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Several anglers battle stubborn marlin on Luckey Strike II

By Staff | Dec 1, 2016

Deckman Sam Kalua (left) and Capt. Brad Coombs with their 385.6-pound marlin caught on Luckey Strike II. PHOTO BY DONNELL TATE.

LAHAINA – The Luckey Strike II picked up a nice early morning blue marlin weighing 385.6 pounds. Capt. Brad Coombs was at the helm with deckman Sam Kalua. Brad was heading to the Palaoa Point Lighthouse on the southwest corner of Lanai. He was about an hour from the harbor when they got a bite in 55 fathoms outside “Papio’s.”

The long corner line got knocked down off the rigger, getting everybody’s attention. About five seconds later, the long rigger line came down hard. Nobody saw anything, as something took the Elkins Bambucha Junior Popsicle lure on a slow run away from the boat.

At first, they thought that they might have hooked a net or some trash. The bites were like a billfish strike, but nothing was showing on the surface. The 80-class line casually rolled of the reel as Brad came off the helm to help Sam clear the remaining lines.

Brad slowly reversed after the line, with them still not knowing what they had. It was about 30 minutes into the fight before the fish realized it was hooked. It surfaced about 300 yards away, showing its head and bill, and then disappeared. The marlin didn’t put on much of a show, acting like it wasn’t even hooked.

The marlin stayed on the surface as Brad kept reversing on the fish, as different anglers tried to gain some line. Sam had the drag setting almost to the strike button, with the marlin still pulling off line. It was back and forth, give and take, with them getting it close several times and the fish taking the line back out 50 yards each time. It finally headed deep 30 minutes later, but with them in 50 fathoms of water, it couldn’t go far.

Forty-five minutes into the fight, Sam got into the chair for 10-15 minutes to give the other anglers a break. For the next hour, it was an up and down, back and forth tug of war, with all the anglers taking another turn. The rubber band was on and off the reel 4-5 times, with the marlin pulling it back out 50-plus yards. It was a frustrating stalemate, almost like it was foul- hooked. This fish didn’t want to come up.

They finally got the fish close. The marlin was lit-up as it came to double line behind the boat. For the next half hour, the fish dug in and continued to swim back and forth across the stern. Brad kept asking Sam where the marlin was, watching the rod being pulled from one side to the other.

Brad watched the double line come up toward the rod tip, 20 feet from leader, with the marlin tugging off more line 4-5 times. Several anglers tried to keep up the fight as Brad kept the boat idled ahead.

The last 15 minutes, Sam got back into the chair. He was cranking line up and down several times at leader, keeping it tight, as Brad maneuvered the boat on the fish. Brad finally told Sam to get out of the chair to leader the fish. Sam grabbed the leader and pulled the marlin around and up the port side. Brad got a securing gaff into the fish to end the fight.