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Action sets 2019’s top marlin rankings with 728.0-pounder

By Staff | Jan 17, 2019

From left, Deckman John Verfurth, Capt. Jonny Keiley and Todd Spence with their 700-pound marlin caught on Action. PHOTO BY DONNELL TATE.

LAHAINA – The Action started off the New Year by joining the 700-pound marlin club, and setting the Top Blue Stats, with a 728.0-pound fish by Todd Spence. He was fishing with Capt. Jonny Keiley and Deckman John Verfurth.

Jonny was two miles outside the K-Buoy, coming back in from the MC-Buoy located off the southwest corner of Lanai, when they had a fish up on the short corner position. John saw a big boil in the water as the marlin grabbed the lure.

The fish pulled the 130-test line real slow off the reel. John had stiff drag on the spool, with the marlin stopping for a few seconds and then started pulling line again really slowly. With the marlin still inside the pattern, it acted like it didn’t know it was hooked.

The marlin swam with the boat for about 15-20 seconds before it turned and swam away. Once it realized it was hooked, it made one jump just outside the pattern and then ran out 400 yards, jumping again, as it took them into the Dacron backing.

Jonny told John to leave the drag where it was until they got the mono back onto the spool. The marlin pretty much stayed on the surface. Jonny backed after the fish in idle reverse, giving John time to clear the lines.

With the rod in the center stern rod holder, Jonny backed after the marlin for about 15 minutes, with Todd and John switching off on the reel about every five minutes. Jonny didn’t want to get too aggressive because John’s sole focus wasn’t always on the reel.

Every time they would go down-swell they would gain some line, cranking on the down-swell and then using the three-foot swell to pull the marlin upward nice and easy – just enough to give them a little pump on the rod.

As they got closer and closer on the fish, John kept pushing up the drag. Once Jonny got up and down on the marlin, he stopped the boat. John pushed up the drag to the button. Jonny tried to spin around on the fish and get in front of it, but it didn’t like that and started swimming away from them again.

John pushed up the drag over the button to about 40 pounds of pressure as Jonny backed up to the marlin again, with it about 200 feet deep at this point. The fish came right to the surface swimming away from them as Jonny backed right up to it. John grabbed the leader and turned the marlin, getting it swimming with them.

The marlin dug in and kept taking John back and forth across the stern, with him having to dump the leader a couple of times. The next time to leader, John took double wraps and got it up right behind the stern. He pulled it around the starboard corner and up the side. Jonny came down and secured their catch.

They tried to pull the marlin over the stern using the swell. After about an hour of struggling without any luck, they finally gave up. They didn’t even get close to getting it in the boat. They ended up tying the marlin across the stern and skipped it all the way back to Lahaina.

The marlin was hooked perfect, right through the top of the bill and lower jaw. As long as they kept tension on the fish, there was no way it was going to come off. Jonny mentioned, for a 700-pounder, they killed it on heavy drag in only 30 minutes. That was pretty much all there was to it.

This is the largest marlin since May 2018. For catching a marlin over 500 pounds, Start Me Up Sportfishing gave Todd his trip for free. They also donated $300 to Maui Humane Society as part of their charity donation program for a marlin caught over 500 pounds on one of their boats.