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Start Me Up Das It lands 2009’s largest marlin

By Staff | Jun 11, 2009

LAHAINA — The Start Me Up Das It weighed the largest marlin of the year to date, hoisting a 774.7-pound blue for Robbie Platt. He was fishing with Capt. Randy “Bondini” Evans and crewman Rich Lynch.

Randy headed out on a private full-day charter, trolling down the 100-fathom ledge off the south side of Lanai. As he reached the southwest corner, he turned in toward the Palaoa Point Lighthouse to make an ono run. Right as he made the turn, a marlin came in on the long gone position “bird” teaser. 

At first, Randy thought it was the wake from the boat as he turned. The marlin came back up behind the Steve Elkins Jr. Popsicle “Mango” lure and grabbed it. The marlin went down, coming back up a few seconds later off the starboard side and making a half-body lunge.

The marlin turned and disappeared. It didn’t pull much line off the 70-class reel at first. Rich got the rest of the lines cleared just as the spool started to speed up. With Robbie in the chair, Randy began reversing the boat after the line.

About 200 yards off the port side, the marlin reappeared. It made 3-4 jumps then settled down, slowing its run. It wasn’t taking much line as it came back toward the boat, putting a big loop in the water.

Randy followed after the loop as the marlin headed out toward deeper water. They continued after the fish, with Robbie getting it close to the boat in about 90 minutes. Randy could see color 80-100-feet away, with the bird teaser following close behind it.

The marlin went down another 100 feet and settled in. It started making large circles, swimming up and down as Randy chased after it. About an hour later, they had the fish just outside double line as it came to the surface.

The marlin made a run about 100 yards out and started circling again. They got a good look at the tail and dorsal fin and knew they had a big fish. They also noticed that the marlin was wrapped up in the leader.

Randy backed after the fish, keeping it within 200 feet of the boat the rest of the fight. It continued to circle around the boat, then suddenly change directions and come back around the other way. Randy kicked the boat away from the fish as Rich kept the line off the stern each time it tried to swim under the boat. 

It was a give-and-take tug of war for Robbie. He had the double line out of the water, and even onto the spool, with the fish taking it back out at least a half-dozen times over the next two hours. Randy reversed the boat hard on the fish as he chased after it, just outside of double line 50 feet away. He lost count on how many times he spun the boat.

About five hours into the grueling fight, Randy told Rich to grab the line and start hand-lining the marlin. It was swimming down hard as Robbie got into another stalemate. Randy followed right after it. 

Rich and Robbie got into a rhythm the last 50 yards. Rich was down on the rail with both arms holding onto the line. As Rich pulled on the fish, Robbie would slowly gain line, one crank at a time.

A half-hour later, the marlin started to come up. Rich decided he wasn’t going to give in. As he was pulling on the fish, he felt a quick give on the line. His heart stopped for an instant as he thought he had pulled hooks, but the line stayed tight on the rod. This was when the marlin must have come unwrapped.

Once the fish came unwrapped, they were able to get the head turned so it was swimming with them. Randy got back on the marlin. Rich had two hands pulling on the fish as Robbie slowly brought it up.

The marlin came in off the port corner. Once Rich got it back to double line, Randy put the boat idle ahead to keep the fish behind the boat and came down to help Rich. Both of them were pulling on the leader, with Randy worried they were going to break the line.

The marlin came up straight behind the boat digging down hard. It swam around and popped up right behind the stern, looking much bigger than they expected. At that point, Randy gave the fish one last pull.

Rich held onto the leader as Randy grabbed the fly-gaff and took a shot. They got a second gaff into the fish to secure it. The 9.0 trailing hook was bent outward from all the pressure.

The marlin had taken them 13 miles in big circles down the backside of Lanai during the six-hour fight.

The marlin was 13’4” from tip to tip, with an 11-foot jaw to fork of tail length. It had a 32-inch half-shoulder girth, a 29.75-inch anal half-girth and a 16.5-inch caudal circumference.    

Start Me Up Sportfishing gave Robbie his trip for free for catching a marlin over 500 pounds. Start Me Up Sportfishing also donated $300 to Habitat Inc. as part of their continuing charity donation program for a marlin caught over 500 pounds on one of their boats.