homepage logo

A record marlin for Lahaina Harbor

By Staff | Dec 13, 2018

April 8th started off as a normal fishing charter for Capt. Tom Casey and his deckman, Curt Peterson. They had a full day private charter on the Exact and were going out to work the “Factory” area just outside Olowalu to see if they could raise a marlin that had been coming into the area.

The charter that day was Jim and Irene Poquette from Long Island, New York. It was Irene’s birthday, and she wanted to catch mahi; Jim wanted to give it another try for a marlin. Early in the morning, they snagged a nice 20-pound mahi for Irene, and about 20 minutes later, they hooked up to an estimated 150-pound marlin, but it spit the hooks.

They continued to work the area for the remainder of the day with no more strikes. The weather started to pick up and get choppy, so they decided to head back toward Lahaina. As they were trolling home, at about 15 knots, the long outrigger, rigged with a Steve Elkins blue-back Popsicle lure, came down hard and started singing out line.

Things started to happen fast. Jim was positioned in the chair, and the fight began. The marlin kept burning out line while putting on a nice show, tail-walking and greyhounding about 600 yards behind the boat. The first estimates were called at 350 pounds.

During the first half hour of the fight, Tom just kept backing down on the fish, trying to keep up on the line being taken out. Finally, the marlin began to tire and they were able to regain line. An hour-and-a-half passed before they finally saw the swivel.

As the marlin neared the boat, the adrenalin was flowing as the gaffs were readied. They knew they had a big fish hooked up. Tom leadered as Curt gaffed the fish to finally secure it. The marlin looked big, but Tom and Curt were only calling it 500-plus.

They tried to haul the marlin over the stern, but the fish just wouldn’t budge. The block and tackle was set up to help with the problem, but they still couldn’t haul the fish in. Now they began to think it was bigger than they had imagined.

So, the marlin was tied off to the stern of the boat and towed into Lahaina Harbor. The news of the fish spread throughout the harbor. There was quite a reception for them when they finally got to the dock.

The marlin was hoisted up on the scale, but it wouldn’t fit because of its length of 14 feet, so it was positioned off the dock, over the water, to get an official weigh. When it was finally weighed, the scale read 875 pounds.

A loud cheer went out for Capt. Casey and Deckman Peterson. Both Tom and Curt were totally surprised at the final weight. It was the biggest marlin most people had ever seen at the scales in Lahaina, and only a few had seen bigger.

It had been 13 years, almost to the day, since Lahaina Harbor had seen its largest marlin. That marlin was caught aboard the Judy Ann, with Capt. Rick Bodinus and Deckman Warren Lindsay, on April 12 1972, weighing 960 pounds unofficially. That marlin was weighed at the Pioneer Mill scales, on a flatbed truck, because the harbor didn’t have a scale that went that high. Back then, the scale at the loading dock was a balance beam scale using counter-weights to come up with a weight.

The final stats on Lahaina Harbor’s second largest marlin were: April 8, 1985; 875-pound Pacific Blue marlin; length 14 feet; girth six feet; angling time 90 minutes; 100-test line; Steve Elkins blue-back popsicle lure; aboard the Exact, with Capt. Tom Casey and Deckman Curt Peterson, angled by Jim Poquette.

It would be over four years before Lahaina Harbor would see a bigger marlin. That fish weighed 890 pounds aboard the Mano Kela with Capt. Denny Putnam and Deckman Sal Tarantino.