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Finest Kind adds another marlin to 2014 leaderboard

By Staff | Aug 28, 2014

From left, Nicola Colombo, deckman Kenny Bauchman and Capt. Chad Leonillo with their 568.8-pound marlin. PHOTO BY DONNELL TATE.

LAHAINA – The Finest Kind added another 500-pound marlin to the top billfish stats, this one weighing 568.8 pounds by Nicola Colombo. He was fishing with Capt. Chad Leonillo and deckman Kenny Bauchman.

Chad was watching the pattern as he crossed the 500-fathom ledge off Kaumalapau Harbor on the backside of Lanai. Suddenly, he spotted the short corner lure fly out of the water. As he looked closer, he saw a dark shadow behind the boat. He shouted to Kenny, “There’s a blue back there.”

Chad kept waiting for the fish to eat. The marlin finally came back on the short corner, making a couple of swipes at the lure, fencing with it for a few seconds. Then it decided it wanted to eat it, but missed it.

The marlin disappeared for a few seconds and then came back real hard on the lure. The rigger line came down fast. “Nice going away bite,” said Chad.

As the marlin raised its head out of the water, Chad shouted, “It’s a nice one – it’s well over 500.” It lunged away a few times and then took off tail-walking down the pattern for 100 yards. It turned toward the port side then settled down.

Chad began reversing the boat after the marlin as it lazily swam away from them for a couple of minutes. As they started to get close, the marlin turned to the port side and took off again, jumping and greyhounding, really moving, getting them down to only a couple hundred yards of 100-test line left on the spool.

Chad was in hard reverse chasing the marlin down. Even at 17 knots, Chad was having a tough time keeping up with the fish as it ran away from them. He asked Kenny how much line was left. Kenny shouted back, “Not much.”

“The fish wasn’t slowing down,” said Kenny. Chad had Kenny back off the drag and get ready to turn the chair. Chad spun the boat around forward, with the marlin off the port side going away for 400 yards.

Chad started chasing the fish down full throttle ahead for at least 2-3 minutes. There was a big belly of line in the water as they started to catch up. Chad slowed the boat a little, so Nicola could crank in the line, regaining 300 yards in the 20-minute process.

Once the line came tight, Chad spun the boat back around and started to chase it in reverse again, keeping tension on the line. The marlin finally slowed its run and sounded a couple of hundred yards. Kenny put the reel into low gear and let Nicola work on his fish.

Chad stayed on top of the marlin and tried to keep a good angle on the line. He didn’t want to get straight up and down on the fish. He tried doing circles on it, but it didn’t want to make a decision, so he just watched what direction it wanted to go and followed after it.

As the marlin got closer, it was swimming with the boat but dug down deep 50 yards. Nicola hit a stalemate with his fish. Kenny pushed up the drag. Chad started to plane the fish. He idled the boat forward, letting Nicola get tight on the fish and pull its head up. Then, just before line came off the reel, Chad would go hard reverse, with Nicola cranking in as much line as quick as he could, then back into idle forward to keep the line tight.

The back and forth planing went on for ten minutes before they had the marlin to double line. Once at double line, Kenny pushed up the drag to the button. The fish started to slowly swim back and forth across the stern at least a dozen times over the next five minutes.

They were in a bit of a stalemate. You could see the marlin all lit-up below. The double line was on and off the spool a half a dozen times in a give-and-take tug of war.

Finally, Kenny grabbed the double line and started to slowly hand-line the marlin up on the starboard side. Chad had the boat in a circle, turning into the fish, following it as it swam up. Kenny grabbed the leader, took a wrap and pulled. Once it got a couple of feet from the surface, it rolled over, done. Chad got the fish secured, and they pulled it through the door.