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Rascal lands 579.5-pound marlin

By BY DONNELL TATE/Harbor Report - | Sep 17, 2021

From left, Wesley Luffman, Capt. Kamal Pfeifle and Deckman Sam Kalua with their 579.5-pound blue marlin caught on Rascal. PHOTO BY DONNELL TATE.

MAALAEA — The Rascal, chartered in Maalaea, hoisted a 579.5-pound blue marlin for Wesley Luffman. He was fishing with Captain Kamal Pfeifle and Deckman Sam Kalua.

Kamal was fishing 150 fathoms off the LA finger, outside Olowalu, when they had a strike on the long corner position. The marlin ran out 100 yards of 130-test line and then turned, looping out and around the port side, taking 300-400 yards with it.

Kamal started chasing down the line just as the Dacron backing left the spool. He was able to get up in front of the marlin for a while, getting an angle on it. Kamal headed the boat into the current back toward Kahoolawe. He tried to stay close to the Dacron, trying to keep it on the spool. The marlin headed straight down. The Dacron was in and out off the reel for a half-hour, as Kamal continued to chase the fish down. He didn’t let the marlin get any more line than it had. The marlin settled in and did not want to budge from the Dacron depth.

It took about 20 minutes to get the Dacron back on the spool, with about 100 yards of mono on top of the Dacron backing. The marlin kept pulling off short runs of line for the next half-hour, with them in a give and take mode. They didn’t want to see the Dacron go back out.

Kamal tried to spin and maneuver the boat a couple of times to switch the angle, but it wasn’t helping much, because the fish was up and down on them about 250 yards. They settled into a stalemate, with the line rolling off the spool.

Sam pushed up the drag to the strike button, putting about 50 pounds of pressure on the fish. For the next hour-and-a-half, he “Portuguese pulled” on the line, and helped to lift the rod for Wesley, so he could drop and crank. When they finally got a rhythm going, they were doing short strokes in low gear, getting a crank at a time.

With Sam holding the rod, Kamal would bump the boat into idle reverse as Wesley cranked down, getting a couple of turns. As Wesley pulled up, Kamal would idle one ahead, trying to keep the line on the spool. As soon as they were ready to drop, Kamal would idle reverse as Wesley cranked.

They kept up this maneuver for 45 minutes. Kamal tried several times to angle the boat to get the current to help them bring the marlin up. With Sam needing a break, Kamal came off the helm to help handline the fish for the next half-hour. Finally, they started to get a couple hundred yards of mono back on the spool.

Once the marlin started to come up, Kamal slowly idled ahead to keep an angle on the fish and still keep line on the spool. There was so much drag on the reel, you could hear the line pinging and crackling off the spool.

After four hours, the marlin popped up off the stern tail first and dead. The lure was down by the tail and looked like it was foul-hooked, but it was hooked in the mouth. The leader had gotten wrapped around the tail as they fought the fish the entire fight backwards.

Sam leadered the marlin off the port side. As he was pulling it toward the boat, he noticed a strange brown cloud coming off the fish’s head. Its gills were flared out and mouth open, with the strange color turning out to be mud from the bottom. It must have made a death dive into the bottom, taking them so long to haul it up.

The entire fight, Kamal was marking something at 60 fathoms that kept following them. It could have been another marlin, or the “Tax Collector” — hoping it wasn’t a shark.