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Exact II lands 160.9-pound yellowfin ahi

By Staff | Aug 17, 2017

From left, deckman Chris Mullikin, Colt Thomas, Sam Bagby and Capt. Jeremy Webb with their 160.9-pound yellowfin ahi. PHOTO BY DONNELL TATE.

LAHAINA – The Exact II caught a nice yellowfin ahi weighing 160.9 pounds for anglers Colt Thomas and Sam Bagby. They were fishing with Capt. Jeremy Webb and deckman Chris Mullikin.

Jeremy headed out of the harbor toward the LA Buoy marks off Olowalu on their way to the Kahoolawe Shoals. Jeremy saw a couple of boats up ahead trolling the 100-fathom ledge, Lanai side of the shoals, where some birds were working a bait school.

The two boats were leaving the area just as Jeremy got to the spot. Before he got to the point of the shoals, the long gone center rod went Richter.

The 80-class reel started screaming out the 100-test line in a hurry. Jeremy was expecting to see a marlin jumping, but nothing was in sight. The fish stayed up on the surface but never jumped.

Once Chris got the pattern cleared, Jeremy started to reverse after the fish, which was about 500 yards in the distance. Colt was in the chair first. The fish started to go down, but they still had an angle on it. At this point, Jeremy was thinking that this wasn’t a marlin anymore. Enough line had come off the spool without seeing any jumps or whitewater – nothing.

Jeremy assumed that it must be a tuna. As he continued to reverse after it, the angle on the line was slowly going down. Jeremy got up and down on the fish in about 25 minutes, with it around 200-plus yards deep.

During the next 15 minutes, Colt had the fish to within 60 yards three different times, with it running out 100 yards each time it neared the boat. Jeremy got one deep-water flash of the fish, and that was it.

Colt was starting to tire and wanted to switch out with Sam, even though he was gaining line. Jeremy told him to hang in there. They had the fish almost to double line several times but couldn’t get it on the reel.

They finally had it to double in about 45 minutes. The tuna didn’t like what it saw and took off on another 100-yard run straight down. At that point, they were able to switch out anglers, with Sam taking over.

Once Sam was on it, with a fresh set of arms, he was able to get into a rhythm with some good drop and cranks to pull the tuna up. He gained steady line the last 20 minutes.

As it neared the boat, the spiraling got tighter. Jeremy had the boat in neutral, letting Sam work the tuna, playing a yo-yo/give and take, gaining some line as it came up then losing a little on each spin down.

Jeremy was doing some pretty good spins with the boat near the end, keeping the fish where it needed to be. The tuna seemed to tire with each spiral.

As the fish came up on the starboard side, Jeremy had to throttle up and kick the stern around to get the tuna behind them. It made 4-5 more tight spins, and a couple of digs, with Jeremy telling Sam to “crank, crank, crank!” When it came up to double line off the port side, it went out and around off the stern toward the starboard side.

The tuna came up pretty easy for Sam, with no problems at leader for Chris. Once to leader, it seemed to give up. Chris didn’t even have to take wraps on it. As he walked the tuna across the stern, Jeremy was just leaving the helm. The second he got to the corner, the ahi was right there.

Jeremy secured it under the chin with a big stick gaff, with Chris following it up with a second one to the tail. Then it was one-two-three, heave it over the rail. This is the second largest yellowfin ahi of the year-to-date for Lahaina Harbor.