Ikaika Kai marlin puts up tough fight
LAHAINA — The Ikaika Kai joined the top marlin stats with the last big blue of the year, weighing 424.5 pounds, by Kenneth Nielsen. He was fishing with Capt. Darrin Auger and crewman Chris Wong.
They were working the 100-fathom ledge between the LA-Buoy area and Kamaiki Point, Lanai, when they had a small blue marlin (around 150 pounds) terrorize the pattern, then split. Darrin worked the area for 30-40 minutes before raising a larger fish.
The marlin made a big swirl on the short rigger lure, whacking at it with its bill. As the fish came back in on the lure, Chris free-spooled the reel, feeding it right into its face. The marlin grabbed the lure and took off on a 100- to 150-yard run before making a series of jumps. The marlin then settled down and stopped.
Darrin reversed the boat after the marlin for about five minutes until he had the fish straight up and down off the stern. Kenneth worked his fish to double line in about 20 minutes, with it all lit up and feisty.
The marlin was in and out of double line-leader 10-15 times over the next 15 minutes as it swam back and forth. Every time Chris grabbed the leader, the fish felt the extra pressure on the line, dug down and tried to go under the boat into the props. Darrin spun the boat away from the fish, trying to keep it on the starboard side.
They had about 35 pounds of drag on the fish and tried to be patient and let the marlin wear itself out. Darrin was trying every move on the marlin, spinning around on it, motoring ahead to plane it up, constantly working the boat on the fish. The marlin seemed to sense what they were trying to do. It was a real dogfight.
Chris was finally able to get a couple of wraps on the leader off the starboard corner and felt the marlin coming up a little easier. He continued to slowly take several more wraps on the line until he had pulled the fish within reach of the gaff.
Darrin got a securing gaff into the fish, and Chris reached down and grabbed the bill as it thrashed around beside the boat. As Chris tried to get the hooks out of the marlin, it bit him on the hand. A little bit of pay back for the fish.