LAHAINA - The Reel Hooker crew landed their strangest blue marlin catch of the year weighing in at 442.6 pounds. Capt. Greg France was at the helm with Adam Klevins working the deck.
They were trolling the ledge near the LA-Buoy marks off Olowalu when Greg spotted a marlin on the surface whacking tuna. Adam mentioned that it was smacking the bait five feet in the air. It would then pick up speed as it raced across the surface, half its body out of the water, mouth open, catching the bait before it hit the surface.
Greg turned the boat to try and pull the lures in front of the marlin. Whamo! The Lee Aoki "chartreuse" bullet lure on the long gone position got nailed. The fish took off, greyhounding crazy across the surface. It ripped out 300 yards of 60-test line off the 50-class reel in a few seconds.
Once it settled down, it headed for the bottom. Greg reversed on the marlin for about 30 minutes until the angle on the line went straight down. They were in a stalemate for another 15 minutes with the 50-class gear getting a workout.
Adam kept easing up the drag, with them finally getting a couple of inches at a crank. Greg turned the boat into the current to try and plane the fish up. The marlin was acting really weird. Greg felt that it must have been either foul hooked or tail-wrapped. The planing of the fish wasn't working. Greg knew it was done.
It was coming up slow, slow, slow, said Greg. "I don't know how much drag we had on it. It was way over the button, almost to 'sunset.' '' The rod was arched over the stern as the 60-test line pinged off the spool.
Greg was "dead boat" with the marlin sitting right there below them for at least a half hour. Adam tried to put the reel into low gear, but they got nothing back. They couldn't break the stalemate.
Greg tried doing circles on the fish, but that didn't work either. He couldn't get the marlin turned into the current, because the current kept pulling it sideways for some strange reason.
Greg said, "We got to get this fish." That's when they decided to hand-line the fish up. The last 30 minutes, Adam, hand-over-hand, slowly pulled up the last 100 yards of line onto the spool.
As the marlin finally came up to double line, Greg looked down from the bridge and mentioned that it looked like a big dead body below the stern. He said to Adam, "I think it's foul hooked." As Adam grabbed leader, he looked over and said, "It's hooked in the side."
The marlin came up totally sideways, rising to the surface. Once Adam saw how the marlin was hooked, he carefully pulled it up as high as he could. He told Greg, "I'm going to get it." He reached down and stuck the gaff right behind the peck fin where the hook was, not giving the fish a moment's choice. He was sure the hooks were going to pop out.
After a tough, two-and-a-half-hour fight, nothing left but to pull the marlin's head around and slide it through the stern door. Another unusual marlin catch for the boat, captain and crew.