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Start Me Up Too lands year’s first 500-pounder

By Staff | Mar 29, 2018

From left, Deckman Dave Bergman, Winston Thomas, Zac Pew, Jeff Rosander and Capt. John Burke with their 509.2-pound marlin caught on Start Me Up Too.

LAHAINA – The first 500-pounder of the year made it to the scales, with the Start Me Up Too weighing a 509.2-pound fish by anglers Winston Thomas (age 13), Jeff Rosander and Zac Pew. They were fishing with Capt. John Burke and Deckman Dave Bergman.

John was heading toward Lanai, with Dave just setting up the lure pattern, as they passed Kamaiki Point. They were between Manele Bay and the Palaoa Point Lighthouse – about six miles out, in the K2 Buoy area – when they had their bite.

The marlin hit the short rigger lure and went ballistic. It came charging straight for the boat, with John throttling the boat full ahead for a few seconds to widen the distance and keep the line tight. At one point, when the reel went silent, they thought they had lost the fish. As Dave cranked on the reel, John kept the boat full ahead. Dave motioned to him that the fish was still there.

The marlin then turned and took off on a wild run, ripping the 130-test line (with 27 pounds of drag on the reel) with ease. It was like it had only 20 pounds of drag on the reel, mentioned John.

As John reversed after the marlin, Dave had just cleared the short corner position when the fish reappeared 100 yards off their port side. It continued to pull line as it headed down. The marlin dragged off 400 yards of line, into the Dacron backing, before it finally stopped.

They were in a stalemate for about ten minutes before the fish started to come up. Once it surfaced, it started to jump around, going off into the distance off the port side of the boat. John had the boat in hard reverse maneuvering after the marlin for at least 20 minutes in really rough water, but he couldn’t seem to stop the fish.

As John worked the rough water and the fish, he decided to turn the boat around and chase forward after it. He had to get up in front of it and change the angle. With the line coming off the rod, almost up to the port outrigger, John had Dave pull the outrigger up and out of the way.

As John motored the boat ahead, they began to slow the run but couldn’t gain any line. Once John got a better angle on the marlin, that’s when the line started to come up in a different direction. John spun the boat back around and reversed on it, trying to gain some line and get the fish in.

John made this turn and chase maneuver four times over the next ten minutes. They gained very little line but got the Dacron back on the spool. Dave pushed up the drag lever over the button to full.

Once John finally got up in front of the marlin, it seemed to slow down its run, and they were at last able to gain some steady line. They had the fish close to double line in about 30 minutes, with the rubber band on the spool.

The marlin was deep, starting to show color, as it slowly came up to double line. Dave didn’t grab the double line, worried it might make another run. The fish just laid over for Dave, all “bronzed out.”

As Dave grabbed the leader, the marlin swam him over to the starboard side and then back to port. He didn’t take any wraps but hand-over-hand pulled it up, with John getting it secured.

For catching a marlin over 500 pounds, Start Me Up Sportfishing gave them their trip for free. They also donated $300 to Habitat for Humanity Maui as part of their charity donation program for a marlin caught over 500 pounds on one of their boats.