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Tail-wrapped blue marlin goes on crazy runs

By Staff | Sep 12, 2013

From left, Capt. Greg France, deckman Adam Klevins and Trei Deubel with their 449.1-pound blue marlin.

LAHAINA – The Reel Hooker pulled in a tail-wrapped 449.1-pound blue marlin for Trei Deubel. He was fishing with Capt. Greg France and deckman Adam Klevins.

Greg was about a mile inside the K-Buoy off the southwest corner of Lanai trolling in a porpoise school, with Iwa birds working the bait. They were in the school for 20 minutes before they got a bite on the long corner position. Greg’s first thoughts were tuna, until he saw a marlin bill come up out of the water.

The marlin ran out 50-75 yards, then started doing head shakes, shoulders out of the water, in a slow circle. “It never really made a mean run,” said Greg. “I don’t even think it really realized it was hooked.”

Once the marlin finished the head shaking, 360-degree circle, it stayed just outside the pattern, so Greg slowly reversed the boat right up to it. They had the marlin 30 feet from double line in about 15 minutes.

Not liking the boat so close, the marlin went crazy across the surface. It continued to head-shake, making big loops, and then would take off, greyhounding back and forth to mix things up. It then took off on a smoking run, ripping the 100-test line off the 80-class reel.

It headed deep and slowed its run. At that point, the marlin must have gotten tail-wrapped. Trei was done at that point and needed a break, so Adam got into the bucket harness and started fighting the fish.

Adam wrestled with the marlin for 20 minutes. With the rod bowed over the transom, he could feel the fish digging its head as it tried to swim down, and then slowed the tug as it eased off and headed back to the surface. It was swimming funny, hooked in the mouth and tail-wrapped, pulling its head as it moved its tail.

It made 4-5 crazy 50-yard runs, where it would show itself head-shaking, trying to throw the hooks, and then porpoise back and forth across the surface before it disappeared again. The marlin made a final blistering run for 200 yards before it stopped. Feeling no action from the fish, and figuring it was dead, Adam got out of the chair. He put the rod into the starboard side gunnel, knowing they were going to have to haul the fish up.

The marlin was 200 yards deep showing no signs of life as they drifted down current with it. Adam pushed the drag lever to above the button, then had Trei sit on the rail behind the rod and crank as Adam “Portuguese pumped” the line onto the spool. Greg used the boat and swell, drifting with the current in the two-foot seas, to get some cranks. He idle reversed the boat until he had the marlin up and down off the transom with a little angle on the line. They gained the last 100 yards in about 20 minutes.

As they pulled the marlin up to double line, Adam looked over the side, seeing that it was tail-wrapped, coming up tail first and dead. As Adam held the leader, Greg left the helm and grabbed the long mahi gaff. He reached out and stuck the fish in the head, spinning it around so they could haul it through the stern door.