Jun Ken Po joins 2018’s top billfish stats
LAHAINA – The Jun Ken Po joined the top billfish stats with a 465.8-pound blue by Dan Yorke on the first day of spring. He was fishing with Capt. Chris Cole and Deckman John French.
Chris headed out to the K-Buoy located off the southwest corner of the Palaoa Point Lighthouse, Lanai. With most of the marlin bites coming up in shallower waters, Chris turned the boat back toward the light. They were in 100 fathoms off the light when they spotted white boobies diving down after the malolo flying up ahead.
As they got closer to the action, they had a bite on the long rigger position, pulling a Steve Elkins Jr. Popsicle lure. It was a weird strike, mentioned Chris. It wasn’t taking a lot of line, with the line just trickling off the 130 class reel. At first they thought it might have been a mahi.
Dan wasn’t in the chair yet, so John just left the long rigger rod in the chair and started clearing the long corner position. They still didn’t realize they had a nice fish hooked. About 30-40 seconds later, the marlin woke up.
The marlin took off as John got Dan into the chair and handed him the rod. It ran out 100 yards in a matter of seconds before it broke the surface. It then began windshield-wiping its bill, slashing it from side to side. They saw its head and hump and knew it was a 400-plus.
The marlin started tail-walking back and forth all across the surface in a wall of whitewater. It then turned and ran out another 200-300 yards, jumping every 100 yards. Chris had the boat in hard reverse, being really aggressive after the fish for about ten minutes and not letting it take any more line.
Once the marlin settled down a bit, Chris turned the boat to port and chased after the fish, gaining 100 yards on it. He was able to cut off its angle and then spun the boat and backed down on it, getting up on top of it. As the fish swam away, Chris cut the marlin off on the starboard side, getting on top of it again.
The fish was stubborn, digging down, swimming away and taking more line. Chris maneuvered the boat after the fish, turning to get a different angle on the port side. He started to plane the marlin upward, back and forth, for about five minutes.
The marlin made another run of around 150 yards. They had the fish up to the rubber band in about 15 minutes. It kept swimming away from them, pulling off 20-yard spurts, with Dan gaining it right back.
This give-and-take/tug of war went on for at least ten minutes, with the rubber band on and off the spool four times. Every time they lost the rubber band off the spool, and got the fish stopped, Chris told John to give the drag lever one more click. John never had to go to the button, with 30 pounds of pressure on the line.
The first time John got color, he looked straight down over the stern. The marlin was still swimming away with both peck fins out and all lit up bright blue. On its last short run, the marlin seemed to give up. They were able to get the fish turned and swimming with the boat, with the rubber band back on the spool for good.
They had the marlin off the starboard corner, with it showing full color along its side. Once the double line came up, John grabbed the leader and locked it up in the corner. The marlin tried to go to port, but John beat it to the corner and took a couple of wraps. As the fish tried to turn back across the stern, John sidestepped and cut it off on the port corner, taking another wrap.
The marlin came right up. It was over. John held the leader as Chris got their fish secured.