LAHAINA - The Offshore Hunter brought in a nice blue marlin for John Wold weighing 459.8 pounds. He was fishing with owner Capt. Jim Ward, Capt. Randy Kinores and crewman Jeff Kaiser.
They had gone out to the MC-Buoy located 13 miles off the southwest corner of Lanai, then down to the NASA-Buoy off the West Side. They were heading back up the ledge outside the "Slides," in line with the K-Buoy, when they raised their fish.
Randy was looking at the pattern and saw the marlin come in from the port side. It swam straight up the pattern to the short corner position. It then jumped halfway out of the water, grabbed the lure and took off.
From left, Capt. Randy Kinores, Capt. Jim Ward and John Wold with their 459.8-pound marlin. Photo by Donnell Tate.
The marlin smoked off the 50-test line freight-training straight down the pattern for 200 yards before it made a hook to the port side. It then started jumping up the side of the boat before it looped back around, coming across the back of the pattern and taking 200 more yards.
Randy and Jeff got the long side of the pattern cleared so Jim could reverse the boat around the remaining lines.
Randy and Jeff cleared the rest of the lines as John started cranking. Jim had the boat in full reverse just trying to keep up with the fish, taking water over the stern. He followed the line for about ten minutes before they got the loop straightened.
Jim continued chasing after the marlin for another ten minutes before they lost the angle on it. They still had 250 yards of line out. At that point, they were at the mercy of the marlin. With 50-pound test line, they could only put 15-18 pounds of drag on the reel.
They had the marlin close to the boat several times over the next 45 minutes. As it made big circles about 60 feet out, Jim followed it, reversing quickly across the angle, trying to cut it off. Every time Jim got as close as he could with the boat, the fish would try to go underneath the stern.
The marlin would then turn around and head away from them, pulling 20-40 feet. Jim tried to stay after it, but he could never get ahead of it before it started its switchbacks and circles. This marlin was going and doing whatever it wanted.
The only thing Jim could do was keep the boat going in the same direction as the fish. The marlin finally stopped circling and started following them. A few minutes later, they were able to get it to just outside the swivel and leader.
The marlin kept swimming up the port side of the boat then diving under the stern. Randy had to push the line around the corner as Jim motored the boat ahead. The 50-test line was really frustrating. They had the fish within one to two feet 6-8 times, but Randy just couldn't reach the swivel. They couldn't put any more pressure on the fish and just had to take their time for a shot at the leader.
Finally, Randy was able to grab the swivel, take a wrap on the leader and hold on. The marlin dug in a little but was pretty tired at that point. They were lucky that they had 300-pound leader on the light tackle. Jim was right there to grab the bill and secure John's marlin, ending the fight.
This was John's first marlin and first trip to Maui. He didn't know what to think about his fish. He was completely zapped and exhausted from the experience. He fishes up in Alaska and couldn't fathom a fish 400 pounds.
This was a once-in-a-lifetime fish for John. He had back surgery two years ago to fix a spinal accident that caused him to be paralyzed from the waist down.
"To be on the boat and fighting the marlin, the way my back was back then and today, it was unreal," mentioned John. "Modern medicine is fantastic."