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Luckey Strike II lands a 34.8- pound sailfish

By Staff | Sep 1, 2016

From left, Dane Maben, Capt. Brad Coombs and deckman Sam Kalua with their 34.8-pound sailfish. PHOTO BY DONNELL TATE.

LAHAINA – The Luckey Strike II weighed a rare catch for Lahaina Harbor: a 34.8-pound sailfish angled by Dane Maben. He was fishing with Capt. Brad Coombs and deckman Sam Kalua.

Brad headed to Molokai looking for ono and striped marlin around Moku Ho’oniki Island. They had gotten several striped marlin bites during their last few trips in shallow ono waters.

Brad was coming up to the “Rock,” about a mile away in 45 fathoms of water, when they had a strike on the short rigger position. Brad heard the rod rattle in the holder and looked around from the bridge. A few seconds later, the fish came back in, grabbed the short rigger jet lure again and took off.

Brad’s first thought was either a striped marlin or spearfish from the way it bit. The fish ripped off 150-200 yards of 80-class line in 6-8 seconds. It was really moving, mentioned Brad. Brad throttled the boat ahead as Sam got the lines cleared and Dane into the fighting chair.

The marlin made one jump about 200 yards away, finally slowing down about a minute later about 300 yards from the boat. They were in some wind, so Brad turned the boat straight downhill with the swell behind them. He had the boat idle ahead as Dane worked his fish in.

It was a pretty straightforward fight – not doing a lot over the next 15 minutes. It stayed down until they had it 30 yards behind the boat and then swam right at them. The line went slack, with Brad throttling the boat forward, keeping the line tight and the fish hooked.

They had it to the back of the boat about five minutes later. Brad saw the marlin’s bill come up, looking like a small striped marlin. With Brad and Sam on the swim step, Brad grabbed the leader and pulled the fish in. Suddenly its dorsal fin unfolded like a fan, with them both shouting, “Sailfish!” Sam quickly stuck the sail with the hand gaff and pulled it onto the deck.

It was the perfect fight with a perfect kid, mentioned Brad. It worked out well. This was the first sailfish for both Brad and Sam – and quite a thrill.

Rare to Hawaiian waters, the Indo-Pacific sailfish inhabits tropical and temperate waters near landmasses, coral reefs and islands where warm currents are close inshore.

The sailfish’s outstanding feature is its long, high, membrane-like first dorsal fin colored slate or cobalt blue with a scattering of black spots.

They are the peacock of the sea with glorious colors and a graceful winged shape.

Its fighting ability, along with fast surface runs, have established its reputation as a top sport fish, but it tires quickly and is considered a light tackle species. Sailfish have been clocked at over 68 mph – a speed unheard of in any other fish.

The last sailfish weighed in Lahaina Harbor was a 72.5-pound fish aboard the Start Me Up Too in September of 2015. The Hawaii state record is a 151-pound fish taken in 2013 from Punalu’u, Hawaii. The Lahaina Harbor record is a 113-pound fish taken in 1979 aboard the Sport Diver with Capt. Tad Luckey.