LAHAINA - The "weekend warrior" Puff Daddy brought in a rare catch of a 185.4-pound mako shark by Kameahou Blevins. He was fishing with his uncle, Capt. Dennis Blevins.
Dennis headed out to the deep waters on the 1,000-fathom ledge off the southwest end of Kahoolawe, between the old weather buoy and SO Buoy marks, looking for bird piles. He thought there might be some open schools of mahi there. Not having any luck, he looped around and headed back toward Maui.
About a half-hour later, he spotted two birds, so he headed toward them. He passed them without any sign of fish in the area. Another ten minutes of trolling, and they got a bite on the long rigger lure.
Capt. Dennis Blevins (left) and Kameahou Blevins with their 185.4-pound mako shark. PHOTO BY DONNELL TATE
The fish took off, ripping out the 130-test line in a hurry. About 200 yards away, it came flying completely out of the water 20 feet high. It did a back flip and then crashed back into the water, snapping the outrigger pole. Dennis assumed he had hooked a marlin, because he had never seen a shark jump like that.
With Kameahoe in the chair, they fought it like a marlin. Dennis had a hard time reversing after the fish, because his boat is a single screw and wants to hook to the left. He could reverse for a while, but then he would have to motor ahead to get the stern swung back around toward the line.
It was just that gain he was able to get on the fish, repeatedly. A couple of times, the fish started to come around the boat, so Dennis had to motor ahead and turn away from it.
The fish finally got somewhat tired but kept them about 30 yards away for a while. They fought it for almost an hour before they realized it was a shark. As it got closer, Dennis was watching the distance between the dorsal and tail fins and how close they were. He was thinking, "What is that?" He couldn't figure out what happened - he thought he had a marlin on.
When he saw the cobalt blue color of its back, he was disappointed.
"I was bummed," Dennis said. "Oh, it's a shark!"
Then he realized that it was a mako, because of the airborne jump, and that changed things. That was a keeper then, he mentioned. Mako are considered an exciting "game fish" and are quite edible. As the saying goes, "Tastes like chicken."
As they got it to leader, the mako swam up and chomped down on the teak swim step, chewing away like it was something to eat. It then locked down and started thrashing around, trying to tear a chunk out of the step. Dennis was trying to get its mouth open by sticking the bat between its jaws and prying it open.
"He wanted a piece of us," said Dennis.
After a little more persuasion, the mako finally let go. Dennis was able to get its head up with the fly-gaff under the jaw, and then he cheated it up out of the water. Once it settled down, he walked it forward so they could get a tail rope on it.
Dennis subdued it a few more times, then pulled its head as high as he could, tied it off, and left it there until it quit moving before pulling it into the boat. This is the first mako for Lahaina since August 2011, when a 282.8-pound fish was weighed. There have been only 13 landed for Lahaina Harbor since 1990. The harbor record is a 410-pounder landed in 1998.