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Start Me Up takes third place in Halloween Shootout Tournament

By Staff | Nov 26, 2015

From left, Capt. Steve Cravens, Bronson Podlewski, Norman Podlewski, Boa Boteilho and deckman Chris Kiser with their third place blue marlin. PHOTO BY DONNELL TATE.

LAHAINA – The Start Me Up cranked in the third place blue marlin in the Halloween Shootout Tournament, weighing 245.2 pounds by Norman Podlweski. He was fishing with Capt. Steve Cravens, deckman Chris Kiser and team members Branson Podlewski and Boa Botheilho.

They started off the morning working the 100-fathom ledge around the LA-Buoy marks off Olowalu, raising three blue marlin. All the fish stayed in the pattern, bill-whacking the lures several times, but none hooked up, mentioned Chris. After a frustrating billfish attack, Steve headed toward Kahoolawe to work the southwest shoals.

On the troll to the shoals, they had a fourth marlin with no hookup. Steve had the boat right off the tip of the shoals when they raised their fifth blue on the long corner position. The marlin knocked the line down from the rigger, then dropped back and knocked the line down from the long rigger position.

Chris cranked in the long rigger lure, with the fish bill-whacking the lure several times, but it didn’t hook up. As he dropped the lure backward, he felt the fish grab it. After a few seconds, he locked up the 130-class reel.

The marlin took off on a steady run, pulling out 200-300 yards of line before it started jumping. It crossed the pattern one time and then disappeared. As soon as the pattern was cleared, Steve immediately began to reverse the boat after the fish.

The marlin stayed on the surface for the first 15-20 minutes, with Steve idling the boat backward after it. He had a nice angle on the fish as he positioned the boat so it was right off the transom instead of into the trough. Norm was able to regain about half the line back before it headed deep.

The fish was down about 150 yards, with Steve bumping the boat in and out of reverse, keeping it right behind the stern as it swam away. Norm dropped the reel into low gear and winched the marlin up close to double line, around 100 feet deep, in about ten minutes.

The marlin was down and swimming back and forth away from them. It was just a matter of fighting the fish at double line. It got a bit frustrating, said Chris, especially when they saw the double line a couple of times. The fish would pull line off the reel in 20-yard zips, with Norm regaining it right back several times.

One time the marlin tried to race up in front of the boat, with Steve having to throttle the boat forward and pivot the stern after it. The fish was dodging back and forth and circling around all lit-up. Steve maneuvered the boat on the fish, finally getting its head turned toward them, but it turned back around and continued to swim away. Steve just followed it around, keeping it right behind the stern, with Norm gaining line when he could.

The double line was almost to the point (3-4 times) where Chris could grab the leader, with the fish playing give and take with him. Finally, they had the marlin’s head turned toward the boat, and Chris was able to grab the leader.

The marlin suddenly came up jumping several times straight for him off the starboard corner. Chris was taking wraps on the leader as fast as he could, trying to grab up the slack and keep the line tight. Once it settled down, he held on to the marlin off the corner until they could get it secured and seal the deal.

The team was in the $500 side-bet for the third largest marlin, winning $5,850.