It was supposed to be a relaxing day of cruising and fishing, catching a few shibi, mahi and plenty of beverages.
Dennis headed out to the K-Buoy located five-and-a-half miles southwest of the Palaoa Point Lighthouse, Lanai. They picked up a couple of mahi there and then worked their way across the middle of the Kealaikahiki Channel to the SO-Buoy located ten miles off the Kaho‘olawe Shoals.
There were a couple of finicky mahi there but no luck. Dennis told the group, “Let’s go trolling back toward Lahaina and see what happens.” About three-and-a-half miles from SO, the long rigger line came down hard.
Dennis turned around as the 14.0-class reel started to scream off the 180-test line. A nice-sized marlin was going ballistic, jumping and running back and forth all over the place. It didn’t pull much line as it ripped up the surface into whitewater for about five minutes. Dennis had Gene set up in the chair.
Suddenly, the marlin took off, running out a couple hundred yards, and then looped back around charging toward the boat. Dennis had Ron on the helm and had him power the boat ahead, running away from the fish. Ron continued forward for about a minute before they got the fish and line straight behind the boat.
The marlin and the situation finally settled down as it headed deep. Dennis was surprised as he looked down at the almost empty spool. Lucky for them, the marlin was swimming toward the boat, and Gene was gaining line.
Ron idled the boat ahead, keeping the marlin off the port corner, with it at a 45-degree angle deep. The marlin continued toward the boat with them working it up in a slow plane, making it a little bit easier for Gene to pull and crank.
About an hour later, when they finally got the marlin close, it was pretty much straight up and down off the stern. As it came to leader, it was swimming slowly back and forth, showing signs it was tired. Dennis was a little surprised when he finally got a close look at it. He hadn’t seen a fish that big in a while.
Once Gene cranked his marlin to the boat, Dennis had him get out of the chair, put the rod in the holder and grab the leader. Dennis had the fly-gaff and took a shot. Once they got the fish secured, the next problem was getting it into the boat. After five tries, they finally hauled it onto the deck.
Everybody was stoked. This was Belinda and Gene’s first time on Maui and first time deep sea fishing, getting a fish of a lifetime for Gene.
From left, Belinda and Gene Lightsey, Ron Soucek and Capt. Dennis Blevins with their 340.3-pound marlin caught on the Puff Daddy.