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Exact marlin puts up tough fight at leader

By Staff | Apr 5, 2012

From left, Capt. Sam Thies, Marty Trayner, Scott Campbell and Capt. Sal Tarantino with their 409.8-pound blue marlin caught on The Exact.

LAHAINA – The Exact backed into slip #7 with a 409.8-pound blue marlin by the tag team of Marty Trayner and Scott Campbell. They were fishing with Captains Sal Tarantino and Sam Thies.

It was a Manele Bay, Lanai, pickup, with Sal heading down the south side of the island and around the corner off the Palaoa Point Lighthouse. They were on a short, four-hour charter, so he headed the boat toward the NASA-Buoy. Sal was following a current line, raising the marlin in 350 fathoms off Kaumalapau Harbor.

The marlin hit a Seth Kizel jet on the long corner position and turned to the port side of the pattern. It became airborne, jumping back across the pattern to starboard, going ballistic, tail-walking around inside the riggers. The fish then took off on a 500-yard jump and run, and then disappeared.

Sam had the charter clearing lines as he got Marty situated in the chair. Sal started aggressively reversing the boat after the fish before all the lines were in the boat. Sam finished up with the long gone position as the marlin finally settled down. It was still taking line as it headed deep.

Sal slowed the boat to idle reverse, just staying with the fish and waiting for a shot at the leader. Scott cranked the marlin up to double line 40 minutes later. At that point, it was a 20-minute, give-and-take, tug of war, as the marlin started making big circles straight behind the boat.

Sal had the boat one engine reverse and one ahead, spinning the stern with the fish. The leader was just out of Sam’s reach. Each time he would go for the swivel, the marlin would pull out the double line 15-20 feet as it circled. This chase went on 5-6 more times before Scott was finally able to crank the marlin to leader.

The marlin was digging in as Sam grabbed the leader. He held on and pushed out on the line as the marlin tried to swim under the starboard corner. Sal put the boat both engines idle ahead as he headed for the deck.

With the marlin sitting on the corner, Sam took a wrap and called out to Sal, who was already waiting with the gaff. There was too much pressure on the leader with both engines ahead, so Sal reached up to the helm with the fly-gaff and pulled one engine to neutral.

Sam lifted the marlin up a little higher, took a wrap and held his ground. Sal had to reach down deep with the fly-gaff to secure the fish. After a few goodnight taps, they hauled the marlin over the rail onto the deck. It was a gnarly fish at leader, mentioned Sam – one of the toughest marlin he has had to deal with.