I ran across some "Believe it or Not" fish stories I wrote in 1986, about the days back then in Lahaina Harbor. Boats and names were anonymous to protect the guilty.
One story is about a 130-pound blue marlin. It came in on the short corner lure, hooked up, but broke the line and got off. The marlin then started jumping around in circles trying to spit the hooks with no luck.
The boat made a turn to head back to the spot with five lines still in the water. The marlin was still jumping around in circles as they caught up to it. As the marlin came up to the starboard corner of the boat, the crew grabbed a long mahi gaff and nailed it in the tail.
He then pulled the marlin up the starboard side rail backward and grabbed the safety line from the rod holder. He then made a couple of quick wraps around the marlin's tail and clipped it off.
As he let go, the marlin started thrashing around, wrapped on the safety line. They towed it backward until it finally settled down, then they pulled it into the boat.
Another is about a couple of fishermen in an 18-foot open console boat, fishing the buoy off the backside of Lanai. K-Buoy was the only one there back then.
They were dead baiting for mahi around the buoy when a school of pilot whales came in and started harassing the mahi.
This one big bull, being somewhat smart, came up to the boat and hid just underneath it to stay out of the jaws of the pilot whales.
Well, these two pilot whales wanted mahi for lunch, came over to the boat and boxed the bull in.
The crew had an opelu rigged up and was going to drop it in the bull's face to see what would happen. The bull kept coming up close to the side of the boat, so the crew grabbed a gaff to nail it the next time it came close.
As the crew went for the gaff, the mahi spooked and ran forward off the bow of the boat. The captain made a slight turn to the starboard side, exposing the mahi.
The crew threw the gaff up to the captain, who reached over the rail, down into the water, and planted a perfect gaff right under the pec fin.
This mahi didn't know what hit him, but it was too late. It was in the fish box in a matter of seconds. As soon as that mahi was landed, the corner rod went off with another mahi on it. This mahi headed over to the buoy and wrapped itself up about 15-20 feet below.
The captain backed the boat up to the buoy. The crew put on a mask and fins and dove down to untangle the mahi, with the two pilot whales still hanging around. Back aboard, they pulled away from the buoy and reeled in the mahi. The bull weighed 45 pounds, with the second one weighing 38 pounds.
Another lucky catch was also taken on the backside of Lanai. They were walking a live bait around when a marlin came in and grabbed the bait. They fought the fish for about 30 minutes before getting it to the back of the boat.
As the leader came up, the marlin made a last ditch effort, heading under the stern. It got wrapped up around the props and broke off. The disappointed angler reeled in the broken line, handed the rod to the crew and got out of the chair.
As the crew was putting the rod back into the rod holder, he looked over the side and noticed a line in the water. The crew shouted to the captain to keep the boat in neutral. The crew then grabbed a gaff and retrieved the line.
Once the line was in his hands, he felt a slight tugging on the other end. As he looked down, he saw the outline of a marlin just below, still hooked up. The crew told the angler to get back in the chair and handed him the rod.
The crew then threaded the line back through the guides and quickly tied the two broken ends together. The angler slowly took up the slack line and knot onto the spool and waited. The crew then carefully pulled the line up until the leader broke the surface.
The crew then grabbed the leader and gently pulled the marlin up next to the boat. Before the marlin knew what was going on, they put a gaff into it. Their rare catch just happened to be a 246-pound black marlin.
If you have any "Believe it or Not" stories and would like to share them, drop me an e-mail at tatemaui@ aol.com.