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Finest Kind marlin puts on a front row show

By Staff | Sep 10, 2009

From left, Sean Hudson, Jack Kenny, Colby Helms and Chad Leonillo with their 439.2-pound marlin.

LAHAINA — The Finest Kind landed itself in the top marlin stats for the year with a 439.2-pound blue by Jack Kenny and Colby Helms. They were fishing with Capt. Chad Leonillo and crewman Sean Hudson.

They had been baiting the K-Buoy for awhile, and just as they were leaving the buoy, they caught an ono. Sean spotted some birds outside and some splashing going on, so Chad headed over to the action.

Right as they were getting there, Chad spotted a boil on the surface. A few seconds later, he saw a marlin bill come up behind the short corner lure and watched it disappear.

The marlin just sat there in the wake, as if it didn’t know it was hooked, for about 5-10 seconds. The line was pulling steadily off the reel by the forward movement of the boat. All of a sudden, the marlin took off on a 20-second run, smoking out 150 yards of 100-test line before showing itself.

The marlin continued to jump away from the boat then disappeared. Everyone was looking backward off the port corner to see if it would come up jumping again. Instead, it ended up surfacing just 25 yards off their starboard side, putting on a front row show. After completing a 360-degree turn, it jumped heading away.

There was a big bow of line in the water. Chad motored the boat slowly ahead as the marlin continued its run in the opposite direction. He didn’t want to put too much pressure on the line. Once Chad straightened out the loop, took up all the slack and got the line tight, he started to back after the fish.

They were able to gain some line before they lost the angle on the marlin that had headed deep. Chad started making circles after the fish, trying to get it to come up. In about 80 minutes, Jack had worked his fish to leader.

The marlin came up on the starboard side. Sean got a couple of wraps on the leader, then a couple more. The fish dug out and turned its head, trying to get into the running gear. Chad goosed the boat ahead as Sean held the leader off the corner of the boat, then dumped the line as they cleared the fish.

The marlin took off on a 300-yard run and sounded. Jack had to regain all that line again. When the double line finally came up a half-hour later, they thought the fish was spent from all the running and jumping. This fish was lit-up — its bill and tail were silver-white as it darted back and forth.

Jack wrestled with the marlin at double line in a yo-yo, give-and-take fight for another half-hour. He began to tire, so Cory took over for the final hour.

The marlin was straight down, just past double line, right off the transom. It finally settled into its zone, picking the port corner as Chad idled backward after it. The fish didn’t want to budge, and they couldn’t get its head turned toward the boat, even with 35-pounds of drag.

The marlin kept acting like it was going to jump but never did. It was swimming up and down from side to side in a big W. The double line knot was on and off the rod tip over two dozen times as it made 10-15 yard digs straight down. The angle on the line started to change each time Cory cranked it back to double line.

Chad maneuvered the boat after the fish, trying to keep it on the starboard corner. Finally, the marlin started to come up, showing so much color, from blue-green to rust. It was stressed in the way it acted.

The marlin came to the surface just past double line and rolled onto its back, belly up. Chad put the boat into neutral as Sean grabbed the line and started to pull the fish toward the boat.

Suddenly the marlin righted itself, lit-up like a neon sign, and started kicking its tail. As it headed straight for them, Chad kicked the boat ahead.

Sean was well into leadering the marlin to dump the line. He held on, took some wraps, and pulled it to the starboard side. Chad left the helm, reached over and stuck the gaff to end the three-hour battle.

It took them 20 minutes to subdue the marlin before they could pull it into the boat. Only the trailing hook was in the fish, and as soon as Sean touched the hook, it fell right out of the jaw.