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End of year wrap up for ’09, Part I

By Staff | Jan 14, 2010

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

Last year continued a three-year run from 2007 for low numbers of billfish caught, for the 22 years I have been keeping statistics.

2009 had the second lowest number of total billfish caught with 239 among the 18 Lahaina Harbor charter fishing boats and half-dozen private boats that caught a marlin.

On the upside, the year saw the most blue marlin weighed with 156, and the most blue marlin tagged or released with 27, for a yearly total of 183, since 2007.

2009 was the lowest number for striped marlin weighed with 27, and the second lowest number tagged or released at seven, and the lowest yearly total of 34, since 1988.

After the record number of spearfish in 2008 (123 total), 2009 produced only 19, the lowest ever caught, also the lowest ever tagged or released with two, and yearly total fish at 21, since 1988.

There was one sailfish caught weighing 39 pounds.

It was an okay summertime blue marlin bite with 25 in June, 29 in July, 29 in August and 24 in September.

The best month for all billfish was July with 26 blue marlin, six striped marlin, two spearfish and one sailfish weighed. Another three blue marlin were tagged or released, bringing the monthly billfish total to 38.

There were some nice-sized blue marlin brought to the scales. There were three 700-pounders (774.7, 764.8, 701.1), three 600-pounders (670.9, 640.0, 603.3, all over a 14-day period), six 500-pounders (592.4, 591.6, 574.7, 567.7, 545.6, 514.3), and seven 400-pounders (439.2, 431.6, 429.8, 424.5, 424.4, 418.7, 400.0). This brought the total to 19 for the year over 400 pounds. 

The best months for the big marlin were June with four (774.7, 701.1, 591.8, 418.7) and July with four (764.8, 640.0, 603.3, 431.6).

Of those 19 blue marlin, two were caught using 50-test line (largest 591.8), two were on 80-test line (largest 764.8), nine were on 100-test line (largest 774.7), five were on 130-test line (largest 670.9) and one on both 100/130 test lines (701.1).

The favorite position in the pattern for the blues was the long gone with seven fish (largest 774.7). The short corner (largest 701.1) and short rigger (largest 670.9) both had three fish, with the long corner hooking one, (largest 567.7) and the long rigger with two (largest 640.0). Three fish were caught on bait (largest 567.7).

The best time of day to catch a big blue was between 6 and 8 a.m. with seven fish (largest 774.7).

Between 8 and 10 a.m. saw four fish (largest 701.1), 10 a.m. to noon had six fish (largest 640.0), and from noon on, two fish were caught (largest 592.4). The fewer afternoon charters related to less fish caught during that time period. 

The fight time to land these blue marlin were: four between 15 and 30 minutes (largest 640.0), four between 30 and 60 minutes (largest 603.3), seven taking between one and two hours (largest 620.9), and three taking between two and two-and-a-half hours (largest 764.8).

The longest fight, six hours, happened to be the largest marlin for the year weighing 774.7 pounds.