Exact weighs the year’s biggest marlin
LAHAINA — The 31-foot Bertram Exact jumped to the top of the marlin leader board for the year with a 725.2-pound blue by Bryant Kurz. He was fishing with Captains Chad Leonillo and Sal Tarantino.
They were heading to the backside of Lanai to fish the buoys. As they got to the 130-fathom ledge off the Palaoa Point Lighthouse on the southwest corner of Lanai, they raised a fish. The marlin grabbed a Seth Kizel glitter bullet on the short rigger position and ran to just outside of the pattern.
It went berserk — shaking its head as it jumped back and forth across the pattern. The marlin headed toward the boat, putting a loop in the line as it leaped toward the long gone position.
Chad kept he boat ahead until the fish turned and took off. The line was coming off the spool real smooth, so Chad backed down on the throttles. The marlin began to head deep. Chad reversed the boat after it with Bryan gaining line the entire time.
Once they got the marlin to within 120 yards, Chad maneuvered the boat down swell, trying to cut it off and get its head turned. He was able to get the head turned for a while, but 20 minutes later the marlin started swimming away from them. At that point, Chad let the fish swim past the boat, then pivoted the stern around and backed after it as fast as he could.
They lost the angle on the marlin with it straight up and down behind the boat. It was a tough tug-of-war for Bryant as he pumped his fish upward. Bryant did a great job, mentioned Sal. He paid attention and listened to what Sal was telling him. Sal was working the drag, not putting too much pressure on the fish. When the line started to “ping,” he would back off the drag.
As they finally got the marlin to double line, that’s where Bryant ran into a stalemate. For the next half-hour, the fish swam slowly back and forth across the stern with the double line on and off the spool at each pass. Sal grabbed the leader once, but the marlin wasn’t quite ready to come in, lit up all electric blue. He let the leader go with the fish going back across the stern.
The marlin wanted to go in the starboard direction, and Chad wanted to keep the angle on the hook on the port side. A couple of times, the fish tried to cut under the stern, so Chad pivoted the boat and throttled ahead to keep it on the port side.
As the marlin came back to the port side, Chad bumped the boat ahead a few seconds to give the fish some headway, with it swimming right to the corner of the boat. The fish cooperated. It came up nice and straight right up the port side.
Sal grabbed the leader and pulled the marlin up. That’s when he noticed that the bill was just in the bend of the hook and was sliding up the bill as Sal took his last wrap. Sal started shouting, “It’s coming off! It’s coming off,” as the hook slowly inched itself toward the end of the bill. Seconds after Chad got a securing gaff into the marlin, the hook slipped right off the end of the bill.
The marlin was 13’5” long with a 10’6” short length. It had a 34-inch half shoulder girth, a 30-inch half-anal girth and a 16.5-inch caudal circumference.