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Hinatea lands 560.6-pound blue marlin

By Staff | Jan 30, 2020

From left, Deckman Dillon Lehmann, Cory Warden, Chris Belanger and Capt. Chris Cole with their 560.6-pound blue marlin. PHOTO BY DONNELL TATE.

LAHAINA – The Hinatea started off the New Year with a 560.6-pound blue marlin by Cory Warden and Chris Belanger. They were fishing with Capt. Chris Cole and Deckman Dillon Lehmann. They were about four miles northeast of the SO-Buoy, off Kahoolawe, in some real stinky water.

The water was so rough and windy that nobody saw the strike on the long corner position. The marlin started slowly taking the 100-test line, coming up jumping at the long gone position. Chris was calling it right away at 500-plus pounds.

The marlin took them down to the Dacron backing immediately. Chris had to turn the boat toward the port side as he started to back down after the fish. There were still two lures in the water as Dillon cleared the long side first.

Once they got the mono back on the spool, the marlin made several more runs, taking them right back into the backing. With the drag setting almost to sunset, at 40 pounds of pressure, they were finally able to keep the mono on the spool.

With the crappy weather, Chris was trying to go down-swell, trying to cut the fish off. As he backed down-swell, the marlin would dig down away from them. Chris maneuvered the boat after the fish, making dozens of back and forth zig-zags over the next 25 minutes, trying to keep up with it. It was a stubborn fish, swimming away from them with no problem.

Cory was in the chair first, with Chris finishing things off. They kept grinding on the fish, gaining a lot of line, and had it to the boat in about 30 minutes. The marlin was still swimming strong as they got it close to double line, with the rubber band on and off the rod tip several times over the next ten minutes.

They never could get the fish turned or in front of it, with Chris having to constantly cut it off from swimming away from them. Chris made 5-6 big doughnuts around the marlin, trying to beat it at double line, but it kept pulling away.

They finally got the double line on the spool and the drag to max pressure. Dillon grabbed the double line and pulled the fish it to leader. He took wraps and never let go. The marlin was still swimming away as it pulled Dillon back and forth across the stern for several minutes.

This fish was tough, with Dillon finally able to turn it slightly sideways. Chris came off the helm to secure the marlin, but when he went for the fly-gaff, the head had come off during the rocking and rolling on the deck. Chris quickly picked up a hand gaff and handed it to Dillon. He leaned out over the rail, still holding leader, and stuck the fish under the peck fin to hold it steady.

They were freaking out, quickly pulling the marlin to the stern door to get it under control and subdued. They had a hard time getting the fish through the stern door. Everybody was tired, on a wet deck, rolling seas, and a sharp bill, and they didn’t want anyone to get hurt.

They tied the marlin around the dorsal and peck fins, and half-hitched the bill, securing it to the starboard stern cleat. Chris then got the boat up on a plane, and they floated the fish in the whitewash toward calmer water. They towed it for about a half-hour before finally getting it through the door for the ride home.

This was the first marlin over 400 pounds in four months. It was over eight months since a 500-pounder was weighed in Lahaina.