Hinatea breaks 22-day blue marlin drought
LAHAINA – After 22 days without any type of billfish being caught, the Hinatea finally weighed a 412.6-pound blue by Jerry Guidish. He was fishing with Capt. Chris Wong and deckman Peter Wong.
They raised their fish on the 100-fathom ledge between the “Box” off the Olowalu side of Maui and Kahoolawe.
Peter saw the marlin come in on the short corner, knock the line down off the rigger, then fade back and swim over to the long corner position. It was all lit up as it tracked behind the lure but never struck it. The fish disappeared.
Peter cranked the line down from the tag line and then snapped the rubber band off the line. He started to tease the marlin by cranking the lure up the wake a few cranks, then free-spooling it backward, dropping it right on top of it. The fish was still back there following the lure.
Peter teased the marlin three different times without any action, with it finally grabbing the lure on the fourth try and hooking up. The fish went nuts, immediately whipping its body out of the water. It made an arching jump right over the wake from the long corner position, jumping past the long gone position to the starboard side 25 yards away.
The marlin ran off some line, then made a quick turn and came charging back toward the boat, quartering around right at them. Chris throttled the boat ahead. There was a big belly in the line. Peter stayed on the reel, keeping it in the holder. He cranked on the reel to get the line tight until the fish settled down.
Chris motored the boat away from the fish. Once they felt comfortable with the situation, Peter transferred the rod to Jerry in the chair and started clearing lines. The fish never went down, staying on the surface as it ran.
There was so much line out, about 500 yards, that the belly was sinking down. Chris began to reverse after the marlin, keeping a good angle on it. Jerry got into a rhythm, pumping his fish in. They were gaining some good line before it started jumping again, putting another big belly in the line. Chris had to punch the boat ahead.
Chris was switching it up, maneuvering the boat depending on what the marlin was doing. At a certain point, Chris couldn’t back down on the fish any more, so he just bumped the boat in and out of gear and let Jerry work his fish. When the line would come up, he would reverse after it again. It took them 35 minutes to get all the line back.
The marlin finally came up to where the rubber band was. It was all “lit up,” too “green” and not ready to come in yet. It was give and take for Jerry at double line, with Chris making a few circles on the fish for the next 15-20 minutes.
Chris didn’t want to put too much pressure on the marlin (luckily for them, because the fish had opened out the hook). Finally, the marlin came up to double line with a lot of color. It put up some resistance, pulling out some yards each time it saw the boat.
This give and take went on 5-6 times. Chris told Peter to grab the double line as it came up on the port side. Peter hauled the marlin up but couldn’t get a wrap on the leader. He got it as high as he could, taking a back wrap and locked it up. This allowed Peter to take a regular wrap.
The marlin was “lit up” as it walked Peter to the starboard side, with him collecting wraps as he crossed the stern. As it reached the corner, the fish turned back to port. Peter was locked in. Chris was able to place a gaff, but they were having a hard time getting it subdued.
As they brought the marlin to the stern, it went crazy, kicking its tail and knocking the open door off the hinges and into the water. They stuck another gaff to pull it upright, giving them a clean angle for some whacks. After getting the door, they pulled in the marlin.