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Hinatea lands biggest marlin of the year

By BY DONNELL TATE/Harbor Report - | Dec 24, 2020

Deckman Dylan Lehmann (left) and Capt. Chris Cole with their 656.6-pound blue marlin caught on Hinatea. PHOTO BY DONNELL TATE.

LAHAINA — The Hinatea hoisted another big blue marlin, this one weighing 656.6 pounds by Capt. Chris Cole and Deckman Dylan Lehmann.

They were heading out to the MC-Buoy 12 miles off the southwest corner of Lanai. Dylan was setting up the pattern as they crossed the 200-fathom ledge between Lanai and Kahoolawe. As he went into the cabin to grab some more rubber bands, he heard Chris shouting, “Short corner, short corner!”

The marlin came up and whacked the short corner lure a couple of times, missing it. As Dylan came out of the cabin, Chris was already off the bridge and at the reel. Chris cranked the line down and pulled it off the rigger rubber band.

Chris dropped the lure back and then cranked it back in, teasing the fish a couple of times. As he dropped the lure backward one more time, the marlin grabbed the lure. It turned and took off straight down the pattern, never jumping.

Chris thought it was a small fish around 150 pounds. All he saw was about half of the dorsal fin. He and Dylan got the rest of the pattern cleared fast as the marlin pulled off 300-400 yards of 130-test line.

For the first ten minutes, Chris was pretty aggressive reversing after the fish, gaining some line back. As Chris tried to slow its run, it started to put up a fight. He still thought it wasn’t that big.

Once the marlin stopped its run, Chris was able to get on top of it and get it back to the rubber band in about 15 minutes. At that point, they ran into a stalemate. It was a give and take tug of war with good drag on the reel.

The marlin took off on another run, pulling off 100 yards. Dylan moved the rod to the port gunnel. Chris cranked as Dylan hand-lined, with them switching off, slowly working the fish upward.

Chris headed back to the helm, planing the marlin upward, spinning the boat on the fish over a dozen times, finally getting it back to the rubber band.

On the third run, the marlin took them into the Dacron backing, heading straight down over 500 yards. At that point, the marlin seemed to die. Chris started tugging on the line, feeling no movement from the fish.

Chris watched the line, motoring the boat forward to get it away from the stern, to give them a better angle to handline the fish. It took them almost an hour to get it back to the rubber band, around 40 feet deep.

The marlin popped up behind the boat dead. Dylan pulled it in as Chris stuck a securing gaff into it. The next problem was trying to pull it through the stern door.

To date, this is the largest COVID-19 blue marlin of 2020.