LAHAINA - The Ikaika Kai ended up the month of April joining the 500-pound marlin club for the year with a 522.4-pound blue by Danielle Nash and husband Tom. They were fishing with Capt. Hunter Betts and deckman Chris Wong.
Hunter headed the boat out of Lahaina toward Kamaiki Point on the southeast corner of Lanai. As he turned south inside the 100-fathom ledge toward the "Factory," Chris saw a marlin all over the short rigger position. He started yelling as the fish pulled the line out of the rigger clip.
The marlin turned away from the lure but came back up on it a few seconds later. Chris free-spooled the lure backward a few yards then cranked it in, trying to tease the marlin to strike. On his third try, he dropped the lure right down its throat.
From left, Chris Wong, Tom and Danielle Nash, and Capt. Hunter Betts with their 522.4-pound blue caught on Ikaika Kai. Photo by Donnell Tate.
The marlin quickly turned around and then went nuts. It came out of the water as it greyhounded straight down the pattern for 600 yards, then started jumping back toward the boat. Hunter had both engines full ahead for a couple of minutes until they got the belly out of the 100-test line.
Once the marlin settled down, it sounded a couple of hundred feet and then stopped its run. They had a good angle on the fish.
Hunter bumped the boat in and out of gear as Danielle slowly worked her fish up, getting into a rhythm, short pumping the rod over the next hour.
Danielle did a great job - an awesome angler, mentioned Hunter. She began to fade, so her husband, Tom, finished up the last half-hour of the fight.
Chris grabbed the leader and brought the marlin up on the starboard side. He took a couple of wraps on the leader, pulled, got a couple of more wraps and pulled the fish within gaff range. Hunter got a solid shot with the fly-gaff to secure their catch.