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Split-second decision keeps charging marlin out of the Finest Kind

By Staff | Apr 19, 2012

From left, Capt. Kamal Pfeifle, crew Sean Hudson, Mike Rankey and daughter Kristina with their 419.4-pound marlin. Photo by Donnell Tate.

LAHAINA – The Finest Kind was back at the scales with another nice marlin – the third one over 400 pounds in 18 days – weighing 419.4 pounds by Mike Rankey. He was fishing with Capt. Kamal Pfeifle and deckman Sean Hudson.

They were trolling off the Palaoa Point Lighthouse on the southwest corner of Lanai, coming up on the 500-fathom ledge off Kaumalapau Harbor. Both Kamal and Sean heard the long rigger reel start to scream. As Sean looked back at the pattern, he watched a marlin swim into the pattern after the long corner lure. It made a pass at it, then swam up the wake to the short corner lure trying to eat both lures.

The 100-test line was screaming off the long rigger two-speed 80-class reel straight off the stern. Kamal started clearing the short corner position but stopped, as he spotted a marlin behind the lure, thinking it might get bit. Once they figured out it was the same fish, Kamal continued clearing the line.

When the marlin realized it was hooked, it started greyhounding straight toward the boat from the short corner position. Mike was in the chair but quickly got out when he thought the marlin was coming into the cockpit. Sean gunned the boat full throttle ahead and turned out of the way.

The marlin came jumping right up the port side of the boat – way too close. Sean said that if he hadn’t made that split-second decision, the marlin would have ended up on the deck. With the boat heading in one direction and the fish in the other, the big bow in the line came straight.

Kamal was frantically cranking in the lines, with Sean spotting the gold of the spool starting to show. The rod was still in the starboard rod holder, so Kamal had Mike stand next to the reel ready to crank.

Sean put the boat full-throttle reverse after the marlin, backing through the rest of the lines, with the long gone lure trailing off the bow. He almost had to spin the boat around and chase after the fish forward. Sean mentioned that there was about 20 wraps of line left on the spool before he finally got the fish stopped about 400 yards away.

Sean continued to chase after the marlin up-seas, with Mike gaining line until they got straight up and down on it. Kamal turned the chair toward the port side as Sean spun the boat around the fish and started to walk it down-swell. They had a good angle on the marlin with Mike starting to gain more line.

About 30 minutes into the fight, Mike had his fish to double line. As it came up on the starboard side, Kamal could almost grab the leader. He could see the fish below, but just as he went to grab the leader, it turned under the corner. Sean bumped the boat ahead as Kamal held the line off the transom. The marlin dug down and crossed to the other side.

Sean maneuvered the boat as they worked the fish from leader to double line off and on the reel at least a dozen times over the next 20 minutes. They got the marlin swimming with them. Once Kamal was able to finally grab the leader, he could feel it coming up, taking a wrap.

The marlin came up nice and perfect on the port side. With them using only a 12-foot leader, the fish was right there. Sean got a securing gaff into the shoulder to end the fight.