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Start Me Up La Dat breaks 53-day marlin lull

By Staff | Jun 2, 2016

From left, Capt. Jay Rifkin, deckman Roy Kummer, and Daniel and Dan Leung with their 557.5-pound marlin caught on Start Me Up La Dat.

LAHAINA – Finally, after a 53-day lull between weighing a blue marlin in Lahaina, the Start Me Up La Dat hoisted the second largest blue of the year at 557.5 pounds. Anglers Daniel Leung and his dad, Dan, tag-teamed on the fish with Capt. Jay Rifkin and deckman Roy Kummer.

They were on a four-hour private trip, with Jay working the ledge between Kamaiki Point, Lanai, and the LA-Buoy marks off Olowalu. They were in 150 fathoms toward the “finger” when the long corner rubber band broke. At first, Jay thought it was just rubber band failure, because there was no movement from the rod.

About 30 seconds later, the marlin finally grabbed the lure and took off, screaming out the 130 test line to the port side of the pattern. It quickly dumped three-quarters of the spool before it started jumping 500-600 yards away. The fish was going ballistic, tearing up the surface for at least a couple of minutes and making 4-5 big leaps in the process.

As soon as the marlin settled down, and Roy had the short side cleared, Jay turned the stern to the port side direction and started backing down after the fish. Jay was pretty aggressive after it for the next 30 minutes, getting about half the spool back before the marlin went down. They got straight up and down on it, with the marlin about 300-400 yards deep.

Jay tried to get the marlin at an angle and plane it upward, but they were heading into the swell and couldn’t reverse on the fish too fast without swamping the boat. The wind picked up, and they were losing too much line on each plane just trying to gain back what they lost.

With the boat in idle reverse, it was give and take for quite a while for Daniel, with the marlin making several 50-yard sprints. Roy kept pushing up the drag lever past the strike button to at least 25-28 pounds of pressure. Finally, after a 30-minute tug of war, they came to a stalemate.

Jay decided to move the rod to the starboard side gunnel. At that point, they began to “Portuguese pull” in line and crank on the reel (like on “Wicked Tuna”).

For the next hour-and-a-half, everybody took turns cranking on the reel and pulling on the line. As soon as they would let go of the line, it would slowly roll off the spool, almost like dead weight. They could still feel a little movement and slight pulls of line from the fish.

They finally got the marlin to rubber band distance, but it saw the boat and peeled off another 30-40 yards of line before settling in. They were back in a stalemate and weren’t gaining any line, so Jay put the boat in idle, letting the marlin tire itself out with maximum drag. It took them another 20 minutes to get the fish back to double line.

The marlin slowly began to rise, popping up double line distance away, and rolled over dead. Jay backed the boat to the fish as Roy pulled it in without any resistance. This got the boat into the 500-pound marlin club for the year.

For catching a marlin over 500 pounds, Start Me Up Sportfishing gave Daniel his trip for free. They also donated $300 to the Navy League of the United States of Maui County as part of their charity donation program for a marlin caught over 500 pounds on one of their boats.