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Action starts off 2018 with a 494-pound blue marlin

By Staff | Jan 25, 2018

From left, Jonny Keiley, Kapono Brown, David Goldenberg and Jack Poindexter with their marlin.

LAHAINA – The Action started off the new year with a 494.0-pound blue marlin by Jack Poindexter and David Goldenberg. They were fishing with Capt. Jonny Keiley and deckman Kapono Brown.

They had been fishing the HS-Buoy, off the Luala’ilua Four-Hills area on the South Side of Maui, picking up six tuna weighing between 45 and 70 pounds. Jonny was heading across the Alalakeiki Channel, and was in 800 fathoms of water between Maui and Kahoolawe, when Kapono thought he saw something back in the pattern. There was plenty of wind and waves, and Kapono couldn’t be sure what he saw. Right after that, they got bit on the long corner lure.

The fish made a big hole in the water, with the line going down and out. At first, Jonny thought it was a big tuna. After abouat 20-30 seconds, a marlin surfaced behind the pattern, jumping toward the boat and going ballistic.

At that point, Jonny started to slow the boat. The marlin had about 400 yards of line out, and Jonny didn’t want to get too stretched out because the conditions were kind of rough. Kapono moved the rod from the long corner position to the center rod holder on the stern, where they fight their fish from.

David jumped on the rod as Kapono brought in the short corner. The marlin was still taking a lot of line, “smoking us pretty good,” mentioned Jonny. The marlin wasn’t that far away from them but had a big loop in the line. At that point, Jonny said, “You know what? There’s enough line deep in the water and it’s tight on the fish.”

As soon as Kapono had the short corner cleared, Jonny started to back up on the fish up-swell. Kapono reeled in the long rigger as Jack cranked in the short rigger. Kapono pushed up the drag. Jonny kept going after the marlin for about two minutes, taking waves over the transom.

Jonny slowed the boat and turned it around, going forward as he chased the fish. Kapono turned the rod toward the port corner. The marlin was sitting directly up-swell, with 15-knot winds and four-foot seas, so he had a hard time keeping up with it. As Jonny finally got on top of the fish in 3-4 minutes, it turned and took off down-swell, pulling out about 200-300 yards.

Jonny tried to reverse down-swell, but the boat kept wanting to sit sideways, so he had to turn the boat forward again. When he turned and chased the marlin down-swell, he was getting pushed on top of the fish too fast. Jack was having a hard time keeping the line tight.

To remedy the problem, Jonny would drive at the fish for a minute, and then turn away from it to keep the line tight. He made this maneuver 3-4 times over the next ten minutes, finally getting on top of it again.

At that point, they were straight up and down on the marlin, with it about 300 feet deep. Kapono pushed the drag halfway between the strike button and full, and set the reel into low gear. The last ten minutes, they started to “Portuguese pump” the line, with everyone taking turns winching the marlin upward. Jonny tried to keep a “fresh arm” on the fish at all times.

After a 35-minute battle, the marlin came up to double line done, totally spent. Kapono slowly pulled the marlin to leader through the swell and held on as Jonny got it secured. It was a group effort to haul it over the rail and into the boat.