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Hinatea lands largest marlin for Lahaina Harbor since 2015

By Staff | May 24, 2018

From left, Garett Monsen, Capt. Greg France and deckman Chris Canaiy with their 753.5-pound marlin caught on Hinatea. PHOTO BY DONNELL TATE.

LAHAINA – The Hinatea moved to the top of the blue marlin stats, and into the 700-pound club, with a 753.5-pound fish by Garett Monsen. He was fishing with Capt. Greg France and Deckman Chris Canaiy.

Greg made the ono run to the Palaoa Point Lighthouse off the southwest corner of Lanai, picking up one there. He then headed out to the K-Buoy looking for a marlin. After working the area for a while, he headed back in toward the “small” slides.

Chris started switching out the pattern for ono. He just had the short side left when they got a strike on the short corner lure on the second wave.

“It wasn’t a mean run,” mentioned Greg, “just a slow, steady pull.” The fish never jumped on its initial run, never taking more than 200 yards of 100 test line or getting them into the Dacron backing.

The marlin didn’t seem to know it was hooked. It ran out off the port side, with Greg having to spin the boat 180 degrees after it. There was a really good bend in the rod as Greg got pretty aggressive on the helm, trying to keep the marlin close and get as much line back as possible.

They didn’t see the fish until about ten minutes into the fight, when it finally came up jumping around 200 yards away. That’s when they knew they had a big fish hooked.

“The fish started fighting pretty funny,” mentioned Chris.

The fish stayed on the surface the first 20 minutes as Greg continued to reverse after the marlin. It was give and take, with the fish pulling off 50 yards and then stopping or changing directions. Greg was right back after it, with Garett regaining the 50 yards they had lost.

“It was a back and forth effort,” mentioned Greg.

The marlin slowed down as the angle of the line changed as it started to dive. About ten minutes later, Greg was able to get up on the fish. They had it straight up and down off the stern in the flat, calm water.

With Greg right up on top of the fish, they had about 75 yards of line to go. The line started to slowly roll off the spool as the marlin sank under its dead weight. Greg said, “I don’t think this thing’s swimming any more.”

With no movement from the marlin, it had about 150 yards out when they figured it was dead. With the line pinging off the spool, it continued to sink another 50 yards before Chris pushed up the drag lever over the button, finally stopping the line loss.

Chris had as much drag pressure on the fish as he could put before he began to hand-line the marlin. He started to hand-over-hand pull it up off the stern as Garett cranked in the line. Greg was watching which way the current was going and what the fish was doing.

After five or ten minutes, Greg came off the helm and began to “Portuguese pull” line on the reel, as Chris continued to hand-line the fish upward and Garett cranked in line. They switched off over the next 30 minutes, gaining 150 yards. One person was always holding the line to keep it from rolling off the spool.

Once they got the marlin about 50 yards away, the three of them got a rhythm going and momentum, as it started to come up a little easier. The last 50 feet, they finally saw deep color. Right as they saw the fish, they spotted an estimated 12- to 14-foot tiger shark right on it.

The tiger was right there near the surface, swimming back and forth, stalking the marlin about ten feet away. Chris leaned over the rail, hand-lining the marlin upward a little faster. The marlin came up right under the boat off the stern, tail-wrapped, backwards and dead.

As Chris grabbed leader, he thought, “It’s not getting this fish.” He had the marlin pinned up behind the boat, with the tiger right there. He was about ready to start throwing things at the shark to scare it away.

Chris and Greg made everything happen really quick. Chris got the stern door open as Greg got the marlin secured. With two fly-gaffs in it, they had the rest of the charters help to quickly pull it aboard before the shark got it.

It was an easy one for a 750, taking about an hour, mentioned Greg. This is the largest marlin for Lahaina Harbor since 2015. It is also the largest for Chris, with Greg’s previous largest a 690-pounder back in 2003.