LAHAINA - The Start Me Up Again put their third big fish of the year into the Top Marlin stats: a 535.3-pound blue by Tom Thomason. He was fishing with Capt. Steve Cravens and deckman John Keiley.
Steve headed the boat out of town toward the LA-Buoy on the way to the Kaho'olawe Shoals. He was just inside the 100-fathom ledge when John saw a marlin bill-whack the long corner, Seth Kizel purple straight-runner lure. Steve turned around to see the explosion the marlin made behind the lure, but it never broke the rubber band.
John could only bring in the lure a couple of cranks before the tag line rubber band reached the rod tip. He then free-spooled the lure back to its original position and locked up the reel. As soon as he locked up the reel, the rubber band snapped as the marlin grabbed the lure. "Hook up!"
From left, Tom Thomason, deckman John Keiley and Capt. Steve Cravens with their 535.3-pound blue.
The marlin peeled out the 130-test line straight out, jumping away from the boat 400-500 yards in a hurry. John quickly got the long side cleared so Steve could reverse the boat past the short side of the pattern after the fish.
The marlin jumped off to the starboard side, tail-walking back and forth and kicking up a lot of whitewater. It stayed on the surface for the first ten minutes, making several more series of jumps. Steve backed the boat aggressively after the fish, trying to retrieve some of the line when it was down. Once Tom had half the spool back, Steve slowed the chase.
With the marlin almost straight up and down off the stern, Steve worked the boat in and out of gear until Tom got tired, then idled forward to keep the line tight while Tom rested. They kept this up for about 15 minutes.
As Steve got the marlin to within 100 yards of the boat, he went to neutral. John switched the reel into low gear and got Tom in to a rhythm, letting him pump the rod, pull up, reel down, pull up, reel down.
In no time, they had the marlin to double line off the stern. With the fish near enough that John could grab the swivel, he held on with both hands so the line wouldn't slip. The marlin couldn't decide which direction it wanted to go, so John felt it out for a few seconds.
John couldn't do anything without taking wraps on the leader. The marlin started to slowly drift to the port side. It never made a big move, so John took a couple of good wraps of line and pulled it around the side.
The marlin came up fairly easy and rolled on its side. Steve left the helm pretty quickly to secure the fish. John took a couple more wraps and pulled, with it right there for Steve. Tom did a great job in the chair, mentioned Steve. He got into a rhythm pumping the rod and keeping tension on the line, getting his fish to the boat in 45 minutes.
For catching a marlin over 500 pounds, Start Me Up Sportfishing gave Tom his trip for free. They also donated $300 to Habitat for Humanity as part of their continuing charity donation program for a marlin caught over 500 pounds on one of their boats.