Mike was on the deck putting out another lure when the long rigger reel started screaming line. The marlin pulled out 800 yards of 100-test line but never jumped. Mike cleared the long corner lure then headed back to the helm.
As Ryan cleared the short side of the pattern, Mike reversed the boat past the lures after the fish. Mike chased the marlin down for at least a minute, when suddenly the line went slack. He thought they had lost the fish.
Mike put the boat ahead at 9-10 knots for 15-20 seconds. The line was straight back with no tension on it. Just as Mike shouted, “It’s gone,” the line came tight again.
The marlin started ripping out line at a steady pace. Mike had the boat back in reverse at 4-5 knots, with Zack getting all that line back in around 15-20 minutes. They had the fish to within 80 yards, with it straight down off the stern.
Zack started pumping the rod for about four to five minutes, getting the marlin coming up. Once they got an angle on the fish, Mike charged back after it, getting to within 60 yards. The marlin came up, made three nice jumps and then ran out 100 yards.
Mike backed the boat after it, with Zack cranking it to 60-70 feet from double line in about ten minutes. For the rest of the fight, they were at a stalemate with the marlin as it dug down swimming with the boat.
Forty minutes into the fight, Zack finally got the marlin to double line. It started zigzagging from corner to corner, pulling out a little line at each pass. Mike idled the boat ahead, trying to get an angle on the fish as it made its turn under the stern. It was a nonstop give-and-take struggle for Zack
This went on for at least 50 times, with them unable to move the marlin. Ryan reached out and grabbed the double line, putting a little pressure on the fish, but couldn’t reach the leader. He had to let go of the double line as the marlin made another short run of about 50-60 feet.
As Zack got the fish back to double line, it continued the same scenario as before. It just sat there digging down, swimming back and forth, pulling short runs of line for the next 30 minutes. They had at least 45-50 pounds of drag on the marlin but just couldn’t get it to budge. It was a battle of wits on who was going to give up first.
After two-and-a-half hours of give-and-take, Ryan grabbed the double line and pulled the marlin to leader. He held on to the line as it took him back and forth from corner to corner several times. The fish pulled the leader through his hands, back out to double line, but Ryan was able to hold on.
As the marlin crossed back to the port corner, Ryan pulled it back up to leader and took a wrap. Each time the fish turned toward the other corner, Ryan took double wraps and pulled as hard as he could, an inch at a time. He was on leader in a crisscross dance for at least five minutes before he was able to get the fish up on the port corner.
The marlin was still digging down, swimming sideways, as Ryan muscled the fish up within gaff range. Mike reached under the marlin and got a gaff into it to secure their catch and end the two-hour-and-45-minute battle.
For catching a marlin over 500 pounds, Start Me Up Sportfishing gave Zack his trip for free. They also donated $300 to Habitat for Humanity as part of their continuing charity donation program for a marlin caught over 500-pounds on one of their boats.
From left, Zack Martin, Ryan Thomas and Mike Tappero with their 576.4-pound blue.