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Piper lands 611.5-pound blue marlin

By BY DONNELL TATE/Harbor Report - | Apr 9, 2021

From left, Deckman Marlin Kahl, Stuart Boschma, Scupper and Capt. Jeff Kahl with their 611.5-pound blue marlin caught on Piper. PHOTO BY DONNELL TATE.

LAHAINA — The Piper joined the 600-pound marlin club, weighing a 611.5-pound blue by 17-year-old Stuart Boschma. He was fishing with Capt. Jeff Kahl and Deckman Marlin Kahl.

After all the rainy weather, there was a lot of green water off the coast. Jeff decided to work a half-mile edge offshore, hoping something would be in the area. He was in 220 fathoms between Manele Bay, Lanai, and the Kahoolawe Shoals when they raised a fish.

The marlin hit the short corner lure once but missed it. It came back around behind the lure and started tracking it. Marlin tried to tease it to strike. He free-spooled the reel and then cranked it back in 5-6 turns. At that point, the dorsal fin popped up as the fish charged the lure.

As soon as Marlin saw the dorsal fin pop up, he locked up the reel. The fish turned and ran straight down the pattern on the surface for several hundred yards and then started jumping. Jeff thought it was around 400 pounds.

Even with the drag pushed to the button, the marlin continued to scream off 1,000 yards of 130-test line as Jeff had the boat in full reverse after it. The marlin made a couple of series of jumps, kicking up a lot of whitewater, and then sounded.

Jeff shouted to Marlin, “Loosen the rigger — we got to go! We got to go!”

Marlin folded up the port side rigger as Jeff spun the boat forward and continued the chase. Jeff was full throttle, at 20 knots, for about a minute as he finally slowed the run. Marlin mentioned that they had about 150 yards left on the spool at that point.

Jeff saw the line coming close to the bow of the boat, so he didn’t want to keep going and run the line over. He stopped the boat and spun it back around. Jeff had the boat in reverse for about 20 minutes with Stuart gaining steady line.

Once Jeff caught up to the marlin, they still had 200 yards of Dacron and 400 yards of mono out with it straight down.

Jeff tried everything he could to plane the fish up for an hour, but they weren’t gaining as much line as he wanted. Marlin pulled on the line every once in a while when Stuart got into a stalemate. For the last 5-10 minutes, Stuart was pumping the rod, standing up in the chair and then leaning back, trying to haul up his very first billfish.

As the marlin came up to double line, Jeff could see that the fish was hooked in front of the dorsal fin. Jeff told Marlin, “Don’t even grab the leader — I’m backing right up to it.”

Jeff didn’t know how good the hook set was, and he knew if they put too much pressure on the leader, they could pull hooks. Marlin eased the fish to the boat and stuck a stick gaff into its side. Jeff followed up with a fly gaff to secure their catch. The marlin had gotten hooked on the top of the head, with the hook ripping around the head to the other side, finally digging in just above the gill plate.