LAHAINA - The Island Time joined the 500-pound marlin club with a 547.4-pound blue by Laura Struik and Richard Atkinson. They were fishing with owner/Capt. Rod Quam and deckmen Jim Cribben and Joel Vitt.
Rod arrived at the NASA-Buoy located on the 1,000-fathom ledge off the backside of Lanai at sunrise. There was a lot of activity in the water - birds and bait in the general area. Since it looked so good, Rod made a pass by the buoy. They had a strike while trolling the area, with a marlin hitting three different lures, but it didn't stick.
After working the area without any more action, Rod headed north toward the CC-Buoy. He continued trolling toward the buoy, raising a marlin on the short corner position about ten minutes later. The marlin grabbed the lure but didn't hookup. It turned around, came back in on the long corner position and swallowed the lure.
From left, Richard Atkinson, Laura Struik, Rod Quam, Jim Cribben and Joel Vitt with their 547.4-pound blue.
The marlin took off jumping and then disappeared, ripping 800 yards of 100-test line off the 80-class reel before getting really active on the surface. Jim and Joel got the rest of the lines cleared as Rod started to aggressively reverse the boat after the fish. Laura was an awesome angler, mentioned Rod, especially for the first time ever fighting a fish.
The marlin stayed pretty much on the surface as it continued to take line.
Over the next hour-and-a-half, they slowly gained line as they chased after the marlin. They covered five miles before Laura finally got it within range of the leader. Rod looked around and noticed that the marlin had taken them to the CC-Buoy.
Once they got the marlin to leader the first time, it hunkered straight down behind the boat. Rod started to plane the fish up. It came to the surface and started jumping, taking off on a 100-yard run down and out. At that point, it became a game of give-and-take for Laura.
Each time the leader would near the rod tip, the marlin would come up to the surface and take off on a 75- to 100-yard jump and run. Rod reversed the boat after it, getting it close to double line at least a dozen times. This exchange went on for at least a half-hour before the marlin sounded. This fish had a lot of energy, mentioned Rod.
After enduring two hours of up-and-down, give-and-take, Laura hit a stalemate and decided to get out of the chair. With the marlin straight up and down behind the boat about 150 yards, Richard was in for a tough battle. He fought the marlin hard for the next hour.
Rod started to plane the fish up, pulling the boat forward to raise it up and get an angle, and then reverse on it as Richard got cranks. The marlin didn't want to come up past double line as it swam down 20 feet and away from the boat again and again.
Finally, Richard was able to crank it in, and Jim and Joel grabbed the leader. They were both holding on to the line and pulling, but the marlin dug down and took off 50-80 yards, with them having to let go of the line. It took Richard 10-15 minutes to get the fish back to leader. This sequence happened a half a dozen times.
With the drag set as high as it would go, Jim and Joel positioned themselves with all their hands on the leader, trying to haul the stubborn marlin up off the starboard corner. They finally got it turned toward the boat. As they continued pulling, when Rod saw the fish was close enough, he came off the helm, reached down off the starboard side - over the both of them - and stuck the fly-gaff.