LAHAINA - The Start Me Up Again finished up January with a 450.1-pound blue marlin for Matt Hood. He was fishing with Capt. Steve Cravens and crewman John Keiley.
Steve was trolling back in from the K-Buoy located 5.5 miles off the southwest corner of Lanai when they raised their fish. John was cleaning up after catching a couple of mahi at the buoy when he heard a reel go off. He turned around to a big explosion of whitewater at the short corner position.
The marlin ran straight down the pattern, jumping away from the boat for about 100 yards. It then cut left across the back of the pattern, greyhounding to the starboard side. The fish came back toward the boat, up the side almost abeam to them 100 yards away. Steve had the boat full throttle ahead, trying to keep the fish behind them.
From left, Matt Hood, crew John Keiley and Capt. Steve Cravens with their 450.1-pound blue marlin caught on Start Me Up Again.
The marlin settled down for a few seconds, then turned and started jumping again in the opposite direction going ballistic. It tail-walked and greyhounded for 400 yards before slowing its run. There was a huge loop in the line, taking Steve several minutes of powering the boat ahead to pull the line straight.
With the marlin settled into the fight, Steve idled the boat back for about a half hour before he had the line straight up and down on the fish about 200 yards deep. They had the 130-class reel up to 60 pounds of pressure and in low gear, but Matt was in a stalemate, unable to gain any more line.
They weren't seeing any movement from the marlin and thought it might be dead. John went back to the port corner and started doing some easy hand over hand hand-lining.
Steve kept bumping the boat in and out of gear, keeping a 30-degree angle on the fish so John could reach the line. The current was going away from them, pushing the marlin away from the boat.
Matt was doing a great job in the chair cranking in the line as John pulled. When Matt felt tired, they took a quick break. As soon as he was rested, he and John started again. They kept it up for about 45 minutes before getting the marlin to double line.
As Matt cranked his fish up to leader, Steve noticed that it was coming in backwards and tail-wrapped. It popped up dead along the port side of the boat. John grabbed the leader and pulled it in as Steve stuck a hand gaff into the tail. John got a fly-gaff under the chin and lifted the head as Steve grabbed the bill. They pulled it around to the stern door and into the boat, ending the hour-and-30-minute fight.