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Top blue marlin at Lahaina Harbor in 2018

By Staff | Jan 10, 2019

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 finished with the top blue marlin for 2018, 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 was headed back in from the K-Buoy, toward the “small slides” just north of the Palaoa Point Lighthouse, Lanai. They were in 150 fathoms when they got a strike on the Laseration Kraken lure on the second wave, short corner position. They were using 100-test line, taking them an hour to land the fish.

The only problem they had was the last 50 feet. When 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, handlining the marlin upward a little faster. The marlin came up right under the boat off the stern, tailwrapped backwards and dead.

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.

The first 500-pounder of the year made it to the scales in March, with the Start Me Up Too weighing a 509.2-pound fish with 13-year-old angler Winston Thomas, 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 on 130-test line, taking them 50 minutes to land the fish.

The Start Me Up Too put another 500-pound marlin into the Top Stats, besting their previous top blue of 509.2 pounds just a month earlier, with a 582.4-pounder by Eric Blake. He was fishing with Capt. John Burke and Deckman Dave Bergman.

They were in the middle of the Kealaikahiki Channel, between Lanai and Kahoolawe, getting a strike on the short corner Steve Elkins “Stinger” lure, taking them 45 minutes using 130-test line.

The Start Me Up made the 500-pound marlin club with a 563.4-pound blue by Gary McCartney. He was fishing with Capt. Timster Putnam and Deckman Matt Hoff.

They were headed to the HS-Buoy, located between the south corner of Maui and Kahoolawe, to fish for the ahi that were hanging out in the area. They were about a mile from the buoy, getting their bite behind the short corner lure. It only took them 18 minutes, on 130-test line, to land the marlin, the shortest fight time of the year.

There were six blue marlin in the 400-pound range during the year. The Action started the new year with a 494.0-pound blue marlin by Jack Poindexter and David Goldenberg. They were fishing with Capt. Jonny Keiley and Deckman Kapono Brown.

The Reel Hooker joined the Top Marlin Stats, just two-tenths-of-a-pound away, with a 493.8-pound fish by 18-year-old John Ivan. He was fishing with his dad, John; Capt. Ryno Fiedorowicz; and Deckman Jeff Tesiny.

The Jun Ken Po made the Top Marlin 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.

The Start Me Up Again placed a marlin into the Top Marlin Stats, with a 462.4-pound blue by 17-year-old David McGreal. He was fishing with Capt. Jukka Hyytia and rookie deckman Summer Smith.

The largest marlin over 380 pounds in over four months was weighed by the Start Me Up Too by Capt. Denny Putnam and rookie Deckman Josh Verfurth at 451.0 pounds.

The Die Hard 2, with Capt. Jay Rifkin and Deckman Sam Thies, finished out the Top Marlin Stats with a blue weighing 418.4 pounds.

This was the third worst year for big blue marlin over 400 pounds since 1983, with only ten making it to the scales. I had to go back to 2016, when eight were weighed, and all the way back to 1988, when eight were also weighed. Most years see 15-25 marlin over 400 pounds.

The top ten blue marlin stats:

Position: short corner (4), short rigger (2), long corner (1), long rigger (2), long gone (1);

Test line: 50 (1), 100 (2), 130 (7);

Time of day: 6 to 9 a.m. (5), 9 a.m. to noon (4);

Fight time: one hour (3), 45-50 minutes (4), 25-35-minutes (2), and 18 minutes (1), the shortest time;

Lure: Steve Elkins (3).