LAHAINA - The Start Me Up Das It brought in a 457.5-pound blue marlin by Ron Rhyne, with assistance by Mark Thonhoff. They were fishing with Capt. Denny Putnam and crewman Rich Lynch.
They were coming in from the backside of Lanai, in 170 fathoms off the Manele Golf Course, when Denny spotted a marlin in the pattern. He called out to Rich, "Got a marlin coming in," as it popped up behind the long corner position.
The marlin made one swipe at the small chrome jet, got hooked and took off jumping. It stood up on its tail, kicking up a lot of whitewater as it tore up the surface, making a hole in the rough water as big as a Volkswagen. Rich saw the huge back of the fish and could tell it was 400 pounds.
From left, Ron Rhyne, Capt. Denny Putnam and crewman Rich Lynch with their 457.5-pound blue.
The marlin headed down the pattern past the long rigger position, getting hung up on the long gone lure. Both the 80-class and 70-class reels started screaming. The fish was going ballistic behind the boat, thrashing about.
The marlin then turned to the short side of the pattern, jumping 10-20 yards before turning back to the port side and out past the pattern. It made several sideways full-body jumps, clearing the surface, as it kept going, taking about 300 yards.
Rich got the rest of the pattern cleared as Ron got in the chair with the 80-class reel and 100-test line. Denny called out to Mark and told him that they were double hooked, and he was the angler on the 70-class reel. The 70 was already in the fighting chair gimble, so they had Mark stand next to the reel and crank on that one.
The weather was real rough, and it was tough reversing on the fish. Denny was trying to keep from fighting the fish in the trough, heading the bow into the waves. He didn't have to back up that much; he just maneuvered the boat so he could keep in front of the fish. He turned the marlin, so they were going down-swell most of the time with it.
The marlin kept wanting to go up-swell. When Denny had to turn back into the trough, water crashed over the railing, filling up the back deck. The marlin was tough off the back of the boat, slowly crossing back and forth over a dozen times. With two anglers, they were able to get the fish to double line in about 35-40 minutes.
The marlin was lit-up, making wide swings from side to side, pulling off 30-40 feet and trying to swim up the sides of the boat. Every time it wanted to turn, Denny motored out in front of the fish and turned it back the other way. Denny then reversed the boat up on it, regaining back to double line, again and again. This give and take went on for at least 20 minutes.
When they finally got it close to leader, they noticed that the double line from Mark's rod was wrapped all around the swivel on Ron's line, dragging along the bird teaser. It was a big jumble of wrapped up line coming to the boat.
As they continued to watch the mess, they noticed that the claw hook on Mark's lure had broken free from the leader, with the hook still in the side of the marlin. They were anxiously watching Mark's line that it didn't get tangled up any more and break Ron's leader.
Rich finally grabbed the leader off the port side, but the marlin was still moving. It took him from the port side corner across to the starboard corner, and then dug down. Rich couldn't keep its head up and had to dump the leader. It took another 10-15 minutes to get the marlin back to leader.
Rich had another chance and grabbed the leader on the starboard side. He walked the fish over to the port corner, got ahead of it and took a wrap on the leader. As Rich pulled, he gained a little more line and took another wrap.
The marlin dug out at the port corner, but Rich held on to the wrap as it stretched him out over the rail. He pulled back on the fish and got another wrap. Denny was right there to secure their fish and end the fight.