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Die Hard begins summer with double marlin day

By Staff | Jul 1, 2010

From left, Mike Morrow, Andy Payne and Fuzzy Alboro with their 387.3-pound blue marlin caught aboard Die Hard.

LAHAINA — The first day of summer saw the Die Hard dominate the billfish category, bringing two marlin to the scales. On their morning trip, they weighed a 387.3-pound blue by Mike Morrow. He was fishing with Capt. Fuzzy Alboro and crewman Andy Payne.

They had been fishing the NASA-Buoy off the west side of Lanai, picking up two nice 30-plus-pound mahi and two 25- to 30-pound ahi, along with several more small mahi and shibi. Fuzzy was on the deck pulling hooks as Andy made a straight line toward the Palaoa Point Lighthouse on the southwest corner.

They were about five miles away when all of a sudden, the short corner reel started spilling out line, steady and smooth. Fuzzy thought Andy had put a real light drag on the reel, so he went over to check the drag. Before he knew it, they were down to half a spool, so he pushed up the drag slightly and slowed the boat to neutral from the deck station.

Fuzzy looked straight back across the pattern but couldn’t see anything breaking the surface. He was thinking a nice-sized tuna. The fish never jumped, started to slow its run after 250 yards and headed down.

Fuzzy took over at the helm as Andy started clearing lines. As soon as they got Mike in the chair, Fuzzy started backing the boat after the fish. Andy “hammered” the drag to try to stop the line loss.

From left, Leo Vendiola, Peva, Raymond, Wyatt Loft, Fuzzy Alboro, Lori Koyama and Quinsea with their surprise 98.3-pound striped marlin.

Mike was an experienced angler and understood what needed to be done, when it needed to be done. They were fortunate that they had the fish on 130-test line, allowing them to be more aggressive. Fuzzy stayed after the fish, keeping an angle on it, as Mike kept cranking and cranking.

The fish wanted to pull in one direction, so Fuzzy adjusted the attack angle, getting it to double line in about a half-hour. It was at this point that they got their first look at the fish and saw that they had a nice-sized marlin.

The marlin was casually swimming back and forth across the stern. When Mike finally cranked it to leader, it made a couple of head shakes but didn’t even try to dig in. It came up easy, almost dead weight, straight behind the boat and laid right out.

Andy grabbed the leader and brought the marlin over to the starboard side. He wrapped up on it once and pulled it close enough for Fuzzy to get it secured. Everyone helped to pull it over the rail and into the boat.

“It was one of the easiest fish ever,” mentioned Fuzzy. “I wish all my fish were that easy.”   

On their afternoon trip, it was holo holo with Wyatt Loft, granddad Raymond, daughter Quinsea, son Peva and Lori Koyama. Leo Vendiola jumped aboard as crew. It was originally set up for a two-hour bottomfish trip, but there was an onshore wind blowing, making the waters a little choppy for everyone.

They decided to do a little trolling, so Leo and Fuzzy broke out the lures as Wyatt headed the boat south on an ono run toward Ukumehame. They were in 30-40 fathoms of water as Wyatt got to “Lone Pine.”

Leo was looking back at the pattern as Wyatt made a turn out. He spotted a marlin come in on the long gone position, but it was hesitating on making a commitment. Leo went to the reel, free-spooled it, then cranked the lure back in several times to try to excite the fish.

The marlin disappeared. Leo waited a few seconds and then cranked the lure into the wake. As the lure popped out of the water, the marlin grabbed it — hook-up.

The marlin started jumping, doing front flips and back flips, dancing all over the surface and putting on a great show. It pulled off line in short 20- to 30-yard bursts between the acrobatics for 250 yards before it finally settled down.

Wyatt got in the chair as they got the rest of the lines cleared. Fuzzy backed the boat just enough to keep the angle on the fish tight as Wyatt gained line. He had it to the boat in about 30 minutes.   

Leo saw the marlin about 20 yards back on the surface — its electric blue stripes glowing down its side — and he knew they had a striped marlin.

As Leo watched the swivel come up, he noticed that it was kinked. He was a little cautious as he pulled the fish in from the port side all the way to the boat. Fuzzy got a hand gaff in to secure their surprise catch.

This is only the second striped marlin for the year. The Die Hard also caught the first one on Feb. 24 weighing 40-pounds.