LAHAINA – The Reel Hooker joined the 500-pound marlin club, weighing in a 545.6-pound bruise by birthday boy Kevin Ragsdale. He fished with Captain Brad Coombs and Deckman Kihe.
On the way, they bit down 150 fathoms off Black Manele, Lanai, a little bruise about 150 pounds that didn’t stick. Brad joked with Kihe that with all the little bruises coming in, there must be a woman somewhere. Half an hour later they had the bite.
As they reached the ledge of Kamaiki Point, Kihe changed all the decoys to chrome jets. He left the jet long gone in the grounds. Just as Brad crossed the ledge at 50 fathoms, they had a strike on the long gone position.
The marlin grabbed the long gone lure, jumped up and spat out the bait, the line flying towards them. Kihe dropped the decoy backwards, playing with it for about 10 to 15 seconds. He watched the fish follow the lure, but he didn’t catch it.
Brad saw a splash behind the decoy. Kihe teased the decoy once more, the marlin coming back and catching it.
He immediately took off, jumping at least 20 times, back and forth, doing a lot of backing in white water and jumping off the surface. He kept it on for at least a minute, setting up a killer show. They called it 350.
After the long-lost aerial display, the marlin took off non-stop for 300-400 meters for about 60 seconds.
Once he slowed down, he started jumping again several times before leveling off. Kihe cleared the lines as Brad started to back up after that.
Brad aggressively backed up past the marlin for about 60 seconds to slow the loss of the line as Kihe settled Kevin in and strapped him to the battle harness. The fish stayed near the surface for most of the fight. Brad was watching the line and keeping a good angle for Kevin to win on the fish as he chased him.
Kevin was a tough kid, Brad said. He knew what he was doing and had it pretty much under control. In about ten minutes, they had him near the boat.
Brad got to see it for the first time and said: “This thing is bigger than we thought.”
When Kevin pushed him to the back of the boat a few minutes later, Kihe took the leader.
When he finally looked back and saw the color, he watched the marlin roll over and knew the fish were pau.
From the deck, Brad could see that the fish were not swimming, as Kihe brought them to the port side of the boat.
He was firmly attached. The lead hook was stuck in the lower jaw, the leader wrapped around the beak and jaw several times.
The escape hook was sticking out of its mouth to the side, squeezing the mouth shut. He couldn’t open his mouth to breathe and was suffocating.
As Kihe held the leader, Brad kept the boat idling and descended to secure Kevin’s birthday fish in just 25 minutes on a 50-pound test line. Nice birthday present.