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Start Me Up Too deckman ‘flies the kite’ with 454.5-pound marlin

By Staff | Oct 27, 2016

From left, Tim Stephens, Capt. John Burke and deckman Luke Dye with their 454.5-pound marlin caught on Start Me Up Too.

LAHAINA – The Start Me Up Too brought in a nice blue marlin weighing 454.5 pounds by Tim Stephens. He was fishing with Capt. John Burke and deckman Luke Dye.

John was working the 100-fathom ledge off Olowalu, about three miles Lanai side of the LA-Buoy marks. He was talking to one of the other boats in the area, and they mentioned to him that maybe he should put out a Purple Softhead lure. No sooner had he hung up his phone then they got a strike on the short rigger position. John asked Luke what lure was on the short rigger, and he said, “Purple Softhead.”

The marlin only pulled off about 100 yards of 100-test line before jumping a couple of times, and then it started shaking its head, “windshield wiping” its bill, but not going too crazy. It turned out toward the port side, pulling another 200-plus yards, but never got into the Dacron backing.

John started reversing the boat after the marlin fairly aggressively as it stayed on the surface. Luke pushed up the drag lever to the strike button, with them gaining over 300 yards over the next 20 minutes, getting the fish within 100 yards and still on the surface.

About 15 minutes later, they had the marlin just outside double line range as it came around the starboard side, just under the surface. That’s when they saw how big it was. John had the boat idle reverse after it, gaining more line. The marlin had a different plan, digging in as it pulled off 100 yards straight down.

Luke pushed up the drag lever past the button to at least 35 pounds of pressure. With a little more “heat” on the marlin, John was able to bump the engines two reverse, one reverse, just keeping the fish a couple feet off the transom. The marlin was still able to pull short jerks of line as it tried to dig away. They were running into a bit of a stalemate.

John told Luke to get Tim ready to plane the fish. John idled the boat forward to get an angle on the fish and pull its head up, and then reversed quickly back on it, with Luke telling Tim to crank, crank, crank. They repeated this process over and over for the next 30 minutes, gaining a little line each time. John wanted to keep pressure on the marlin and get it up.

They finally had the fish to double line. As it came up to leader, it was all lit-up electric blue. Luke grabbed the leader and started to pull it up. He was taking single wraps at first, then double wraps, as he felt the marlin starting to rise.

The bill came up, and then the head, followed by over half the body as it broke through the surface. It was like a ballistic missile jumping straight up, mentioned John. It was a perfect photo cover shot. Luke was “flying the kite” at leader.

Luke dumped the leader on one hand but held on with the other until the marlin finally settled back into the water. He grabbed the leader with both hands and took wraps as the fish started swimming right along the port side, pulling it to the boat. John left the helm to secure their catch.

The marlin was crazy at leader, mentioned Luke. There’s nothing quite like “flying the kite.” This was only Luke’s second blue marlin and biggest so far.