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Action joins 500-pound marlin club

By Staff | Oct 19, 2017

From left, Jeff McDonald, Capt. Jonny Keiley and deckman Pono Brown with their 595.4-pound marlin caught on Action. PHOTO BY DONNELL TATE.

LAHAINA – Finally, after 105 days, the Lahaina Harbor sportfishing fleet weighed a blue marlin over 400 pounds.

It was also 85 days since a blue was weighed over 300 pounds.

The Action joined the 500-pound marlin club with a nice-looking 595.4-pound blue by Jeff McDonald. He was fishing with Capt. Jonny Keiley and deckman Pono Brown.

They were coming in from fishing the FAD buoys off the southwest corner of Lanai and were on the 200-fathom ledge off Black Manele.

Pono saw a fish on the long corner position and shouted out, “On the Koya!” He could see the dorsal fin slicing through the surface as it whacked the lure. A few seconds later, it came back in and grabbed it.

It didn’t look that big – maybe 200 pounds – made a small splash and then took off straight away from the boat. They only had four lures out, with Pono getting the rest of the pattern cleared quickly. They put the rod into the port corner holder.

Jonny put the boat in reverse as he chased after the line. The marlin turned up the port side about 100 yards away, getting up in front of the boat. The line went slack as Jonny followed the loop, coming around on the fish as he got the loop out and the line tight. The marlin had out around 300-400 yards on them.

Jonny aggressively got on the fish in about ten minutes. He continued to chase after it for another five minutes, trying to cut off its run. When he finally got on top of the fish, it was right below the boat, making tight circles. It seemed really mad, shaking its head as it pulled short zips of line.

Pono pushed up the drag. The marlin was 10-12 feet below the boat, continuing to make tight circles off the stern. Jonny knew the fish was getting tired and was starting to come with the boat. He saw a remora come off the marlin and swim in the opposite direction.

Suddenly, the marlin went straight down on a death dive. Jonny put the boat into neutral, came off the helm and pushed up the drag. He kept inching up the drag until it was just below full. He thumbed the spool to slow the line loss. When he finally got the fish stopped, he pushed up the drag to full pressure on the 130-test line.

With no movement from the marlin, Jonny knew that was it – the fish was dead. It was about 100 yards deep straight down off the stern. At that point, Jonny put the reel in low gear and cautiously began to “Portuguese Pump” the fish upward for the next 30 minutes.

The marlin came up to double line right off the stern. As Pono pulled it to leader, they noticed that it was coming up backward and tail-wrapped. It was pretty much dead.

They got it secured and hauled it over the rail. This marlin is the second largest blue of the year so far.

For catching a marlin over 500 pounds, Start Me Up Sportfishing gave Jeff his trip for free. They also donated $300 to the Pacific Cancer Foundation as part of their charity donation program for a marlin caught over 500 pounds on one of their boats.