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Start Me Up Das It lands another record-sized yellowfin

By Staff | Jul 5, 2018

From left, Capt. Ross Elkins, Bill Campbell and Deckman Shawn Carter with their 181.2-pound yellowfin ahi.

LAHAINA – Just one day after a record-sized 181.6-pound yellowfin ahi was weighed, the Start Me Up Das It brought in a 181.2-pound fish. What are the odds of that? Angler Bill Campbell was fishing with Capt. Ross Elkins and Deckman Shawn Carter.

The game plan was to put out a spread of ahi lures and make a pass by the HS-Buoy sitting in 650 fathoms six miles southeast off Halona Point, Kahoolawe. There had been trolling strikes for the past few days, either leaving the buoy or coming up to the JJ-Buoy off the south side of Kahoolawe. About halfway between the buoys, they had a strike on the long gone lure.

As soon as they got the bite, they knew what they had. The line stayed straight down the pattern as the rod bowed over in the rod holder. The fish made one good run of 300-400 yards of 100-test line before it sounded.

They knew it was a nice ahi as it headed for the depths and started to slow its run. Shawn started clearing lines as Ross began to reverse the boat up-swell after the fish, trying to get on top of it. He got on the ahi pretty fast, taking a couple of big waves over the stern and getting everybody wet.

As soon as Ross got straight up and down on the ahi, he idled the boat forward, staying with the six- to eight-foot swell. Shawn started to coach Bill, trying to get him in a rhythm of dropping and reeling on the down swell.

Bill got worn out pretty quick and wanted to get out of the chair, but Shawn made him stay there. He told him that this was his fish, and nobody else was going to catch it but him. Shawn got his attention back in the game and not on the pain.

Shawn had the drag lever at the button. It was a slow tug of war, with Bill gaining some line but the ahi taking short, five-yard zips when it wanted. About five minutes later, Shawn pushed the drag past the button. Another couple of minutes, he pushed the drag almost to sunset, finally stopping the fish.

Bill reached a stalemate where the ahi wasn’t taking any line, but Bill wasn’t gaining any. Shawn tried changing gears on the reel, but it didn’t seem to make much difference.

Shawn had to get Bill back into dropping and reeling. He wanted Bill to “feel the boat” in the swell. When the boat goes down, then you should drop the rod and crank.

Shawn had to remind him, “If you’re going to drop the rod, turn the handle. If you’re not going to turn the handle, don’t drop the rod.”

Bill was getting half-a-crank each time. Little by little, he inched the ahi up. Once they got the fish close enough, it started swimming with the boat off the starboard side, down swell and down wind.

They finally got the ahi to double line and deep color. Bill got excited and started to really pump the rod the last few yards. Shawn was able to grab the leader off the starboard side, with the ahi swimming smoothly with the boat.

It took Shawn a minute to get the fish where he wanted it. Its head was so big, so he placed a gaff shot into the upper shoulder. Once he realized how big the ahi was, he immediately yelled to Ross, “Come down here and get a second gaff in it. There is no way I can pull it over the rail.”

They brought it back to the stern, popped open the door and slid it in.

This 181.2-pound “Toad” Allison yellowfin ate a one-inch jet head with four-inch long skirts rigged with a single 5.0 hook. It was just four-tenths-of-a-pound difference, taking the second place spot in the ahi stats so far this year.