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Exact hooks 450-pound marlin near Manele Bay

By Staff | May 12, 2011

From left, Charles Spencer, Capt. Sal Tarantino and Capt. Hunter Betts with their 450.0-pound marlin.

LAHAINA — The Exact joined the top billfish stats for the year with a 450.0-pound blue marlin by Charles Spencer. He was fishing with Captains Sal Tarantino and Hunter Betts.

Sal was headed to the lighthouse off the southwest corner of Lanai. As he ran the 100-fathom ledge down the south side, they raised a fish off Sweet Heart Rock just past Manele Bay.

It was a blind strike on the short corner lure, with the marlin running straight down the pattern. It had out about 400 yards of 130-test line before it made one big airborne leap, then a couple more sideways jumps, before settling down.

Hunter got everything cleared, with Sal going after the marlin. It was still taking line as it splashed around on the surface. Sal had both engines in idle reverse, finally keeping up with it, with Charles starting to gain some line.

The marlin stayed near the surface, giving them a good angle to chase after it. Sal backed the boat for ten minutes, with Charles cranking at a steady pace. The marlin finally turned around and started swimming to the boat.

It was a pretty easy fight at that point, keeping up with it as it swam just 50 yards below the surface, with Charles slowly hauling it up closer and closer. Twenty minutes later, he had the fish to double line.

The marlin was all lit-up, showing its colors, as it began to zigzag back and forth across the stern. Hunter reached out and grabbed the leader. As it swam from side to side, Hunter beat it to the corners and took another wrap and pull. Sal came off the helm to gaff. The marlin went down under the starboard corner, with Hunter dumping the leader.

Sal was back on the helm. The marlin dropped back just past double line, with Charles cranking it right back in. It came up on the port side, with Hunter grabbing leader again.

The marlin continued its back-and-forth motion. Hunter held on and followed the fish for at least another dozen passes before he was finally able to guide it up the port side. A couple of more pulls and wraps and it was ready.

Sal got a perfect shoulder shot with the gaff. Once secured, it took four guys to haul it over the rail to end the 30-minute battle. After the fight, Sal checked his GPS — he had backed up eight-tenths-of-a-mile before they got it to the boat.