Luckey Strike II joins the 500-pound club
LAHAINA — The Luckey Strike II made it into the 500-pound marlin club for the year with a 596.5-pound blue by Liz Watkins. She was fishing with Capt. Brad Coombs and crewman Brian Edmisson.
Brad headed south out of the harbor toward the LA-Buoy, located 11 miles from Lahaina, on the 100-fathom ledge off Olowalu.
As they were coming up on the buoy, Brian looked back into the pattern to check the spread. He spotted a marlin bill pop up right behind the long corner lure. Its head came out of the water, mouth open, as it kicked after the Steve Elkins “Aku” Popsicle lure. Brian shouted, “Marlin, marlin — go, go!”
The marlin grabbed the lure, went down and turned, smoking out the 80-test line on an 80-class reel. It ripped off about 200 yards in a hurry before it slowed down. Brian had the rest of the pattern cleared as Brad began to reverse the boat after the fish.
Liz started gaining some line as the marlin took a break for a few minutes. Once it regrouped, it made another long run, 300-400 yards, and then started jumping. It went left, then right, tail-walking and leaping, kicking up a lot of whitewater.
Brad had the boat in full reverse, trying to gain as much line as they could while the marlin was still on the surface. Liz had it coming in with a bow in the rod and the line nice and tight. The next thing they knew, the marlin came completely out of the water and then leaped back and forth four to five times about 300 yards away.
The marlin headed deep, with it ending straight up and down off the back of the boat. Brad idled the boat ahead to keep the fish behind them and an angle on the line for Liz to fight her fish. For the next 40 minutes, Liz slowly pulled the marlin up, one crank at a time, with Brian helping her with the rod.
Finally, the marlin started coming to the surface. It was about 80 yards out as it jumped clear of the water once off the port side. Brad idled the boat forward to keep pressure on the line and the stern toward the fish.
Liz stayed tough on her fish, with them finally getting a look at it just past double line. It made another small run of 50 yards, causing a little frustration from Liz. Brian pushed up the drag and checked it.
Liz slowly lifted the rod, coming off the seat and trying to take a crank when she could. She struggled in a stalemate for the next ten minutes, with the double line in and out of the water several times. As Liz finally got the marlin to the swivel, it was a yo-yo, give-and-take, tug-of-war, with the fish pulling a little more line each time.
At that point, Brian was standing out on the swimstep, keeping the line clear as he waited for the leader. Brian went back to the reel, checked the drag, and began to lightly thumb the spool as Liz lifted and cranked. This kept the line from rolling off the reel as she lifted and gave Brian a feel for the drag.
Liz finally got her marlin to leader straight off the back of the boat. Brian stepped out on the swimstep and grabbed leader. He pulled on the line as the marlin went to the starboard side. The fish was swimming slow and mellow as Brian walked it right up the side of the boat.
The marlin was just out of reach for Brad, so Brian took one more tough wrap and pulled it close enough for Brad to take a perfect gaff shot into the shoulder. They got the marlin secured, and everybody helped to pull it over the swimstep and through the stern door.
Liz’s marlin is the fourth largest blue of the year and the 15th largest by a wahine angler since 1990 for Lahaina Harbor.