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The Exact lands the year’s second biggest marlin

By Staff | Aug 19, 2010

From left, Jim Honniball, Capt. Sal Tarantino and deckman Jimmy Francis with their 706.3-pound blue marlin caught aboard Exact.

LAHAINA — The Exact brought another monster marlin to the scales, weighing a 706.3-pound blue by Jim Honniball. He was fishing with Capt. Sal Tarantino and

deckman Jimmy Francis.

They had picked up 23 mahi fishing the SO-Buoy located ten miles off the southwest shoals side of Kaho‘olawe. On their way back to Lahaina, Sal was

trying to get out of the wind and headed straight in toward Manele Bay, Lanai.

He was about five miles from Manele when they raised the fish.

Jimmy was looking right at the short corner lure on the second wave when the marlin showed. It popped up like a submarine five feet behind the lure. Its dorsal fin came up and started wiggling as it kicked its tail after the lure.

Jimmy shouted, “There it is!” In a split second, the marlin grabbed the lure and took off. Jimmy hit the deck, got Jim in the chair and handed him the rod.

The marlin ripped off 100 yards of 130-test line, then turned back toward the boat, putting a big loop in the line. It made a couple of sideways lunges off the port side, throwing up a wall of whitewater, about short rigger distance from the boat. The marlin disappeared, turned and ran straight out 400 yards. It stayed near the surface and headed down swell.

Sal began reversing the boat after the marlin as it slowly went down.

Sal backed up to the line in about 30 minutes. The marlin was still alive and swimming away from them. They had it coming up slow and steady, and then suddenly it stopped about 400 yards deep. The marlin wasn’t showing any signs of life at this point.    

Jimmy had 40 pounds of drag on the marlin, with the line pinging off the spool. Jimmy could thumb the spool and stop the line loss, but if he took his hand off, the marlin would slowly crackle off line on its descent. At that point, they decided to begin hand-lining the marlin.

Jimmy put on his welding gloves and grabbed the line. Sal had the boat in neutral, but there was a little bit of wind pushing them away from the fish. Sal maneuvered the boat to try to keep the line close, so Jimmy didn’t have to reach out so far to hand-line. After about 30 minutes, Jimmy needed a break. 

Sal put the boat back into neutral and went to the deck to help Jimmy. As Jimmy stood up, Sal leaned over the rail in front of him and pulled on the line. Jimmy pulled over top of him, gaining a little line each time. Jim was only able to get one crank at a time, even with the reel in 3-to-1 ratio.

Once they got the marlin up within 200 yards, Jimmy kept hand-lining by himself. Sal started helping Jim lift the rod, then let him crank down, gaining a couple of feet on each lift. This went on for the last 30 minutes.

As the marlin came up to double line, Jimmy saw the tail first, with the line wrapped around its body. As Jimmy pulled the fish in backward, it rolled, unwrapping itself. The line went slack in his hands. Jimmy was grabbing double line as fast as he could, getting the head up, and the leader finally tight in his hands.

They secured the marlin and proceeded to get it over the rail and in the boat. Not realizing just how large it was, they were having a hard time getting it in. All of them were also worn out from the hour of hand-lining.

They tried to get the marlin up on the swimstep, but it was too big and wouldn’t fit. They ended up tying the head and tail off across the stern, and were able to get the boat and fish up on a plane, and then dragged it back to Lahaina.

This marlin is the second largest of the year for Maui County. It was 12 feet, six inches long, with a 31-inch half shoulder width.

The Exact also capturing the largest marlin of the year weighing 725.2 pounds.