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Local fishermen catch blue marlin from the shore in Kaanapali

By Staff | Oct 26, 2017

Joshua (left) and Robert Malacas with their marlin caught off the beach in Kaanapali. PHOTO BY DONNELL TATE.

KAANAPALI – During my 40 years fishing on Maui, I have never heard such a “fish story,” and I would relate it to the top two or three “Believe It or Not!” tales of my writing career.

I got a call about 7:45 p.m. Saturday night from one of the charter boat deckhands in the harbor, telling me that the maintenance crew from Atlantis Submarines had called him about somebody that wanted to weigh a 500- to 600-pound marlin. Since he knew I had a digital scale, I told him I would head to the harbor and check things out.

As I got to the harbor, I went to the loading dock expecting to find a boat there. With no boat except Expeditions sitting on the south side of the loading dock, I heard the Atlantis crew shouting to me, “It’s the white truck by the restrooms.”

When I got to the truck, I noticed the tail of an estimated 400-pound marlin sticking out the tailgate. There was a group of people sitting by the truck talking story. I mentioned it was a nice fish, with somebody saying that they were waiting for someone to come down to weigh their fish. I said, “Here I am.”

I told them to drive around to the loading dock, where we could pull it out of the truck and onto my scale. I was introduced to Joshua and Robert Malacas, with Joshua as the angler. When I asked them what boat they caught their marlin on, they told me that they caught it off the beach in Kaanapali.

At first I found that hard to believe, but after looking at the video, it was true. When we finally got the fish weighed, it came in at 433.8 pounds. A large group of people had shown up, some hearing about the catch by “Coconut Wireless,” and some off one of the dinner cruise boats.

As I started my interview with Joshua and Robert, Robert said he had finished work at 3:30 p.m. and was going to Launiupoko to do some landscaping. However, because of the traffic, he decided to just go home. Joshua called him up as he was leaving Kaanapali and asked him to go fishing with him. Robert hadn’t been fishing with him in a while, and for some reason, he told Joshua, “Let’s go.”

Joshua said, “I’ll meet you at the house,” and picked him up a few minutes later.

They headed to the old Sheraton Pier jetty located on the north side of Black Rock, Kaanapali. Robert just happened to bring his throw net with him. They were going to fish for ulua, papio and anything else.

It was about 4:30 p.m. when they walked out to the end of the jetty. Joshua baited a Penn Spinfisher 8500 spinning rod and 50-pound test line with a chunk of ika. He cast the bait off the right side of the jetty and set it into an ulua rod holder that was there.

Joshua started whipping with his smaller pole, when all of a sudden, within five minutes, he heard the spinning rod screaming off line. He dropped the smaller rod and pulled the spinning rod out of the holder.

The fish was pulling hard to the right. Joshua didn’t know what he had and thought, “Oh shoots!” He just held on as the fish took off. He mentioned that he was lucky the drag wasn’t tight, because either he would have been pulled off the jetty, lost the rod or the line would have snapped.

As Joshua looked toward the beach, he saw something splashing in the surf. He shouted to his dad, “I don’t know what that is.” There were big waves crashing on the beach, with what looked like a marlin thrashing around. It had surfed straight up the beach like a torpedo, getting stuck in the sand.

When Robert saw the marlin on the beach, he ran down the pier with his net over his shoulder. He somehow jumped a fence at the end and continued down the jetty path to the rocks, scrambling down the rocks to the beach. He mentioned, “Everything was happening real fast.”

Robert ran over and tossed the net over the thrashing marlin, making sure he got the tail and bill covered, so the fish wouldn’t get washed back into the surf. Joshua was close behind, grabbing the bill, as he and Robert started pulling the fish out of the surf and up the beach.

Some people that just happened to be walking on the beach and saw the commotion came over and helped pull the marlin up the beach to the edge of the shore. Robert said, “If he didn’t have the net, I would guarantee you the bugga would be gone.”

Robert had a friend that was staying at the Royal Lahaina Resort that had a golf cart and called him up. They tied some rope around the marlin, with it taking four guys to help them haul the marlin up the shoreline cliff to the walking path.

Robert’s friend showed up with the cart. They tied it to the cart, and then they all helped to drag the marlin across the Royal Kaanapali Golf Course to Kekaa Drive where the truck was parked. The next problem was getting it into the bed of the truck, with everybody helping to haul it in.

I figured that the marlin was chasing bait that was around Black Rock and the Sheraton Pier. It got caught up in the big surf and swell and didn’t realize it was in that shallow of water until it was too late.

I talked to a couple of longtime fishermen who grew up on Maui, and as far as I have been able to find out, this is the first blue marlin ever caught from the shore on Maui. It is also the sixth largest marlin for the harbor this year.