The first place marlin weighed in at 794.5 pounds by the tag team effort of Lisa Wear and Jessica Price. They were fishing aboard the Tai Pan II 2 with Capt. Nat Padgett and crewman Adam Wright.
Nat was heading back to Lahaina Harbor early afternoon on the first day with no fish in the boat. He was about 4-5 miles off Olowalu in about 70 fathoms of water when the short corner line snapped the rubber band connected to the reel base.
Nat looked back and watched the marlin greyhounding straight through the pattern, shaking its head from side to side and tossing the Steve Coggin “Tado” lure around like a rag doll. The marlin ran out 800 yards of 80-test line, almost spooling the 12.0-class reel in no time.
Nat had both engines full throttle as he aggressively reversed the boat straight between the two outriggers before they ran out of line. He kept up the high-speed chase for about 15 minutes before the marlin finally slowed down. Nat followed the fish for another 15 minutes before he was straight up and down on it.
With Lisa getting into a bit of a stalemate, they thought the marlin might have died deep. Jessica switched out in the chair as Nat began to plane the fish up, motoring the boat forward until he had an angle, then reversing up to it as Jessica gained line. With 80-test line, it was hard to put any pressure on the marlin.
After 30 minutes into the fight, the double line finally came up. The marlin was swimming away from them, making big counterclockwise circles around the boat. Nat kicked the stern around after the fish as Jessica short pumped the rod.
The marlin was showing electric blue color as it came up off the starboard corner. Nat grabbed the leader bare handed and took a wrap. The fish was digging in as it tried to move away from the boat. Nat took a double wrap and leaned back on the leader with all his weight, trying to turn the marlin toward the boat.
Adam had never gaffed a marlin before. Nat was holding on with everything he had, trying to give Adam a good angle with the fly-gaff. Nat managed to get the marlin turned and pulled it up. Adam took the shot, securing the fish to end the 45-minute battle.
The second day saw a 630.5-pound blue marlin by Kuulei Waite. She was aboard the Kai Akua with Captains Steve Lambert and Mason Jarvi, crewman Billy Burnett and husband Chris.
They had been out at the SO-Buoy located ten miles off the southwest end of the Kaho‘olawe Shoals. Steve left the buoy and headed toward the tip of the shoals.
They were about three miles north of the buoy when the short rigger chrome head funnel jet lure got bit.
The marlin ran out 300 yards of 100-test line, shaking its head from side to side straight down the pattern, and then stopped. For the next couple of minutes, the fish put on a phenomenal show, doing everything it could to chase after the boat.
Steve had the boat full throttle ahead, peddle to the metal, trying to put some distance between them and the marlin. It was making quick, full body aerials as it charged the boat, peck fins extended like an airplane, as it sailed through the air. They got a good look at it, calling a solid 500-plus pounds.
The marlin made several more sequences of greyhounding charges at them, with Steve punching the boat forward for several minutes each time. He mentioned that he had never had a marlin show that much determination at charging the boat again and again.
There was very little backing down after the marlin, with Steve only putting the boat in idle reverse a couple of times. For the most part, it was a battle of Steve making sure he could keep ahead of the fish as it lunged after them.
Because the marlin had done so much running, charging and leaping at them, by the time they got it to double line 40 minutes later, it was beat.
Mason was able to reach out and grab the leader straight off the stern. He chose to take the marlin on the port side. Mason single wrapped the leader at the corner and walked the fish up the side. He took double wraps on the line and pulled the marlin up. Billy was waiting with the gaff to secure their catch.
There were 14 boats in this year’s two-day event, with 26 wahine catching fish. The Maui Jim landed the third place fish: a 124.5-pound blue marlin by Ryka Von Jarosin. She was fishing with Capt. Tom Casey. In fourth place was a 97.7-pound blue marlin by Leah Kinores. She was fishing with her dad, Capt. Randy Kinores.
The largest ono took fifth place, with Katie Conlee landing a 33.5-pound fish aboard the Jayhawk with Capt. Steve Schulz. The largest mahi was also caught aboard the Jayhawk, with Pauli Carroll weighing a 25.8-pound fish. The Jayhawk also had a “Clean Sweep” with a 21.2-pound spearfish by Katie Conlee, and the ono, mahi and tuna for the team. The largest tuna was caught by the Hokulani, with Fele Kahalewai weighing a 27.5-pound fish with husband Isaac Kahalewai.
Team Tai Pan II 2 — from left, Capt. Nat Padgett, Jessica Price, Lisa Wear and crew Adam Wright — won the contest with this 794.5-pound marlin.