homepage logo

Takin’ All Betts wins 13th annual Halloween Shootout

By Staff | Nov 13, 2014

From left, Jason Collins, Britton Massey, Hunter Betts, Kyle Cordell and Kyle Winter with their 290.5-pound marlin. PHOTOS BY DONNELL TATE.

LAHAINA – This year’s 13th annual Halloween Shootout was lucky for some boats and unlucky for others. It had the makings of nail-biting, nervous anticipation, last-minute hookups and disqualifications.

The winning fish, weighing in at 290.5 pounds, was caught by Kyle Cordell aboard the Takin’ All Betts with Capt. Hunter Betts. They had their first marlin hooked around 8 a.m. off the backside of Lanai. Kyle fought this one for 20 minutes before pulling hooks. It was estimated at 300 pounds. Hunter then trolled out toward the NASA Buoy located on the 1,000-fathom ledge eight miles offshore, and then came back in to the same area as their first fish.

They were in 300 fathoms of water off Kaumalapau Harbor when they passed by the Finest Kind fighting an estimated 300-pound blue. About 200 yards away, they raised a second fish.

Hunter saw the marlin as it came in hot on the long gone position. Its mouth was wide open to where you could see light through the flared gill plates. It wolfed down the Ahi-P lure in one gulp and took off.

After running the 60-pound test line out 400 yards, the marlin put on a really good show as it tore up the surface. As it jumped toward the boat, Hunter had to throttle the boat ahead to keep the line tight. Kyle grabbed the stand-up 50-class gear and clipped into the harness.

From left, Dave Hudson, Mo Moler, Allen Fujiwara, Kenny Bauchman, Chad Leonillo and Kea Po with their second place fish.

Hunter was a little worried about their fish and Finest Kind’s fish in the direction they were both going. Unfortunately, Finest Kind’s marlin came off.

Their marlin headed deep. Hunter took it easy, with one engine ahead, as Kyle gained a little line. They weren’t trying to force the fish. With the light tackle, Kyle didn’t want to put too much pressure on it and pull hooks or break line. It was tough with the stand-up 50, he said, but nice being able to move around the boat with the fish.

About a half-hour into the fight, the wind picked up. For the next hour, they were in a stalemate with their marlin. It wasn’t taking any line, and they weren’t gaining any line. All Hunter could do was just idle the boat along with the fish, wait it out, and hope it would tire.

Kyle was the one to tire out first, and he put the rod into the port side gunnel. They still had 300 yards out. It was a give-and-take struggle for Kyle as the marlin would take a little line, and he would get a little more back. Another hour passed, as Hunter continued to maneuver the boat with the fish, keeping it in the best position for Kyle fighting it from the gunnel.

The marlin made one last run. Kyle got some line back as Hunter began to slowly plane the fish up. It started to come in really quick, with it popping up dead off the port side. Hunter leadered it to the boat as Kyle Winter got it secured with the gaff.

The Finest Kind had hooked another marlin in the same area during their fight but didn’t say how big their fish was estimated. Within 30 minutes of “Stop Fishing,” Finest Kind boated their fish. Fifteen minutes later, the Top Gun hooked up. The team was “biting their nails” as they waited to hear how big the other two fish were. Top Gun finally boated their marlin.

The rest is Halloween Shootout history, with the Takin’ All Betts team taking home the winner-take-all prize of $28,900.

The Finest Kind won the second place marlin, $13,050 side-bet, with a fish weighing 155.1 pounds by Mo Moler. He was fishing with Capt. Dave Hudson.

They had their first marlin up around noon, as Dave worked an area 200 fathoms off Kaumalapau, Lanai. Mo fought this fish for around 45 minutes using 50-class tackle and 60-test line. As it came up to double line, it rolled over and came off. This marlin was estimated at around 300 pounds.

After watching two other boats hook-up and land fish estimated at 300 pounds, Dave was going to stay in the area and find another fish. Dave saw at least a dozen boats get bites in the area, but after losing their fish, they all left.

Around 3 p.m., an hour before “Stop Fishing,” they had a second bite. The marlin came in on the long corner Ahi-P lure and took off on a 300-yard run. It made a couple of series of jumps and then settled down.

Dave just idled the boat ahead when needed and let Mo crank in his fish. It was a pretty textbook small fish on 80-class tackle and 100-test line, mentioned deckman Capt. Kenny Bauchman. Everything went smooth and quick.

It took Mo about 25 minutes to get his fish to the boat. No problem at leader; it came right up for Capt. Chad Leonillo. It was easy, flat water, said Dave. “The perfect place to be that day. The fish were there, and the water was nice. Right fish at the right time,” he added.