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Finest Kind lands big striped marlin, shortnose spearfish

By Staff | Mar 3, 2011

From left, Capt. Dave Hudson, Capt. Chad Leonillo and Brian Moulton hoist their 108.3-pound striped marlin. Photos by Donnell Tate.

LAHAINA — The Finest Kind recently joined the 100-pound striped marlin club, weighing a 108.3-pound fish by Brian Moulton. He was fishing with Captains Dave Hudson and Chad Leonillo.

They had been fishing the north corner of Lanai in 20 fathoms of water off an area known as “Shipwreck Beach” looking for ono. Dave ran the 20-fathom ledge around the corner off Kaena Point, then veered southwest toward the NASA-Buoy.

Chad had just finished clearing the inside lures to reset the pattern to fish the buoy. As he worked on the outside lures, he saw a dorsal fin behind the long rigger position. The marlin knocked the long rigger line out of the clip but didn’t grab the lure.

Chad free-spooled the lure backward then cranked it back in, trying to tease the fish to strike. He did this several more times without any luck. On the fourth attempt, he let it free-spool for about ten seconds. He decided to take a chance and locked up the reel — “hook up!”

The marlin started to windshield wiper its bill from side to side trying to shake the hook. It made a couple of jumps, then turned and ran out about 50 yards of 100-test line before turning around and heading back toward the boat.

From left, Capt. Chad Leonillo, Capt. Neil Preston and Monique Mabey caught this 54.1-pound spearfish.

Dave bumped the boat ahead, keeping pressure on the fish as Brian slowly brought it to the boat, one or two cranks at a time. After a 15-minute fight, the marlin came up on the port side. Chad grabbed the leader and pulled it in.

When Dave stuck a stick gaff in the fish, it started to thrash around next to the boat. Chad ditched the leader and grabbed the bill. He was holding on with both hands as the striper went nuts, shaking him up and down on the rail. The hand gaff flew out of the fish in the melee.

Chad lifted the striper out of the water and over the rail, with it continuing to flop around on the deck as he held on to the bill. Dave finally got the fish subdued to end the on-deck excitement.

This is the largest striped marlin weighed since March 2009, when the Piper brought in a 177.2-pounder. Striped marlin were almost nonexistent in 2010 for Lahaina Harbor with only five caught. The largest striped marlin for 2010 weighed 98.3 pounds captured aboard the Die Hard.

Striped marlin in Hawaiian waters average 65 pounds. The Hawaii state record is 211 pounds from 1996, with the Lahaina Harbor record being 188.4 pounds weighed in 2006 aboard the Start Me Up.

The Finest Kind also brought in a record-sized shortnose spearfish weighing 54.1 pounds by Monique Mabey. She was fishing with Captains Neil Preston and Chad Leonillo.

They were fishing in 150 fathoms of water just north of the Palaoa Point Lighthouse, Lanai. It was a long corner bite, with the fish taking 50-60 yards of 80-test line, stopping for a few seconds and then running out another 50 yards of line.

The spearfish came in nice and easy for Monique in about 15 minutes. Chad got a stick gaff in the fish and pulled it over the rail. It decided to go crazy on the deck before Neil could get it subdued.

This is the largest spearfish weighed since January 2010, when the Kai Akua brought in a 58.3 pound fish. There were only 35 spearfish caught in 2010 for Lahaina Harbor.

Shortnose spearfish average 25-30 pounds and are believed to come into Hawaiian waters during the winter to early spring to spawn.

The Hawaii state record is 74.9 pounds, with the Lahaina Harbor record being 71.6 pounds weighed in 2001 aboard the Iwa Lele.