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Couple catches second largest marlin of the year

By Staff | Dec 14, 2017

Patty Souza and Capt. Dennis Blevins with their 687.5-pound blue marlin. PHOTO BY DONNELL TATE.

LAHAINA – Capt. Dennis Blevins, of Puff Daddy fame, joined the 600-pound marlin club, with Dennis and his girlfriend, Patty Sousa, weighing a 687.5-pound blue marlin.

He was moving his new boat, Imiola, from the harbor to Mala, where he was going to put it on his trailer. As they left the harbor, Patty looked at Dennis and mentioned, “Let’s put some lures out.”

As Dennis set out a couple of lures, Patty asked, “Where should we go?” Dennis replied, “Just take us to a fish.”

Patty headed the boat south down the coast. She was watching the depth recorder when she spotted a bump coming up off the bottom about two miles offshore between Puamana and Launiupoko. She took a picture of the recorder for a future bottom fishing spot. Right at that point, they got a strike.

Dennis was down below in the forepeak when he heard the engine shut down. Listening, he heard some whining, thinking at first that something was wrong with the motor.

Dennis came out onto the deck and realized that the center rod was bent over, with the reel screaming out the 130-class line. He looked out to see a marlin freight training across the surface 100 yards away from the boat. It was tearing up the water, jumping all over the place, getting airborne several times.

Patty turned the boat toward the marlin to chase it down. The fish had the 14.0 class reel down on the spool, with Dennis getting a little nervous about getting spooled. As Patty headed toward the marlin, it came out of the water freight training toward them.

Dennis told Patty to turn the boat and run away from it to get the line tight. As she headed away from the fish, Dennis was gathering in line as fast as he could. All of a sudden, the line went slack. They thought they had lost the fish. As Dennis continued cranking the line back on the spool, he felt a jerk on the line. He shouted, “Oh, we’re still on.”

Dennis started fighting the marlin from the center rod holder. Patty had the boat neutral to idle ahead, in and out of gear, trying to keep the fish on the starboard corner. Dennis told her to just let the fish circle and let it get tired.

Midway through the fight, as Dennis gained on the fish, he felt a little less pressure from the marlin. This was his chance to move the rod to the starboard corner holder.

Dennis had the fish to double line in about an hour-and-a-half. The marlin was straight up and down off the stern. They could see the marlin below swimming back and forth away from the boat. It decided to take off on a 30- to 40-yard run and then stopped. As Dennis cranked it back to double line, about ten minutes later, it came up toward the surface.

Patty kept the boat idled ahead to keep it straight and the fish from going under the stern. Each time Dennis got the marlin to double line, it would be spooked by the boat, dig down and run straight out 20 yards and stop.

It was a tug of war for Dennis. Each run from double line was shorter and easier to crank it back in. It was just a matter of waiting it out. The line got close to the boat one time, with Patty throttling the boat forward to get away from it.

As Dennis cranked the marlin to the starboard corner, he was finally able to grab the leader. The marlin put its head down and dug in. Dennis couldn’t hold on and had to let it go as it took off one more time.

The next time to leader, the fish came up swimming with the boat. Dennis reached out and grabbed the line, easing it to the boat. He tried to float it to the starboard side, but the fish got stuck behind the transom because of its size and weight.

Dennis was finally able to pull it around the starboard corner. This was Patty’s first time using a fly-gaff. “She stuck ’em good,” mentioned Dennis. There was no movement from the marlin – it was done.

The next problem was trying to get the fish into the boat. The two of them could only get the head in the door, but the girthy body wouldn’t fit. They tied the head off, with most of the fish hanging out the stern, as they towed it back to the harbor.

Their blue marlin is the second largest fish so far this year and the largest for both Dennis and Patty. This fish had a jaw to fork short length of 10.5 feet, with a 31.5-inch half-shoulder girth and an impressive 18-inch caudle.