homepage logo

Top Gun wins Lahaina Jackpot Tournament

By Staff | Nov 20, 2014

From left, Capt. Don Johnson, Bob Bell, Al Shannon, Capt. Gene Perkins Jr., Dick Bell, Bonnie Bell and Les Books with their first place marlin. PHOTO BY DONNELL TATE.

LAHAINA – In the 37 years of the Lahaina Jackpot Fishing Tournament, this year, for the first time, it was held in combination with the Halloween Shootout Tournament. You could enter both tournaments, and win both events, with the largest fish weighed.

The Top Gun won the Lahaina Jackpot’s part of the tournaments with a blue marlin weighing 200.0 pounds by Al Shannon. He was fishing with Captains Don Johnson and Gene Perkins Jr. They started out working the backside of Lanai.

As Capt. Johnson trolled out to the K-Buoy located in 300 fathoms five miles southwest off the Palaoa Point Lighthouse, he heard of several boats getting bites inside off Kaumalapau Harbor. After getting no bites at K, he trolled out toward the NASA Buoy located on the 1,000-fathom ledge eight miles offshore.

They worked the area for a while, then headed back inside toward Kaumalapau. About 15 minutes before “Stop Fishing,” Al was standing behind the fighting chair. He made a comment to the rest of the team, “Seven years ago, about this time, we had a nice fish in the same area.”

Gene had just changed out the long corner position to a Bomboy pusher, with him and Don checking the pattern. They were 150 fathoms off Kaumalapau when Gene saw a boil behind the lure, but not the fish. As he headed to the deck, the long corner reel took off.

Al got into the chair as Gene cleared the rest of the pattern. The marlin ran about 150-200 yards before it started jumping. Don reversed after the fish, with Al gaining line. The marlin stayed on the surface the majority of the fight, making a couple of shallow dives and then coming back toward the surface.

About 20 minutes into the fight, Don had the boat straight behind the fish. He put the boat idling in and out of gear as Al cranked it up. With less than 100 yards out, Al started to tire and ran into a bit of a stalemate. He had been there before, and he knew how to do it.

Don began to reverse the boat after the marlin, with Al gaining some more line. Al started to feel pretty good once he started filling up the spool. As they got the fish close to double line, once it saw the props, it took off again on a 50-yard run.

The marlin came up pretty easy after that. With the fish behind the boat, because of the two tournaments – and the Jackpot having a tag-and- release prize – they didn’t know how the other boats were doing.

They had the potential of getting some cash by just tagging the marlin. The fish was over 100 pounds, so it would also qualify if boated. A decision was made to tag the fish.

After sticking a tag in the fish, they held it behind the boat for a while to check its condition. It was pretty docile at that point, mentioned Gene, and not showing much life. They made another decision to bring the marlin aboard.

Gene pulled the fish right in. They didn’t even need to put a gaff in it, and just hauled it onto the deck through the door. Fortunately for them, it happened to be the winning fish for the Lahaina Jackpot and the second largest marlin of the two tournaments. The team ended up with $9,700.

Unfortunately, they were not in the Halloween Shootout side bet for the second largest marlin and lost about $7,000 for not getting in.

As Al sat in the chair fighting his marlin, he mentioned it was Dj vu.

He won the Halloween Shootout in 2007 with a 663.4-pound marlin. “It was an amazing feeling,” he said. “My pacemaker kept going. It was a great day and a great tournament.”

The Die Hard 2 won the $5,000 tag and release portion of the Lahaina Jackpot Tournament with an estimated 70-pound blue marlin by Howie Williksen. He was fishing with Captains Fuzzie Alboro and Sam Thies with deckman Boy AhPuck.