Start Me Up Das It lands 574.7-pound blue
LAHAINA — The Start Me Up Das It weighed another top-ten marlin with a 574.7-pound blue by Amber Schmidt. She was fishing with Capt. Randy “Bondo” Evans and crewman Mike Tappero.
They had been working the southwest corner off Lanai and were leaving the K-Buoy when Bondo spotted several bird piles outside. As he headed in that direction, he noticed 4-5 large balls of nehu all lined up, so he trolled down the edge of the bait balls.
Just as Bondo turned away from the bait balls, they had a strike on the long rigger position. The marlin took the custom-made Bondo “crack head” mirror on a 300-yard run before showing itself.
The marlin tail-walked and greyhounded back and forth several times, and then made a big circle across the surface before jumping out another 150-yards. The fish disappeared and headed deep. Bondo reversed the boat after the fish for 10-15 minutes before he lost the angle. They got Amber into the harness and into a rhythm, with her gaining 200 yards.
The marlin took off on another run, pulling out 400 yards of 100-test line as it headed straight down, then stopped. With everything at a standstill, the line began to slowly crackle off the spool. As the rod bowed over the stern, it was making erratic movements.
Bondo grabbed the line but couldn’t tell if the marlin was dead or not. He went back to the helm for awhile, but Amber was in a total stalemate for the next 15-20 minutes. Bondo decided that the fish was dead and deep and needed to be hand-lined.
With the marlin off the starboard corner, Bondo started to hand-over-hand pull on the line as he slowly lifted the fish. He showed Mike what to do for about five minutes, then Mike took over for another five minutes. They both got into the action on a tandem double-pull for awhile. Bondo got one of the charter members to help so he could get back to the helm.
After awhile, Bondo came back down and felt the line. The rest of the young guys on the boat wanted to help Amber, so they switched out during breaks in the action. Amber was doing a good job in low gear, keeping a bend in the rod and the line tight.
Finally, Bondo saw color below after 40 minutes of hand-lining. The marlin started to plane itself up off the port side just outside of double line. As it came up, it went forward toward the bow and rolled onto its side. Mike followed the fish, pushing on the line, keeping it off the corner. When the marlin hit the surface, it rolled belly up, dead.
Bondo idled the boat ahead slightly as Mike held the leader and pulled the fish around toward the boat. Bondo came down and grabbed the bill as Mike got a secure gaff in the fish.
Mike has fished out of Key West, Florida for a few years, but this was his first Pacific blue marlin. He ended the day with a celebratory toss into the harbor.
Start Me Up Sportfishing gave Amber her trip for free for catching a marlin over 500 pounds. Start Me Up Sportfishing also donated $300 to the American Cancer Society as part of its continuing charity donation program for a marlin caught over 500 pounds on one of their boats.