No Problem jumps to second place on marlin leader board
LAHAINA — The No Problem skipped all the lower marlin clubs and jumped straight into the 600-pound club with a 675.2-pound blue by Les Bobocel. He was fishing with Capt. Steve Lambert and crewman Mason Jarvi.
Steve had been working the SO-Buoy off the southwest corner of the Kaho‘olawe Shoals for mahi without any luck. He left the buoy and started trolling north. About four miles away, they had a strike on the short rigger position. As Steve turned around, he saw a whitewater splash where the lure was.
The fish took off on an easy 100-yard run then stopped. Mason got Les into the chair as Steve slowed the boat to neutral. Les started cranking on his fish. Steve thought they were either dealing with a 30-pound mahi or a spearfish.
Mason took his time clearing the rest of the pattern. By the time he had the third line out of the water, Les had worked the fish back to the short rigger rubber band, almost to the rod tip.
The fish stayed near the surface. All of a sudden, they got into a weird stalemate. Mason had good drag on the reel, with Les keeping a bend in the rod trying to get a crank or two. Periodically, the fish would take 5-10 feet of line. Les was into a slight tug-of-war with the fish. This went on for about ten minutes.
Steve started thinking that they might have a small 100-pound blue foul hooked. The fish was acting strange. Steve told Les he might have a small billfish. Not long after that, the fish took off. It smoked the 100-test line for 600-yards straight out, right under the surface, but never jumped.
They already had the lines cleared, so Steve began backing the boat in hard reverse after it. Les regained 500 yards in about 15 minutes. Steve noticed the rod tip starting to come up, so he slowed the boat to neutral and let Les gain line on his own.
They still didn’t know exactly what they were dealing with. Steve figured that after a run like that, it must be at least 200-300 pounds. Les cranked the marlin back to where the rubber band was at the rod tip ten minutes later.
That must have been the distance to the boat the marlin didn’t like, so it took off again, freight-training for 350 yards on the surface. Still no jumps.
Going on 35 minutes into the fight, they figured they must have a respectable fish. With the marlin still on the surface, Steve reversed right after it. He had a good angle on the fish even in the two- to three-foot chop. They regained 300 yards, almost back to the rubber band, in about ten minutes.
At that point, they could tell the marlin was getting tired. Les worked on his fish for the next 10-15-minutes, playing give-and-take just outside of double line. The marlin finally planed itself up off the port corner, swimming with the boat.
Steve could finally see a shape, but couldn’t tell how big it was. The marlin was flashing and rolling, showing signs it was tired. Five minutes later, Les had the marlin to double line, then right to leader.
Mason grabbed leader. The marlin was pretty mellow as he took a few wraps and pulled it up to the boat. It wasn’t until Mason had leader, and Steve was getting ready to gaff, did they finally realize the fish was at least 500 pounds.
Even though the marlin had grabbed a lure, it had a seven- to eight-pound aku stuck in its throat. Steve mentioned that the marlin never seemed to be concerned that it was hooked, but showed its true-blue colors when it needed to. This marlin took a commanding step up the leader board for the year, taking over second place top blue and missing first place by only 13 pounds.