The Piper moved to the top of the marlin leader board, and joined the 700-pound club, with a 741.5-pound blue by the tag team of 18-year-old Garret Tafoya and Kenny Trongo. They were fishing with Captains Jeff and Marlin Kahl, and Deckman Danny Wilke.
They were 150 fathoms off the Palaoa Point Lighthouse, Lanai, when they raised their fish. It was an insane bite, mentioned Jeff. It was behind the lure for at least 30-45 seconds, which is an eternity on a bite.
The fish finally pulled the line out of the clip but didn’t take the lure. Marlin teased the fish back up a couple of times to tempt it to strike. It was so vibrant, all lit up electric blue as it grabbed the short corner lure. It then swam back to the long corner lure and tried to eat it, but missed it, as it took off the pattern.
The marlin screamed off the 130-test line for about 300 yards before it started jumping. They knew they had a good-sized fish. Jeff saw the size of the dorsal fin when it came in on the lure and thought it was 900 pounds.
The fish jumped all over the surface, tail-walking, with full body lunges, getting completely airborne several times, about 400 yards out. Jeff told the boys it was at least 600. Once the boys cleared the short rigger, it gave Jeff a hole to reverse after the fish. Jeff was pretty aggressive backing after the fish as they finished clearing the remaining lines.
There was so much current off the light; the marlin was using it to her advantage, but it ended up being a disadvantage to her. Jeff continued to chase the fish for 45-50 minutes, gaining a lot of line, before it went down on a deep dive.
The marlin took them 650 yards into the Dacron backing before it slowed its run. Jeff stayed after the fish, with them able to regain about 350 yards before they lost the angle. Garret fought the fish up to about 200 yards before they ran into a stalemate. The marlin started to slowly sink down, making a couple of quick runs before it settled into the fight. At that point, it was just a matter of planning the fish up.
They weren’t gaining any line in the current they were in, so Jeff spun the boat around and started going in the opposite direction to plane it up. That didn’t seem to work, so they ended up straight up and down on the fish. At that point, they switched out angles, with Kenny taking over the battle.
For the next hour, they were working the marlin in the one- to two-knot current, pretty much dead boat. Every once in a while, Jeff would idle forward to get and angle, and then back up after it. The marlin was taking more line than they were getting, so Jeff decided to just drift in the current and float it up the best they could.
As they started to get the marlin closer, Jeff called Danny to the bridge. He told him that when a fish like this gets to the 100- to 75-foot depth, it starts to float. There’s a good chance the hooks may pull and you might have to go in after it. Danny went below and got a line all set up and ready to go.
Marlin grabbed the leader and was casually pinch-pulling the line to the boat. All of a sudden, Marlin shouted, “Crap, just pulled hooks.” The fish was about 20 feet away floating on the surface.
Jeff shouted, “Danny, get in.” Danny jumped up on the cap rail and looked at him. Jeff pushed him in. Danny grabbed a small gaff from Marlin, swam over to the fish, and stuck it in the mouth. He turned it around and started swimming back to the boat.
Everybody was sort of laughing and enjoying the show. Danny shouted to them, “Throw me the rope.” Marlin tossed him the rope and opened the stern fish door. Danny half-hitched the bill, and they pulled the fish to the boat. After getting Danny back in the boat, they hauled the fish aboard.
From where they had gotten the bite, 150 fathoms off the light, they ended up 100 fathoms off the slides, 2.5 miles away.