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The Action lands largest marlin on Maui since July 2013

By Staff | Mar 26, 2015

From left, Capt. Jonny Keiley, Eric Zuroske, Brett Skinner and deckman Rob Cosgrove with their 714.2-pound marlin. PHOTO BY DONNELL TATE.

LAHAINA – The Action landed a record-sized blue marlin weighing 714.2 pounds by Eric Zuroske and Brett Skinner. They were fishing with Capt. Jonny Keiley and deckman Rob Cosgrove.

They had been fishing the CC-Buoy off the west end of Lanai and were heading south, down the backside, toward the Palaoa Point Lighthouse. As they reached the 200-fathom ledge off Kaumalapau, Rob saw a spearfish come jumping in behind the long rigger position.

Rob teased the fish a couple of times, but it didn’t break the rubber band holding the line. Finally, it grabbed the lure and took off, head shaking as it charged the boat. It was a feisty fish, but they got it in the boat without any problem.

Rob got everything cleaned up and the pattern set back up. About ten minutes later, as they passed the “Slides,” one of the charters shouted out, “There’s another one back there!” Rob looked back and noticed a big dorsal fin pop up behind the long corner position. The fish disappeared.

As Rob free-spooled the lure backward, the marlin came back up but didn’t strike the lure. He cranked in the lure a few feet, with Jonny shouting out, “Put it on top of the wave.” Rob dropped the lure back to the top of the wave and let it sit there.

The marlin came back in behind the lure and grabbed it without hesitation. It immediately started tail-walking off to the port side of the pattern, screaming out the 100-test line. Rob got three of the lines cleared, with the short rigger and long gone lure trailing way up in front of the boat as Jonny reversed after the fish.

The marlin took them a couple hundred yards into the Dacron backing, with about 200-300 yards left on the spool. Jonny had the boat full throttle reverse after the fish for about a minute. Finally, the line loss started to slow down, with at least 700-800 yards out behind the boat.

Once Eric was finally able to get a few cranks on the reel, Jonny slowed the boat down to idle reverse. They continued to chase after the marlin in reverse until they got the 300 yards of Dacron backing on the spool. They got a little bit of mono on the reel, with the fish pretty much straight up and down behind the boat at that point.

There was so much line out that Jonny couldn’t plane the marlin up, because line would come off the spool when he pulled the boat ahead. So, Rob put the reel into low gear and let Eric crank it up, nice and easy. Once they got some decent line on the spool, Rob pushed up the drag.

They didn’t want to put too much drag on the marlin, because there was still about 500 yards of line out. Once they packed some more mono on the spool and felt good about not breaking the fish off, Rob pushed up the drag a little further. At this point, they switched out anglers and got Brett in the chair. Jonny was finally able to start planing the fish up, forward and then reverse, as Brett gained line.

Rob slowly pushed up the drag lever until it was past the strike button, as Jonny continued to plane the marlin upward for about 20-30 minutes. It continued swimming away and down, so Jonny couldn’t put much pressure on the fish to bring it up. Once the planing stopped working and they ran into a stalemate, Jonny reversed after it until he was over it, and then spun the boat around and drove in front of the fish to cut it off as it swam away from them.

That seemed to work pretty well – just changing the direction of the line to get it off the side of the boat, so the marlin was moving with them. Jonny did this maneuver 5-6 times before they finally saw deep color.

As they got the marlin to double line, it was swimming back and forth away from them. Rob grabbed the double line and took two pulls, with the fish pulling the line out of his hands a couple of yards. Brett cranked it back up a minute later, with the fish finally turning and swimming with the boat off the starboard side.

Rob grabbed the double line again and hand-over-hand pulled it to swivel. He reached under the swivel and got a wrap on the leader, with the marlin pulling him around to port. Rob got some long pulls, single wraps, and brought the fish up. It pulled him back to starboard, with him getting another wrap.

The marlin wasn’t too aggressive as it cruised back and forth, taking Rob back to the port side. It was coming up easier and easier. As Rob got it a couple of feet from the surface, he called Jonny off the helm to secure their catch.

They tied the marlin off behind the stern, saw how big it was and wondered how they were going to get it in the boat. Everybody was exhausted, but they knew they had to get it in the boat. They got the head up on the stern but couldn’t get it over the rail. Jonny gaffed the tail and pulled it up, with them hauling the body sideways over the stern.

This is the largest marlin on Maui since July 2013, and was 13.5 feet from tip of bill to tail. For catching a marlin over 500 pounds, Start Me Up Sportfishing gave Eric and Brett their trip for free. They also donated $300 to Habitat for Humanity Maui as part of their charity donation program for a marlin caught over 500 pounds on one of their boats.