homepage logo

No Problem joins marlin leader board

By Staff | Oct 29, 2009

From left, Matt Ciardelli, Capt. Rich Newcomb and crewman Jimmy Francis with their 514.3-pound blue marlin caught aboard the No Problem.

LAHAINA — The No Problem made it into the 500-pound marlin club, and top billfish stats for the year, with a 514.3-pound blue by Matt Ciardelli. Matt was fishing with Capt. Rich Newcomb and crewman Jimmy “The Kid” Francis.

They had been fishing the MC-Buoy in deep water off the southwest corner of Lanai, picking up four mahi. Both Rich and Jimmy were on the bridge as they trolled back toward Maui.

Somewhere, down the south side of Lanai between the Palaoa Point Lighthouse and Manele Bay, Rich saw the long gone line get pulled down on the rigger, but didn’t break the tag line rubber band. He shouted, causing Jimmy to turn around and look at the pattern. Jimmy scouted the area but saw nothing. About ten seconds later, there she was.

The marlin came back in, swiped at the long gone lure, missed it, and then disappeared. Jimmy jumped to the deck to tease the long rigger lure, but the marlin came back up behind the long gone position. It made a couple more determined swipes at the lure, and then sat there tracking the lure.

Rich was tempted to free-spool the lure, but the marlin arched its back out of the water and engulfed the Lee Aoki “Little Boy Blue“ lure. Both hooks were anchored deep — one in the roof of the bill, and the other in the corner of the jaw. The rubber band snapped off the rigger line and it was “Fish on!”

The reel steadily ripped out the 100-test line. The marlin made some nice big jumps back and forth across the pattern about 300 yards out, and then headed down. Rich handed Jimmy the long gone rod down from the bridge and put the boat into neutral. Jimmy got Matt in the chair and started clearing lines.

Once Jimmy got one side of the pattern cleared, Rich began reversing the boat around the other side after the fish. Matt started regaining line. The marlin suddenly came up jumping and greyhounding about the long gone position right back toward the boat.

Once the marlin settled down, it disappeared. The huge belly in the line was keeping everything tight. Matt gained a lot of line as he straightened out the loop. About five minutes later, the line came tight on the fish, so Rich continued chasing after it.

They followed the marlin for about 20 minutes, slowly gaining line. About 200 yards out, the fish came up, made a couple of lunges out of the water then headed back down. They finally lost the angle on it, with it ending straight up and down off the stern.

At that point it was a “down and dirty” fight for Matt. Rich put the marlin at the starboard corner, with Jimmy getting Matt into the fighting harness. Matt got into a slow, short-pump rhythm as he muscled his fish toward the surface. It was one, sometimes two cranks at a time on the single speed 80-class reel over the next 45 minutes.

The marlin made several short runs as it dug down and continued to swim away from them. Rich stayed after the fish, in and out of gear, until he caught back up to it and lost the angle. Rich was “dead boat” as the fish came to double line. He put the boat in gear, and just the forward movement of the boat planed the marlin up and turned it nicely toward the boat.

As Matt cranked his fish to leader, it was done. It came up right off the starboard corner. Jimmy grabbed the leader and hand-over-hand, pulled the marlin closer.

After a couple of wraps, he laid the marlin out right off the side. Rich came from the helm to secure their catch.