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Stubborn marlin puts up good fight for Start Me Up

By Staff | Oct 28, 2010

From left, Scott Quade and Captains Steve Carroll and Hunter Betts with their 491.6-pound blue marlin caught aboard Start Me Up.

LAHAINA — The Start Me Up added another fish to the Top Marlin stats: a 491.6-pound blue by Scott Quade. He was fishing with Captains Steve Carroll and Hunter Betts.

Steve headed out to the LA-Buoy outside Olowalu, making a couple of passes before aiming for Twin Sands, Kaho’olawe. Once he hit the 200-fathom ledge, he turned right and ran down the ledge toward the Palaoa Point Lighthouse, Lanai. Just abeam of the lighthouse, he turned and cut into the 175-fathom ledge and headed toward Manele Bay, Lanai.

As they trolled past Manele, a marlin came up on a Maui Fishing Lures “putter” tube lure on the long rigger position but missed it. It came back in, pulling the long rigger line out of the rigger clip and taking 15-20 feet of 100-test line. The marlin charged back in from 30 feet behind the lure. Its shoulders were up, picking up speed the entire distance. It wanted that lure.

At the strike, the marlin jumped from the starboard side long rigger across the pattern to the port side. It then circled back around and ended up back at the long rigger position, porpoising toward the boat up the port side. Steve immediately gunned the boat forward and spun away from the fish.

The marlin finally settled down, taking about 300-400 yards of line on its initial run. Steve was in and out of reverse, as Scott regained three-quarters of the spool back in about 20 minutes.

All of a sudden, the marlin lit-up and smoked off 300 yards of line. It came up, made a couple of head splashes and then climbed full-body out of the water. It was tail-walking, dancing, the whole nine yards, jumping all over the place. Steve had to throttle the boat ahead as the marlin came toward the boat, trying to keep the belly in the line tight.

The fish calmed down and headed deep. A half-hour later, Scott had the marlin up to “deep color.” It was swimming with the boat for about 15 minutes dug in, then sank out of color range 15-20 yards. About ten minutes later, it came back up and settled in at double line distance.

The double line was in and out of the water dozens of times over the next 30 minutes as the marlin made tight circles behind the boat. Steve maneuvered the boat in reverse after the fish for awhile, then it would spin around and go the other way, trying to get under the boat. Steve had to pull away from the marlin and start backing after it again. This fish was being stubborn.

As the marlin came up to leader, it rolled to the side and Steve was able to see the girth of the fish. He knew it was over 400 pounds. Steve runs 12-foot leaders, so when the swivel is at the rod tip, the marlin is right there.

Steve told Hunter, “This is our shot. Are you ready? This girl is not tired, but we need to do this, if we are going to do it now.” You could see the electric-blue streaks glowing down the side of the marlin.

Hunter had the fish to leader, but he had to dump the line as the marlin planed out and sank down past double line. It took Scott another 20 minutes of tug of war before he got it back to leader. Hunter grabbed the leader as the marlin came up the starboard side of the boat and rolled toward the hull, giving them a bad angle to gaff the fish.

Steve got a fly-gaff into the marlin as it kicked up the side. Hunter followed up with a second one. Steve grabbed the leader with his free hand as he held the fly-gaff rope in the other, half-tying the rope to the stern cleat to keep it secured.

Hunter tried to subdue the fish. As soon as he grabbed the marlin’s bill, it went nuts — shaking its head and smacking Hunter’s hand against the side of the hull several times. They pulled it around to the stern door and dragged it halfway in to get a workable angle. The fish was flopping on the deck, kicking its tail in the water, until Hunter was finally able to get it subdued.