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Finest Kind chases ahi on a feeding frenzy

By Staff | May 27, 2010

From left, crewman Jimmy Francis, Capt. Chad Leonillo and Richard and Carol Behney with their haul of ahi.

LAHAINA — The Finest Kind had a nice yellowfin tuna day, weighing the largest of the year-to-date at 164.3 pounds, along with a 158.3 (the third largest), a 100.2, 99.7 and 97.8-pounder. Richard Behey was fishing with Capt. Chad Leonillo and crewman Jimmy Francis.

They had been baiting the NASA-Buoy off the west corner of Lanai with their sister boat Reel Hooker. As they left the buoy, Reel Hooker headed south down the ledge, with Finest Kind heading out to the 1,000-fathom ledge. About two miles from the buoy, Chad spotted a bird pile in the distance.

Jimmy was thinking shibi, so he put out a small double claw jet on a 50-class reel to catch some small tuna. As they got closer to the birds, Chad spotted porpoise in the birds feeding on the smaller tuna. Jimmy came off the bridge to get the 50-class reel out of the set-up before something big hit it. Before he could clear the line, the jet got bit. As Chad slowed the boat, the short corner lure got nailed.

 Jimmy got Richard in the chair and handed him the 50-class reel. As Richard began working on his fish, Jimmy began cranking on the other ahi from the rail rod holder. The 130-class reel was at full drag, with Jimmy going after the ahi “commercial-style.” He had the 97.8-pound fish to the boat in about 6-8-minutes.

Richard lost his estimated 100-pound ahi right behind the boat after a 45-minute battle.

They looked around and finally spotted the birds and porpoise not too far ahead. Chad raced up to the birds. As he made a pass, they got a triple strike. Richard was still tired from his last fish, so Jimmy went after one, getting the 99.7-pounder in ten minutes. Chad came down to crank on one, but it came off along with the third ahi.

The school was way ahead of the Finest Kind, so Jimmy called the Reel Hooker to “Get out here!” The Reel Hooker turned and headed in their direction, with both boats running 16-18-knots trying to find the birds and porpoise.

Chad was on the deck cleaning up as Jimmy found the birds and slowed the boat down to trolling speed. As the Reel Hooker came up and pulled in behind the Finest Kind, the Finest Kind had another triple strike. Richard got back in the chair, with both Jimmy and Chad working on the other two ahi from the rail rod holders.

Jimmy boated the 164.3, and Chad the 158.3, both on 130-test line in about ten minutes each. Richard was getting tired, so Jimmy laid the rod on his shoulder and hand-lined the fish for about five minutes as Richard cranked. This ahi weighed 100.2 pounds.

Reel Hooker came around the Finest Kind and got hooked up. As they settled into their fight, Finest Kind had them throw their spare fish bag over the side into the water. With five nice ahi in the boat, Finest Kind was running out of room and ice. They got their fish bled and brined and headed for home.

There were some big ahi rolling through the pattern to make you say, “Wow, look at that,” as the long yellow sickle fins cut through the surface. The ahi were on a feeding frenzy and were hitting anything in the water. If they had the time, ice and a few more fish bags, they could have caught a dozen or more, mentioned Jimmy.