LAHAINA - What up with the Cuz? The Start Me Up Cuz joined the 600-pound marlin club with a 608.6-pound blue by Bob Wright. He was fishing with Capt. Craig Schuler and deckman John French.
Craig had been working both sides of the Kahoolawe Shoals, raising their marlin about two miles Lahaina side of the SO-Buoy located ten miles off Twin Sands beach.
At the strike, they knew they had hooked a marlin. It ran straight down the middle of the pattern, making short, quick rips off the short corner 130-class reel as it shook its head from side to side.
From left, crew John French, Capt. Craig Schuler and Bob Wright with their 608.6-pound blue.
John quickly cleared the short rigger line and then went after the long gone position. Craig kept the boat trolling speed ahead as John started to clear the long side of the pattern.
The marlin finally broke the surface jumping about 200 yards away. Craig slowed the boat to idle ahead - keeping the line tight - as John cleared the long side lines.
The marlin jumped off to the starboard side, then looped in toward the boat, cutting back across to the port side and across the line. It was real spooky and a miracle it stayed on, not cutting them off, mentioned Craig. He was waiting for something bad to happen and hoping it wouldn't.
Craig went "dead boat" as John cleared the last line. The marlin continued jumping off the port side pulling line pretty quick. It made 2-3 jumps, settled down a few seconds and then jumped again several more times - nothing too radical as it pulled off another 100 yards.
After a couple of minutes, the marlin finally settled down and went deep. Craig started to reverse the boat after the fish, trying to slow down the line loss.
Bob was a great angler, said Craig. He cranked hard on his fish, gaining good line, about 150 yards, before they lost their angle. As they got up and down on the marlin, it went for another dive slow and steady away from the boat.
John slowly pushed up the drag a little bit to try and slow its run. They didn't want the fish going on a deep death dive. The marlin turned and started coming at the boat, giving them an unexpected opportunity, with Bob gaining 50-60 yards.
Craig proceeded to slowly get the boat closer to the marlin. Nothing quick was happening. Bob was barely gaining line, maybe 2-3 cranks, with them losing 5-6 feet, then getting 3-4 more cranks and losing several more feet. This give-and-take went on for a while as Bob inched his fish up.
Thirty minutes into the fight, Bob ran into a bit of a stalemate. The marlin was down about 75 yards digging hard. There was a good bend in the rod, with the line just starting to "ping" off the spool. Craig maneuvered the boat 180 degrees into the swell trying a different angle on the fish. They knew they were going to lose line but willing to give it a try.
The new angle seemed to be working, as Bob starting to gain line. He was gaining 15-20 feet - but only losing five - as the marlin started to come up. It showed itself 60 yards away, making one more series of small half-body lunges away from the boat.
The marlin headed back down to its comfort zone, with Craig backing the boat up to it until he was straight up and down on the line. It was back to another stalemate and the slow progress of pulling it up again.
After several minutes, the marlin started to come back up toward the boat. Craig took advantage of the angle as Bob gained line at a quicker rate. It came up off the starboard side swimming away from them. As Bob got the fish to double line, it was lit-up, glowing a bright purple color.
Craig made a nice maneuver with the boat. He was able to get in front of the marlin, cutting off the angle and getting it turned toward the boat on the port side. They had a perfect angle on the fish, with Bob cranking the line right in.
As soon as the swivel was out of the water, John was able to grab the leader and take a wrap. He took a couple more wraps on the line as the fish swam with the boat. The marlin cut to starboard, pulling John to the corner. He got another wrap at the corner, gaining on the fish as it pulled him back to the port corner.
John got another double wrap on the leader as the marlin tried to turn its head away from the boat. John held on and turned the fish back. It then tried to make a quick run up the port side of the boat, kicking up whitewater with its tail.
John took another wrap on the line as Craig maneuvered the boat ahead with the fish. As John held on, Craig left the helm and got a good gaff shot into the marlin to end the 45-minute tug of war.
With just the three of them aboard, and Bob and John tired from the fight, they made a few attempts to get it in the boat.
After a no go, they got the fly-gaff rope half-hitched around the bill and tied up the tail, securing it across the stern. Craig got the marlin up on a plane and towed it back to Lahaina, picking up a nice 30-pound ono on the way as a bonus.
For catching a marlin over 500 pounds, Start Me Up Sportfishing gave Bob his trip for free. They also donated $300 to a Maui charity as part of their continuing charity donation program for a marlin caught over 500 pounds on one of their boats. This marlin is the third largest for the year-to-date.