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Start Me Up joins 500-pound marlin club

By Staff | Oct 30, 2014

From left, Capt. Steve Cravens, Nick Herrick, Gehrick Dickson and deckman Chris Kiser with their 585.2-pound marlin caught on Start Me Up.

LAHAINA – The Start Me Up joined the 500-pound marlin stats with a 585.2-pound blue by the tag team of Nick Herrick and Gehrick Dickson. They were fishing with Capt. Steve Cravens and deckman Chris Kiser. Steve had just gotten back in town after 25 months on the Mainland, and this was his first trip out.

They had been fishing the K-Buoy off the southwest corner of Lanai and were heading in toward the Palaoa Point Lighthouse. About a mile from the buoy, Chris called out, seeing something behind the long gone position.

The strike was very uneventful, said Steve. The rubber band gently stretched until it broke, releasing the line. They finally saw the tip of the dorsal fin and knew they had a billfish. They were thinking a smaller variety of billfish.

The marlin took a very slow run as it pulled off the 100-test line for about 150 yards. It never jumped as it slowly swam away. Chris got all the lines cleared and Nick in the chair.

After about half the spool was gone, they figured it might be a bigger marlin. Steve slowly reversed the boat after the fish as Nick began to gain some line. It was still on the surface casually swimming away from them. It still had not shown itself.

Twenty minutes into the fight, they had regained about half the line back and were keeping up with it.

The marlin suddenly lit up and went crazy. It jumped back and forth, left to right, toward the boat, making graceful leaps, skipping across the surface on its side and tail-walking in circles, tearing up the water. This acrobatic show went on for over ten minutes as it danced all over the place. It looked at least 300 pounds.

After all that, the marlin took off on a big run, ripping out 350 yards before it settled down 500 yards away. Steve got more aggressive on the fish after that. They were able to get it to about 300 yards out in ten minutes, with it still on the surface.

At that point, Nick was tired, so Steve slowed the chase and Chris got Gehrick into the chair. Steve continued to back after the marlin. With a fresh set of arms in the chair, Chris had the reel in high gear, with them closing the distance to about 100 yards in 20 minutes.

The marlin went down. They were still able to keep an angle on the fish for a while and gain some line, idling backward, then idling slowly forward to keep the line tight. They ran into a stalemate as the marlin got down and dirty on them.

Chris put the reel into low gear and pushed up the drag. Gehrick got into a pretty good rhythm and was making some progress on the fish. He got it to about 50 yards before he ran into another stalemate. It was get ten yards, take ten yards in a tug of war.

As Gehrick pumped up the rod, Chris thumbed the spool to limit the line loss. They got the marlin to about 100 feet in ten minutes, straight up and down, with it swimming with the boat. It began to swing back and forth, with Steve maneuvering the boat forward with the fish.

The double line came up once, with the marlin pulling it back out 10-15 yards. Chris continued to help Gehrick keep a rhythm as he thumbed the spool. They got it back to double line off the starboard corner a couple of minutes later. Chris was able to reach out, grab the line and pull the fish up as Gehrick cranked.

For catching a marlin over 500 pounds, Start Me Up Sportfishing gave Nick and Gehrick their trip for free. They also donated $300 to the Montessori School of Maui as part of their charity donation program for a marlin caught over 500 pounds on one of their boats.