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Start Me Up La Dat catches sixth largest marlin of the year

By Staff | Sep 22, 2016

Deckman John Verfurth (left) and Dodge Hare, 12, with the estimated 100-pound blue marlin they released. PHOTOS BY DONNELL TATE.

LAHAINA – The Start Me Up La Dat recently weighed a 387.5-pound blue marlin for Chris Hare. He was fishing with his 12-year-old son Dodge, Capt. Josh Hammond and deckman John Verfurth. Surprisingly, this is only the sixth largest marlin for the year.

They were about two miles south of the “Finger,” around ten miles off Olowalu heading toward Lanai, when Josh heard a noise from the deck. As he turned around, he spotted the short corner reel dumping the 130-class line.

The marlin started jumping about the long rigger, long gone distance, around 80 yards out. Josh knew at this point it was 300-plus pounds. John started clearing lines as the fish jumped a couple more times and then took off on a 300-yard run before jumping again. By this time, John had all the lines cleared and Chris in the chair.

Josh began to reverse the boat after the marlin as Chris started to gain some line. About 15 minutes into the fight, the fish jumped a couple more times, shaking its head back and forth. Josh continued to aggressively reverse on the marlin, watching Chris as he tried to keep the line tight. The fish finally slowed down and headed deep.

During the next half-hour, the marlin made a lot of short runs of 20-40 yards, with John “Portuguese pulling” on the line as Chris gained the line back, with the fish taking it out 5-6 more times.

From left, Deckman John Verfurth, Dodge Hare, Capt. Josh Hammond and Chris Hare with their 387.5-pound blue marlin caught on Start Me Up La Dat.

The last 15 minutes, the marlin settled in below the boat 200-300 feet, with Chris in a stalemate, struggling to raise it up. John began to hand-line the fish upward a foot at a time. The marlin was still pulling off 15-20 yards of line to stop the progress.

Chris was finally able to crank his fish to double line, with John getting a little more aggressive with it, pulling it to leader a couple of minutes later. It came up on the starboard side and stayed right there. John wrestled with the marlin for 2-3 minutes at leader with it pulling hard, not wanting to come up.

John choked up on the leader, taking double wraps, finally getting it within gaff range. Josh stuck the first gaff, with John following it up to secure their catch. This was John’s biggest marlin as deckman.

Two days later, Chris and Dodge went back out aboard the Start Me Up La Dat with Hammond and Verfurth, with Dodge releasing an estimated 100-pound blue marlin.

Josh was a quarter-of-a-mile north of the “Hui” Buoy located southwest off the Palaoa Point Lighthouse, Lanai, in 250 fathoms working some bait schools. He went on the up-current side of the buoy and started making some passes around the area. On the fifth pass by the buoy, they had a bite on the short corner lure.

As John was clearing lines, they had another blue marlin take the long rigger lure. It made 3-4 jumps before pulling hooks. It continued to jump a few more times before disappearing.

Dodge’s marlin put on a good show, with lots of jumps and flips, going crazy inside the rigger pattern. As it got its head turned, it headed away from the boat on a 150- to 200-yard run. Once John got all the lines cleared, Josh stopped the boat and then went idle ahead the rest of the fight.

The marlin was pretty tired from all the aerial acrobatics, with Dodge cranking his fish to the boat in about 20 minutes. It came in nice and easy to leader off the starboard corner.

John leadered the fish to the side of the boat and told Dodge to get out of the chair and take a look. John got the hook out of the fish without any problem and held onto the bill as Josh took a few photos before they released the fish.