LAHAINA - The Start Me Up Again placed another blue into the 600-pound marlin club, with this one just making the cut at 600.7 pounds. This big girl was angled by Mike Roskopf while fishing with Capt. Jason Duby and deckman Rob Cosgrove.
They started things off in the morning, getting double spearfish as they crossed the 100-fathom ledge off Kamaiki Point, Lanai. They headed around the backside of Lanai to the NASA Buoy, picking up a couple of mahi there. There were solid birds and bait in the area, and it looked good.
They left the buoy, with Rob setting up the trolling pattern. He had just set the long corner lure when he heard Jason shout, "There's a marlin, long corner. It's a nice one!" Rob looked up and saw a splash.
From left, Mike Roskopf, Capt. Jason Duby and deckman Rob Cosgrove with their 600.7-pound marlin.
The marlin was jumping all over the lure, missing it again and again and not breaking the rubber band, and then it disappeared. Rob went to the rod and pulled the rubber band off the line. He gave the reel a couple of cranks, free-spooled it back a few yards then locked up the reel.
Jason shouted, "It's right there." He could see the marlin underneath the lure just sitting there, tracking it. As Rob cranked the reel back in, the marlin came up real aggressive, mouth open, and grabbed the Coggin Rainbow Head lure.
The marlin took off, grey-hounding straight away from the boat going crazy. It jumped for 200-300 yards and then turned and came back at them, still jumping. The line suddenly went slack.
Jason was after the fish in reverse right away but had to change game plans as he throttled the boat forward. Rob started cranking on the reel like crazy for about 15-20 seconds. He thought the fish was gone.
The line finally came tight as the marlin got all the way back to the long rigger position. It turned at that point and made another 400-yard jump and run before it decided to settle down. By that time, Rob had the rest of the pattern cleared.
The marlin stayed up. It wasn't jumping or running, just swimming away. Jason backed the boat right to it, getting about 100 yards away in only 20 minutes. All of a sudden, the rod tip bowed over and the line started to slowly peel off the spool straight down. Jason had a thought it might be on a death dive.
It took a long time to stop the marlin's continuous descent. Rob kept bumping up the drag, finally stopping it about 200 yards deep. Jason began to plane the marlin up, but the weight of the fish kept pulling line off the spool. Mike was at a stalemate, unable to gain an inch.
Jason came down and felt the line. He thought he could feel something, but not for sure. Jason told Rob to get ready to hand-line. Rob moved the rod to the starboard side rail and had Mike sit behind the reel.
Forty-five minutes into the fight, Rob started to hand-over-hand slowly pull up the marlin. The wind picked up, and it got painstakingly difficult to raise the fish. "It was a nightmare," said Jason.
Jason put the boat into neutral and let the wind blow the boat down-swell. Rob held the line and planed the marlin upward, with Jason quickly reversing on it as Mike cranked. They would get 20-30-feet, and then do it again and again. They were taking so much water over the stern; it was so wet and slow to retrieve any line.
Rob and Jason switched out 4-5 times over the hour of hand-lining. The last 100 feet, the pulling got real easy. You could tell it was floating up, mentioned Jason. He could see the marlin coming up and bumped the boat ahead.
They were surging so much in the swell, Jason wanted to get away from the fish. He knew it would be popping up close. Rob hand-lined the marlin up on the port side right next to the boat. All he needed was a stick gaff to secure their dead catch.
After weighing the fish, Jason spotted the tail of a mahi stuck in its gullet. He pulled out an estimated 12- to 15-pound mahi, probably several days old, missing its head with just the spine and some flesh left on the bones.
My theory is that the marlin had the mahi in its stomach for a few days as it digested. It could still feed, and ate the lure instead of a live fish. With all its jumping and running at the beginning of the fight, it probably tried to throw its stomach to dislodge the lure. The marlin regurgitated the mahi skeleton, with it getting stuck in its throat. This probably caused it to suffocate as it made that 200-yard dive.
For catching a marlin over 500 pounds, Start Me Up Sportfishing gave Mike his trip for free. They also donated $300 to Habitat for Humanity Maui as part of their charity donation program for a marlin caught over 500 pounds on one of their boats.