Sal was headed out to the SO-Buoy located ten miles southwest of Kaho‘olawe. He was about three miles away when the charters mentioned that they were feeling a bit seasick.
Sal headed the boat down-swell toward Manele Bay, Lanai. They were in 200 fathoms, four miles away, when the short rigger reel made a quick zip. Sal was watching the pattern when he saw the line from the long rigger pop from the clip.
The marlin immediately started jumping on its side, throwing up a lot of whitewater as it crashed back into the water. It headed across the pattern to the port side, putting a huge loop in the line, on a 400-yard run. Ryan had the chair pointed out the starboard corner, with the marlin 200 yards off the port side.
Once the marlin stopped its sideways jumps, it was about 100 yards away. Sal started reversing the boat after the loop. The fish stayed on the surface, letting Sal get the boat straight on it and the line tight.
The marlin went down, with Sal getting up to it in about 15 minutes. It was swimming away from them, with Sal keeping the boat in idle reverse after it. Damon was doing a great job but could only put so much pressure on the fish.
Ryan thumbed the spool most of the fight — keeping that little bit of extra pressure on the marlin — so Damon could lift the rod without line coming off the spool. Ryan had the reel in and out of low gear several times to help Damon gain some line during the stalemates.
Thirty minutes into the fight, they had the marlin almost to double line. The fish was swimming head down, digging in. They couldn’t put any more pressure on the reel, worried about Damon getting pulled out of the chair.
Sal headed the boat down-swell with the fish. He tried changing directions several times, but it continued to swim down-swell. The double line knot kept popping the surface a half-dozen times, with the marlin pulling 10-20 feet each time.
Damon was in a give-and-take, tug of war with his fish. Finally, Sal asked Ryan to start hand-lining the marlin to help Damon pull it up. It began to slowly rise a foot at a time. Once the swivel came within reach, Ryan reached out and grabbed the leader.
The marlin fought Ryan at leader, but he held on with only one wrap. It took him from the port corner back to the starboard corner. Ryan was pulling with all his strength, but he couldn’t get that second wrap on the leader.
Ryan was finally able to get a second wrap as the marlin headed back to the port corner. As it turned back to the starboard corner, Ryan pulled it up a couple feet from the surface. Sal reached down a little deeper than he normally would with the gaff to stick the fish. That was enough to pull it to the surface.
Once the marlin broke the surface, it was done. They cleated it off to the side of the boat and took a break, dragging it for about a mile before everybody helped to haul it into the boat.
From left, crew Ryan Bollhorst, Capt. Sal Tarantino and Damon Vineyard with their 635.1-pound blue.