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Ikaika Kai fights aggressive mako

By Staff | Sep 1, 2011

From left, Capt. Hunter Betts, Capt. Brian Ciscoski and Billy Tetreault with their 282.8-pound mako shark.

LAHAINA — The Ikaika Kai brought in a rare catch of a 282.8-pound mako shark wrestled by Billy Tetreault. He was fishing with Captains Hunter Betts and Brian Ciskoski.

They were on a four-hour trip fishing in 50 fathoms of water off Olowalu looking for sharks. There had been several large sharks sighted, and one 800-plus-pounder hooked but lost, over the past couple of weeks.

Hunter had the boat in neutral drifting with one rod baited on the bottom on a spreader bar. Brian rigged up a 10.0 hook on a single strand wire leader and baited it with a slab from a ten-pound kawakawa. He dropped the rig down about 100 feet and put the line up in the rigger clip.

They drifted the area for a while without any action. Just as they were deciding to pull things in and leave, a boat came trolling by. As the boat’s wake rocked their boat, a second or two later, the line popped out of the rigger clip.

There was a belly of line in the water from the drop-back off the rigger. Brian quickly cranked it in, getting the line tight on the rod tip. A split second later, a mako shark jumped at least 15 feet out of the water 30 feet from the boat. A 282-pound skyrocket!

Brian got Billy settled in the chair and cleared the other line off the bottom. Brian had 28-30 pounds of drag on the two-speed, 130-class reel and 150-test line. The mako didn’t take much line, with Hunter keeping it off the back of the boat, fighting it like a marlin.

Billy wrestled the mako until he couldn’t crank any more. Brian switched the reel into low gear. After a quick break, Billy got a second wind and was able to continue to get more cranks for the last 30 minutes of the fight.

Each time the mako came to leader, it would dig down 20-30 yards, pulling a lot of drag as it crackled line off the spool, and then come up thrashing, mouth open, snapping its jaws. It repeated this yo-yo process at will. It was somewhat unnerving how aggressive it was, mentioned Brian.

Hunter had the boat idled ahead, with the mako swimming aggressively from side to side, agreeing with them at the moment. Brian was running a short wire leader. It was a real fast movement getting the fish up to the surface.

The fly-gaff was next to Brian. He grabbed the gaff and took a shot. The gaff almost ripped out of the mako as it tried to eat the swimstep. Hunter was able to get a second securing gaff into the fish.

Hunter idled the boat ahead until they had the mako settled down. They got a tail rope on it and pulled its head out of the water. After a while, they hauled it up on the swimstep and tied it off for the ride home.

This mako was 8’2″ long. This is the first mako shark for Lahaina Harbor since May 2007, when a 120-pounder was weighed. It is the largest since October 1998, when a 410-pounder was weighed. There have been only nine weighed among the charter fleet since 1995.