LAHAINA - Who says there are no big marlin in December? The Start Me Up La Dat hoisted a nice 559.1-pound blue for Shayne Smoot. He was fishing with Captains Ryan Fiedorowicz and Brandon McKinley and a guest deckman, Capt. Tom Stables.
They were on a four-hour afternoon trip, raising their fish inside the newly replaced LA-Buoy about ten miles outside Olowalu on the 100-fathom ledge. Tom saw the short corner bite and thought it was a much smaller fish, calling 250-300 pounds. Ryno looked back, saw the big hole in the water it left and said, "Whoa, it's a big fish."
The marlin didn't take any line at first, and they thought it had come off. Brandon transferred the rod to Shayne, who was already in the chair. The fish began pulling line slowly. Brandon and Tom got the lines cleared as Ryno started backing up on the fish.
From left, Shayne Smoot and Captains Ryan Fiedorowicz, Tom Stables and Brandon McKinley with their 559.1-pound marlin.
About 20 seconds later, the marlin started jumping 50 yards away, tail-walking in circles, coming back and forth on itself, then took off, but never pulled more than 150 yards of 130-test line. Ryno continued backing after the fish.
The marlin reappeared and started jumping off their port side about 50 yards away, greyhounding and headshaking, putting a big loop of line in the water back toward the boat.
As Ryno was backing up to the fish, he saw another marlin swim right behind the boat. He said, "Whoa, there's another fish."
At the time, there was only about 60 yards of line out. All of a sudden, the loop in the line came right around to where the "other" marlin was, just ten feet off the transom and came tight. Ryno was still in reverse, thinking it was the "other" fish, almost coming close to running it over.
The marlin turned out and made three more series of jumps 40-50 yards away, full body greyhounding, back and forth behind the boat. Ryno continued the chase.
When they finally got the marlin close to the boat, about double line length away, it was swimming away from them. As it came to leader, it kept digging down and turning away from them. Ryno had to spin the boat a couple of times before he actually got its head toward the boat.
Once Tom was finally able to grab leader, he realized it was a much bigger fish. He had to "baby" it around the props and let it go to do its thing. The marlin swam over to the port side, where Tom grabbed the leader a second time. With the line wrapped around the bill, he couldn't pull its head up high enough to gaff.
Tom had to dump the leader again as the marlin tried to get into the props, but turned out ten yards and came right back to the boat. Tom grabbed the leader for the third time and walked it across the transom to the starboard corner. The marlin was stuck in the prop wash, with Tom fighting against that, and the fish wanting to dig under the boat.
Tom was finally able to pull the marlin back to the port side and got its head up high enough for Brandon to stick the perfect gaff shot to secure their fish and end the 20-minute battle.
It was a real mean fish and a pretty intense fight, mentioned Ryno. He had a little bit of boat driving on that one.
It was a good homecoming for Tom, who was in town for a few days. He had missed a snorkel trip that morning, called up Ryno to see if he had a trip going out that afternoon and tagged along as second deckman.
For catching a marlin over 500 pounds, Start Me Up Sportfishing gave Shayne his trip for free. They also donated $300 to King Kamehameha III Elementary as part of their continuing charity donation program for a marlin caught over 500 pounds on one of their boats.