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‘Believe It or Not!’ fishing stories

By Staff | Jan 9, 2020

I ran across some “Believe It or Not!” fish stories I wrote in 1986 about the days back then in Lahaina Harbor. Boats and names are anonymous to protect the guilty.

One story is about a 130-pound blue marlin. It comes in on the short corner lure, hooks up but breaks the line and gets off. The marlin then started jumping around in circles trying to spit the hooks, but with no luck.

The boat makes a turn to head back to the spot with five lines still in the water. The marlin is still jumping around in circles as they catch up to it. As the marlin comes up to the starboard corner of the boat, the crew grabs a long mahi gaff and nails it in the tail.

The crew then pulls the marlin up the starboard side rail backward and grabs the safety line from the rod holder. He then makes a couple of quick wraps around the marlin’s tail and clips it off. As he lets go, the marlin starts thrashing around, wrapped on the safety line. They tow it backward until it finally settles down, and then they gaff it and pull it into the boat.

Another is about a couple of fishermen in an 18-foot open console boat fishing the K-Buoy off the backside of Lanai (K-Buoy was the only one there back then). They were dead-baiting for mahi around the buoy when a school of pilot whales came in and started harassing the mahi.

This one big bull, being somewhat smart, comes up to the boat and hides just underneath it to stay out of the jaws of the pilot whales. Well, these two pilot whales wanted mahi for lunch, came over to the boat and boxed the bull in.

The crew had an opelu rigged up and was going to drop it in the bull’s face to see what would happen. The bull kept coming up close to the side of the boat, so the crew grabbed a gaff to nail it the next time it came close.

As the crew goes for the gaff, the mahi spooks and runs forward just off the bow of the boat. The captain makes a slight turn to the starboard side, exposing the mahi. The crew throws the gaff up to the captain, who reaches over the rail, down into the water, and plants a perfect gaff right under the peck fin.

This mahi didn’t know what hit him, but it was too late. It was in the fish box in a matter of seconds. As soon as that mahi was landed, the corner rod went off with another mahi on it. This mahi heads over to the buoy and wraps itself up about 15-20 feet below.

The captain backs the boat up to the buoy. The crew puts on a mask and fins and dives down to untangle the mahi, with the two pilot whales still hanging around. Back aboard, they pull away from the buoy and reel in the mahi. The bull weighed 45 pounds, with the second one weighing 38 pounds.

Another lucky catch was also taken on the backside of Lanai. They were walking a live bait around the K-Buoy when a marlin comes in and grabs the bait. They fight the fish for about 30-minutes before getting it to the back of the boat.

As the leader comes up, the marlin makes a last ditch effort, heading under the stern. It gets wrapped up around the props and breaks off. The disappointed angler reels in the broken line, hands the rod to the crew and gets out of the chair.

As the crew is putting the rod back into the side rod holder, he looks over the rail and notices the line in the water. The crew shouts to the captain to keep the boat in neutral. The crew then grabs a gaff and retrieves the line.

Once the line is in his hands, he feels a slight tugging on the other end. As he looks down, he sees the outline of the marlin just below, still hooked up. The crew tells the angler to get back in the chair and hands him the rod.

The crew then threads the line back through the guides and quickly ties the two broken ends together. The angler slowly takes up the slack line and knot onto the spool and waits. The crew then carefully pulls the line up until the leader breaks the surface.

The crew then grabs the leader and gently pulls the marlin up next to the boat. Before the marlin knows what’s going on, they get a gaff into it. Their rare catch just happened to be a 246-pound black marlin.