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Winter-spring wrap-up for 2015

By Staff | Jun 25, 2015

From left, Capt. Jay Rifkin, Mike and Kendall Michaelis, and Co-capt. Chris Cole caught this 1,058.3-pound marlin aboard the Jun Ken Po. PHOTOS BY DONNELL TATE.

The billfish bite during January got off to a slow start, with only one small blue marlin weighed. The first striped marlin of the season was captured, with five shortnose spearfish starting to show up for their seasonal run through spring.

The February numbers for blue marlin were less than a handful, with three making the scales. The Action hooked into a marathon battle with a 474.2-pound blue marlin, taking Fred Leilbold and Kevin Bell over seven hours to land their fish. They were fishing with Capt. Jukka Hyytia and deckman Rob Cosgrove.

No striped marlin were found, with ten spearfish dominating the monthly stats.

The blue marlin began to show up off the backside of Lanai during March, with some big females hitting the scales. There were seven blues weighed and one released. A couple of striped marlin finally added to the mix, with the eight spearfish grabbing half the monthly billfish total.

The Exact boated a record-sized blue marlin weighing 788.2-pounds by Brent Bennett. He was fishing with Capt. Dave Bensko.

Brent Bennett (left) and Capt. Dave Bensko weigh their 788.2-pound marlin caught on the Exact.

The Action also 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.

Both fish joined the 700-pound marlin club and were the largest of the year at the end of March.

The blue marlin bite everyone was expecting to happen in April never materialized, with only eight fish being weighed and three released. Only one big girl made it to the scales – this one weighing 674.5 pounds by 16-year-old Tyler Hwang. He was fishing with Capt. Steve Carroll and deckman Dyllon Smith aboard the Start Me Up Cuz.

Just two striped marlin were landed, but they were the two largest of the year at 99.7 and 120.8 pounds. The 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.

With the absence of striped marlin so far this season (only five as of the end of April), 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 weighed since 2011.

Captain Chimo Shipp (left) and deckman Jimmy Francis boated 150.9-, 266.0- and 210.3-pound yellowfin tuna aboard the No Problem.

A handful of spearfish trickled in during the month, bringing the billfish total to 18.

It was one of the best Mays for blue marlin since 2005, with 20 making the scales and another nine released. A few nice females made the lineup, with Lahaina’s first “Grander” since 2007 hitting the scales. A 487.5- and 444.4- pound blue also made the stats.

A Memorial Day monster marlin was landed in Lahaina aboard the Jun Ken Po, with a “Grander” blue marlin weighing 1,058.3 pounds for Kendall and Mike Michaelis. They were assisted by Captains Jay Rifkin and Chris Cole.

This marlin was 14 feet, five inches from tip of bill to tail (at least a foot of bill was missing), with an 11’10” short length, a 37-inch half-shoulder girth, a 34.5-inch half-anal girth, and a 19.5-inch caudal.

It is the largest marlin weighed on Maui since July 18, 2007; the second largest Lahaina charter boat marlin; and the sixth largest marlin weighed on Maui since 1983.

The Hinatea joined the 500-pound marlin club during May with a 503.8-pound blue by 11-year-old Declan Allan. He was fishing with his dad, Hunter; Capt. Greg France; and deckman James Edmisson.

There was also a new Lahaina Harbor yellowfin tuna record during May, with a 266.0-pound “Allison” toad aboard the No Problem with Capt. Chimo Shipp and deckman Jimmy Francis. The previous harbor record was from 1977 at 235 pounds, and the charter boat record from 1980 at 225 pounds. They also weighed 210.3- and 150.9-pound “Allison” yellowfin tuna.

Three striped marlin and eight spearfish showed up in the mix.

So, the billfish count at the end of May showed 39 blue marlin weighed, eight over 400, and 13 released. Only eight striped marlin have been recorded during their season, with 36 spearfish showing up consistently so far over the period.