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Start Me Up Too brings in 2019’s second biggest marlin

By Staff | May 16, 2019

Capt. John Verfurth (left) and Capt. John Burke with their 503.8-pound marlin caught on Start Me Up Too. PHOTO BY DONNELL TATE.

LAHAINA – The Start Me Up Too brought in a 503.8-pound blue marlin by anglers Charles Baldwin and Bill Duffey. They were fishing with Captains Johnny Burke and John Verfurth.

Johnny was coming back in from fishing the outside shoal off Kahoolawe, raising their fish inside the LA Buoy marks located off Olowalu. John was just getting ready to switch out the lures when Johnny heard him yelling. The marlin had come up between the short rigger and the short corner lure, with its dorsal fin cutting thru the surface.

As Johnny turned around, he saw the marlin right behind the short corner lure – with its mouth wide open and bill out of the water – as it tried to eat the lure. It missed the lure on its first attempt, with John free-spooling the reel, dropping the lure right down its throat. The marlin bit down on the lure, turned and swam away.

John locked up the spool. He had a nice stiff drag on the 130-class reel with about 25 pounds of pressure at strike. The marlin took out about 300 yards on the run before it put on a spectacular show, tearing up the surface.

John got Charles settled into the chair as Johnny started reversing the boat after the fish. They still had the starboard long side out, so Johnny backed down the port side as John got the long side cleared. John had Charles just hang onto the rod since it was still ripping out line.

Once John got everything cleared, he got back to Charles and started to coach him. The marlin ran another 50-75 yards before it settled down. Johnny started gaining on the marlin, but not getting too aggressive, as he watched Charles crank in line.

The marlin made another good run of around 100 yards before it finally stopped. Charles fought the fish for maybe 15 minutes before he gave out. At that point, they switched out with Bill.

The marlin stayed on the surface, with Johnny having a perfect angle on it as it swam away, while he continued backing and gaining line. They thought it was done at that point, but it made a couple shorter runs and jumps 150 yards out.

The marlin didn’t go down and dirty like some fish do, but when it would go down, it would come right back up. Johnny was right back on it. Bill was an aggressive angler, mentioned Johnny. He knew how to do it – he had a good angling technique.

With the water flat like a lake, they had the marlin real close, about 75 yards away, in around 30 minutes. At that point, Johnny was just backing after it, with it not pulling out any more line. The marlin stayed right there, 40 yards underwater as it swam away.

They were finally able to break its spirit as it turned back toward the boat. Johnny reversed the boat up to it pretty quick as Bill cranked it in.

The double line came up off the starboard corner. John grabbed the double line and pulled it up to leader. He grabbed leader and took one nice, strong wrap. He held the wrap with his other hand and pulled.

The marlin started coming up. John kept taking single wraps until it got closer, and then started taking double wraps. As he got it up on the starboard corner, it rolled over onto its side. They didn’t even have to subdue it before they gaffed it and pulled it into the boat.

This is the largest marlin since March 17 and second largest of the year-to-date for the harbor. For catching a marlin over 500-pounds, Start Me Up Sportfishing gave Charles his trip for free. They also donated $300 to Pacific Cancer Foundation as part of their charity donation program for a marlin caught over 500 pounds on one of their boats.