Maui Jim wins Wahine Jackpot Tournament
LAHAINA – The Maui Jim won the Wahine Jackpot Tournament with a 322.5-pound blue marlin by Jen Williams. She was fishing with Captains Tom Casey and Seth Kizel.
It was a light, variable day for wind, so they decided to go to the backside of Lanai. It ended up paying off for them. They were on the ledge, between the Palaoa Point Lighthouse and the Slides, with acres of bait piles in the area. In the middle of the bait, Tom spotted a floater. It was black and hard to spot, with not much of it exposed on the surface.
As Tom looked down, he mentioned to Seth that it looked fairly big, but it was down in the water pretty deep. They made a pass trolling, with all the lines going off. The girls each had a fish hooked, with Seth busy on the back deck trying to time each fish to the boat. They continued to work the floater and pick up mahi, also catching some small ahi during the frenzy.
When the lure bite slowed down, they baited the floater, getting a few more mahi in the boat. They also hooked up a few sharks. Since there was so much bait in the area, they decided to put a bait in the water and try to get a marlin raised. Seth had an aku out about the long corner position as Tom made a pass around the floater.
Tom shouted out, “There’s something behind the aku!” The girls called out, “There’s a shark – there’s a shark back there.” Seth yelled, “No, it’s a Marlin!”
The fish was lit up behind the bait. Seth started to slowly pull the bait in. The marlin grabbed the bait, with Seth letting the line go. The marlin turned, pulling the line out of the clip.
After a few seconds, Seth thought they had missed the hookup because the fish wasn’t taking any line. Suddenly, the 130-class reel started to slowly peel off line. Seth said, “Uh-oh, here we go.” He knew the fish had swallowed the bait and was hooked deep.
The marlin came up to the surface, windshield-wiping its bill back and forth with its head out of the water, trying to shake the hooks. It was Jen’s rod, so she got in the chair. The fish didn’t pull much line.
The marlin broke the surface a couple of times, but they never got a good look at it close. Tom reversed the boat after the fish as fast as Jen let them back after it. She was doing a great job on her fish.
They had the marlin behind the boat in about 15 minutes. As they looked down at it, they were thinking it was a 200-pounder. The fish was going back and forth as it slowly swam away.
The first time they had the marlin to leader, it was “scrappy,” mentioned Seth. He was thinking, “What’s with this fish?” The fish was fighting a little bigger than they thought it was.
For the next ten minutes, the marlin started doing big circles off the starboard corner. As it came toward the boat, Seth was ready for the leader, but it continued to circle away from them.
The next circle, it came up underneath the boat from the starboard side. Tom had to maneuver the boat away from it to keep it out of the running gear. Jen stayed after her fish.
Seth grabbed the leader on the next pass and held on, turning the marlin’s head around. It was digging down, showing color, and wasn’t ready yet, so he let it go. He didn’t want to force the fish.
They just took their time and let Jen work her fish. The marlin finally gave up and quit circling, letting Seth have another shot at leader. He wrapped it up and held the fish on the starboard corner as Tom got it secured.
After they got it tied off, they pulled it in the boat. As they looked at the marlin, Seth stated, “That’s why it was taking so long. It was a bigger fish than we thought. I didn’t think it would go 322.”
The other girls did a great job, too, with a box full of mahi and ahi to show for it. It was a fun tournament for the girls, mentioned Tom.