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Reel Hooker yellowfin fought like a marlin

March 24, 2011
HARBOR REPORT With Donnell A. Tate
LAHAINA — The Reel Hooker brought in a “toad” yellowfin tuna weighing in at 170.4 pounds by Joe Cunius. He was fishing with Capt. Greg France, crewman Chris Wong and his dad, Peter.

Peter used to be the crew aboard the Reel Hooker and had been dreaming about going fishing. When he found out that Joe was a repeat customer, and he had fished with him last year, he jumped aboard.

They had been fishing the NASA-Buoy off the West Side of Lanai, catching a couple of mahi and tagging an estimated 30-pound striped marlin.

Greg was trolling away from the buoy, spotting a school of porpoise about a quarter-mile away, as they headed toward the K-Buoy. There were no birds in the school, and it didn’t look that great, but it was a pretty big school.

The third pass through the school, the short rigger line went down. The fish took the Maui Fishing Lures “KP2” for a good run straight down 200 yards and then stopped. They knew they had an ahi hooked.

Greg sat on the tuna, with it straight up and down behind the boat. He made at least 50 counterclockwise circles with the boat as he “unscrewed” the fish upward.

After about 30 minutes into the fight, the ahi surfaced 30 yards away and jumped. The line went slack and the fish made some weird maneuvers. No one saw the fish surface but Joe, as he shouted out, “It’s a marlin!”

Out of the corner of their eye, the boys saw a splash and some whitewater, and for a brief minute thought it might be a small blue. This gave them an advantage of gaining a lot of line with the fish up on the surface. The fish sounded again and started fighting like a billfish.

Things were strange, as the fish went straight back down and continued to make circles like an ahi.

For the next 40 minutes, Greg continued to make circle after circle with the boat as the fish got closer. When it got to double line, they started shouting, “Look at the color; look at the color — it’s an ahi.”

It came up right behind the boat digging away. Chris grabbed the double line, got its head turned around and hand-over-hand hauled the tuna in. He got a few wraps on the leader and held on as Peter came over and stuck the gaff to secure their catch.

Greg mentioned that a pod of pilot whales came straight at the boat during the fight, and at that point, the ahi surfaced and jumped.

The pilot whales continued past them, but the ahi was probably scared to the surface, trying to get out of their way. Down was not a good place for it.

Peter said that Joe did a good job angling his ahi, and he’s a regular customer of Finest Kind owner Dave Hudson.

This is the largest ahi for Lahaina Harbor since June 2009, when a 200-pounder was brought in. The largest ahi in 2010 for the harbor weighed 164.3 pounds.

Article Photos

From left, Capt. Greg France, Joe Cunius and Chris and Peter Wong with their 170.4-pound yellowfin tuna. Photo by Donnell Tate.

 
 
 

 

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