whales. Before he even got to the area, the long corner softhead got bit.
The marlin went straight away, greyhounding five big jumps, smoking the 130 class reel on a 400-yard run. The fish went down, and then it erupted through the surface straight out of the water coming back at them. Patrick suddenly went from going "rack back" to throttling the boat forward.
When the marlin finally settled down, it was still straight behind the boat 250-300 yards away. Patrick was able to reverse the boat straight by the last two lures in the water as Tim cleared the short side first.
By the 20-minute mark, they actually had the marlin to double line. At that point, Tim had the drag pushed to the button at 40 pounds of pressure, with the fish still swimming away from them. Even with the long run it took, and coming straight back at the boat, "She was still real, real hot," said Patrick.
Patrick knew he had a nice one. It wasn't one of the 150- to 200-pounders that had been coming in. He reversed the boat right up on top of the marlin and was not able to gain any line. He was worried that if the fish made a wrong turn, he was cooked. The adrenaline at that point was high. The chase was on, he said.
"That was the first time I've had a fish come up all lit-up like that, and just have her back to us and swimming away like that," mentioned Patrick. "Just like saying, 'Ah Ah - I ain't coming yet.' Just backing up right on top of her, and seeing the line still 'grunting' off the spool, and not being able to get anything was pretty amazing," he said.
The marlin went back down, taking line out to the rubber band. Being a long corner bite, it wasn't that far. The fish was straight down at that point. Tim started to help Garrett pump the rod.
The marlin started swimming in a big circle underneath the boat. Patrick just kept it off the port corner and chased it backwards until they had it back up to double line.
When Tim first grabbed the leader, he knew he had a really big fish on. He managed to get it up as it rolled over, looking like it wanted to give up. Suddenly, it righted itself and then lunged twice, halfway out of the water, back to the starboard side and went down. Tim held on to the leader.
The marlin walked Tim over to the port corner for a few seconds, quickly pulled him back to starboard, then back to port. Tim was able to take wraps as he brought the fish up around the port corner. As he pulled it up the side of the boat, it rolled upside down.
Patrick left the helm to secure the fish. They got a half-hitch around the bill and pulled it through the stern door.
This is the second largest marlin for the Lahaina fleet so far this year and third largest for Maui. For catching a marlin over 500 pounds, Start Me Up Sportfishing gave Garrett his trip for free.