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Start Me Up Too catches record-sized striped marlin

By Staff | Apr 30, 2015

From left, Mike Strohl, Capt. John Burke and deckman Ross Elkins with their 120.8-pound striped marlin caught on Start Me Up Too. PHOTO BY DONNELL TATE.

LAHAINA – A record-sized striped marlin, weighing 120.8 pounds, was landed aboard the Start Me Up Too by Mike Strohl. He was fishing with Capt. John Burke and deckman Ross Elkins.

They had been working the 300- to 400-fathom ledge off Kaumalapau, Lanai, and were angling in toward the Slides on the way to the Palaoa Point Lighthouse on the southwest corner. As they crossed the 150-fathom ledge off the Slides, they had a billfish come up on the short corner position first.

The marlin sat there for a few seconds before dropping back to the long corner position, grabbing a Steve Elkins “Grander” Jr. popsicle lure. It ran out the 100-test line for 200 yards and then went ballistic, jumping and cartwheeling across the surface. It was really acrobatic, mentioned Ross.

With all the aerial activity, they were holding their breath that it wouldn’t shake the hooks. Once the marlin finally settled down, it pulled off another quick 100 yards as it headed down.

John reversed the boat through the pattern as Ross cleared lines, with a couple of lures hanging off the bow. Ross finished clearing the pattern and got Mike situated in the chair. Ross had Mike in a perfect technique, with the reel in one-to-one ratio, pumping the rod and stacking the spool.

John continued to idle reverse after the marlin as Mike cranked in line for the next ten minutes. They had a lot of drag on the fish, not knowing for sure if it might be a small blue. The fish was swimming away from them off the port side as the rubber band came out of the water, then the double line and leader. John reversed the boat right up to it.

Ross was able to muscle the fish at that point, getting it turned with the boat. It came up swimming perfect at leader on the port side. John got the marlin secured, and they hauled it through the stern door to end the quick, 15-minute fight.

With the absence of striped marlin so far this season (only five), this made it an even more exciting catch. It is the largest striped marlin for the harbor since June 2011, and it will join the exclusive 100-pound striped marlin club. There have only been five striped marlin over 100 pounds since 2011. From 2011, there have been 242 striped marlin weighed and another 144 released, totaling 386 fish captured to date.