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The history of ‘granders’ on Maui

By Staff | Mar 21, 2013

When you think of “big marlin,” you think “grander,” a fish weighing 1,000 pounds. A grander is what every angler and captain dreams of catching someday – and what stories are made of. Maui has had seven officially weighed and recorded over the past 31 years.

The Lahaina Jackpot Tournament has the distinction of the only tournament in the state to have had three granders brought to the scales. In addition, no tournament in the state has ever had two granders win the event.

The 1993 tournament saw its first grander with a world record 1,201.8-pound blue marlin by Doug Jorgensen. He was fishing aboard the Cormorant with Capt. Bruce Matson from Oahu. Team members were Brent Matson, Tim Reasoner, Capt. Pat Nelson and Capt. Bob “Haole Boy” Bean.

The marlin hit a Steve Coggin big pink pusher on the short corner position. It was a two-and-a-half-hour fight on 130-test line.

This marlin is the largest to win the Lahaina Jackpot Tournament. It is also the largest fish ever landed in a major Hawaii fishing tournament.

Amazingly, it is the largest marlin ever weighed in a major gamefish tournament anywhere in the world. This fish stands as the largest marlin ever weighed in Maui County.

The 1997 tournament again gained both state and international fame and recognition with double granders. Nowhere in the world had there been a pair of 1,100-pound marlin weighed on the same day.

The tournament winner was a 1,106.0-pound blue by Rodney Kam. He was fishing aboard the Magic with Capt. Russell Tanaka and team members Shane Sinclare and Herman Jones.

It was a long rigger bite on 130-class line, taking them 80 minutes to get it to the boat.

The second place marlin weighed 1,101.5 pounds and was angled by Andrew Mau. He was fishing with Capt. Rahn Yamashita aboard Shirley-Y with team members Reed Yamashita and Shane Kano.

They had their bite on the center position 130-class reel, taking them five hours to get it secured.

The Shirley-Y would have won the tournament, but as they were bringing the marlin to the boat, it threw out an estimated 20-pound spearfish, which would have given them the five pounds they needed to win. Upon inspecting the fish after weigh-in to see what it had been eating, it had a very fresh 20-pound mahi in its throat and another 20-pound spearfish in its stomach.

To catch a grander is a once-in-a-lifetime goal of every angler and would guarantee first place in any tournament in the world, but to lose by a mere four-and-a-half pounds is unbelievable.

The first 1,100-pound marlin weighed on Maui was landed in 1992 aboard the Anna II. It was angled by Capt. John Eddy, weighing 1,140 pounds. He was fishing with Guy Bagda.

The marlin hit the port side 80-class reel packed with 130-test line, taking them two hours to land their fish. They had planned to just bottomfish, so all they had aboard was a small mahi gaff and a 12-gauge bang stick. The rest is history. This was the very first marlin for John.

When the marlin was weighed at Buzz’s Wharf, it bottomed the scale. It was then loaded into John’s truck and weighed at Upcountry Fish Brokers in sections.

This was the second grander ever weighed on Maui – the first being in 1981 aboard the Ohana Kai, with Captain David Davidson weighing a 1,002-pounder.

In 2002, what started out as a dream of catching a 1,122-pound marlin four days earlier turned into reality for Capt. Jeff Kahl and Co-capt. Ryan Fiedorowicz. They set a new record for the largest Charter Sportfishing marlin ever landed, weighing 1,118.0 pounds.

When Reese Randall, a semi-pro bass fisherman from Arizona, booked Reel Hooker, little did he realize that at the end of a grueling, hour-and-50-minute fight, he would be standing next to a record blue marlin.

The marlin hit a Steve Elkins blue-back “popsicle” lure on the long corner position. It was landed on a 130-pound class reel packed with 130-pound test line.

This is the largest marlin weighed by a Charter Sportfishing boat in Maui County, breaking the previous record of 955 pounds landed in 1990. It is also the third largest marlin ever weighed and recorded on Maui – the largest a 1,201.8-pounder in 1993.

In 2007, it was a grander day for the Start Me Up La Dat, weighing a 1,026.4-pound blue marlin for anglers Jim Bierd, Luke and Jordan Bixler and Mike Skaggs. They were fishing with Capt. Ryan Fiedorowicz and crewman Ed Nevrivy.

It was a long rigger position strike on 130-class gear, taking the tag-team four hours to land their fish. It is the second largest marlin ever weighed by a Lahaina Charter Sportfishing boat and the sixth largest marlin weighed in Maui County since 1972.