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Marlin puts on spectacular show for Start Me Up Too

By Staff | Feb 20, 2020

From left, Joe Loftin, Deckman Ryan Gantzer and Capt. Steve Cravens with their 445.5-pound blue marlin caught on Start Me Up Too. PHOTO BY DONNELL TATE.

LAHAINA – The Start Me Up Too had an early morning 7 a.m. bite, landing a 445.5-pound blue marlin for Joe Loftin. He was fishing with Capt. Steve Cravens and Deckman Ryan Gantzer.

Steve headed the boat south from town toward the SO-Buoy located off the southwest shoals of Kahoolawe. Ryan had just finished the “Fa Fa” as Steve crossed the 150-fathom ledge outside Olowalu. They had only been fishing for about 20 minutes when Ryan saw a big explosion on the short-short position lure.

As Ryan headed to the deck, Steve turned around and watched the marlin jump from the second wave, straight out of the water lengthwise, toward the short corner position. It disappeared into a big splash of whitewater and then ran straight out 300 yards.

Steve noticed the distance between the dorsal fin and tail and knew it was something big. They had been seeing a lot of 110- to 150-pound blues over the past few weeks, and it was definitely bigger.

The marlin came up jumping, making a big counter-clockwise circle back towards the main line. Luckily, it was underwater at that point and went under the line. The fish kept running out off the port side and then went down, putting a big loop in the water.

By that time, they had 400 yards of 130-test line in the water. The marlin continued its run, pulling the loop straight to the rod tip. Steve had the boat two engines in reverse after the fish. Joe was doing a good job in the chair, so Steve wasn’t worried about him keeping up.

The marlin came up jumping to the starboard side and then turned away from the boat. Once it was back in the water, they never saw it again until it came to leader. Steve continued reversing after it for about 30 minutes before the marlin finally went down about 300 feet.

Steve backed up to the line where he had a good angle on the fish. Ryan popped the reel into 1:1 ratio and got Joe into a strong rhythm, as he horsed the fish up to double line in about 15 minutes.

Ryan waited for the leader as the marlin swam side-to-side with the boat. He took a couple of gentle pulls on the leader and held on. The marlin was in control of the situation, as Ryan let the fish guide him wherever it wanted to go. It walked him across the deck at least a half-dozen times before he got it settled down on the starboard side.

Ryan was finally able to take a couple of wraps on the starboard side and pulled. He held the wraps as Steve came down to secure their catch.

Once they got the fish into the boat, Steve continued heading toward SO. He picked up an easterly wind, 15-20-knots on the way, so he turned the boat west toward the K-Buoy, 5.5-miles southwest of the Palaoa Lighthouse, Lanai. He made a couple of lure passes around the buoy and then headed in to the 200-fathom ledge down the south side of Lanai.

Right as Steve passed “Sweetheart Rock,” just before Manele Bay, he turned in toward Lahaina. He was in 120 fathoms of water, when they had another bite, also on the short corner position.

They saw some spectacular action out of the fish, pulling some good line. It staying on the surface, as Steve slowly backed after it. It took Ryan Kennedy around 40 minutes to get the marlin to the boat.

This marlin was half as big as the first, but it still put up a tug of war with Ryan when it came to leader. The fish took him from corner to corner a couple of times as he held the leader. Once he figured out which side it was going to take, he wrapped it up at the right time.

As Ryan held the bill, he got the hook out of the fish and watched it swim away. This blue marlin was estimated at 250 pounds.