Pua Raphaelito’s marlin wins Spring Wahine Fishing Tourney
LAHAINA — The 31st annual Lahaina Yacht Club Spring Wahine Fishing Tournament held April 25-26 saw 16 boats for the two-day event. Of the 53 wahine that fished, 27 caught a “flag” fish.
There were 73 fish weighed totaling 1,012.2 pounds. The breakdown for billfish was one blue marlin at 245.2 pounds. The numbers came from the 14 mahi totaling 250.6 pounds, five ono totaling 181.6 pounds and five ahi over 16 pounds, totaling 96.2 pounds. Another 45 smaller tuna and an ulua were added to the total overall weight.
This year’s winner was Pua Raphaelito with a 245.2-pound blue marlin. She was fishing aboard the Jay Hawk with Capt. Steve Schulz and crewman Billy “Fish” Burnett.
They headed to the backside of Lanai to the NASA-Buoy, where there had been schools of small tuna hanging out and quite a few marlin caught over the past three weeks. Billy put out the bait rods as Steve worked the area, hooking up double tuna at the buoy.
Billy rigged them both up and dropped one out short, and the other out long. They walked them around the buoy for about 40 minutes before they got a looker on the long bait.
The marlin swam behind the bait for several seconds before biting it. It must not have liked what it tasted — the marlin spit out the bait and swam away. Billy free-spooled the bait backward, with the marlin coming back in with its mouth wide open and eating it without hesitation.
Billy locked up the drag as Steve throttled the boat ahead. The marlin didn’t take much line and seemed hurt, as it headed down about 100 yards and stopped. Pua got in the chair and Billy handed her the rod.
Billy put the rod into low gear and pushed up the drag lever past the strike button as Pua started to slowly crank on her fish. Steve turned the boat down swell with the marlin following along with them. Pua kept the line tight and continued to gain line.
The marlin was definitely hurt from the bait stuck in its throat and didn’t put up much of a fight. Twenty minutes later, the marlin came up on the port side a little ahead of the boat. Steve had the boat one engine ahead, and went two ahead to gain some ground on the fish.
The marlin came right up pointed in the right direction, lying right there waiting to be gaffed. Steve left the helm and leadered the fish as Billy secured it with the gaff. The marlin started thrashing around once it felt the steel, and it took them about ten minutes before they could get it into the boat.
Pua said that it was an awesome experience. She didn’t expect to catch something so big. Once they got the marlin aboard and she saw her fish, she was in shock. From the adrenaline rush, she was shaking and could hardly talk. She had never felt that way before. It took two hands to hold her celebratory cocktail.
Pua won free entry into this year’s LYC Wahine Jackpot Fishing Tournament on Oct. 29. She also took home a gold marlin pendant, and her name was added to the Spring Wahine Fishing Tournament winners’ trophy.
In second place was a 49.8-pound ono by Lisa Fitzgerald. She was fishing aboard the Maui Jim with Captains Tom Casey and Seth Kizel. Next was a 46.8-pound ono by Chelsey Peters. She was aboard the Follow Me with Capt. Rail Jennings. Fourth place was also an ono weighing 45.8 pounds by Jen Williams. She was also fishing aboard the Maui Jim.
The largest mahi of the tournament took fifth place. It weighed 32.4 pounds by Mary Ellen Vona. She was fishing with Capt. Terry Kellam aboard the Tale Walker.
The largest ahi weighed in at 23.2 pounds. It was angled by Alison Silva aboard the Follow Me with Capt. Rail Jennings.
The Gross Weight category was won by the Die Hard with Captains Fuzzy Alboro and Boy AhPuck, weighing five mahi and 31 tuna totaling 261.2 pounds for their team. Next was the Follow Me with Capt. Rail Jennings bringing in three mahi, one ono and three tuna totaling 147.4 pounds. Third place total weight was aboard the Maui Jim, with Captains Tom Casey and Seth Kizel weighing two ono and ten ahi totaling 116.4 pounds.