Reel Hooker’s Record Catch


1118 lb. Pacific Blue Marlin

lahaina_newspaper 1118Maui County Record Catch: August 3, 2002
1,118 lb. Blue Marlin


What started out as a dream of catching a, 1000 plus-lb marlin four days earlier turned into reality for Capt. Jeff Kahl Reel Hooker, who set a new Maui County record far the largest marlin landed on a sportfishing charter when he brought in al.118clb blue.. When Reese Randall, a semi-pro bass fisherman from Arizona, booked the 35′ Bertram REEL HOOKER, little did he realize that at the end of a grueling hour-and-50-minute fight he would be standing next to a record blue marlin.

Jeff and Co-Capt. Ryan Fiedorowicz had been fishing the NASA-buoy off the backside of Lana’i and were heading in toward the Palaoa Point Lighthouse on the southwest comer. About 3 miles from the buoy, they had a knockdown on the long corner position.

A marlin took a quick 50_yard run then came off. Jeff continued trolling ahead for 50 to 75 yards then made a slow turn to head back through the area. As Ryan watched the pattern,. the marlin came back in and pulled on the long comer lure again but dropped it. The marlin looked to weigh around 200 Ibs.

Ryan free-spooled the reel, dropping the lure backward 5 to 10 yards, then quickly cranked it back in. He did this half a dozen times, trying to tease the marlin to strike. Finally Ryan shouted, “There it is; there it is!” as the marlin raced in on the Elkins blue-backed “popsicle” lure. As the line came tight, he yelled, “I got It!” They assumed it was the same marlin.

Ryan handed Reese the rod and cleared the remaining lines as Jeff began reversing after the fish. The marlin never jumped; it just swam casually along as Jeff chased after it Jeff said to Ryan, “This fish doesn’t even know it’s hooked up yet.”

Fifteen minutes later, 100 yards behind the Reel Hooker, the marlin exploded through the surface. It looked like a bomb going off, throwing a massive amount of water into the air. The marlin did a series of 25 to 30 long, graceful jumps in a horseshoe turn back toward the boat. They were calling it 400-plus lbs. When the marlin jumped over the line, they thought that the fight was over.

Jeff had the boat in “full rack” reverse, as fast as the boat would go, trying to pick up the huge belly of line on the water. As the marlin circled around on the port side, Jeff stayed after the belly of line. When the marlin got closer, he turned the stem of the boat toward the fish as it disappeared under the surface.

Jeff stopped the boat and sat on top of the marlin to gain as much line as quickly as they could before it sounded. The line was as slack as it could be at that point, and Reese thought they had lost the fish. Ryan told Reese to keep on cranking. Reese madly cranked for about 15 seconds, picking up the entire belly and finally getting the line tight.

Ryan pushed up the drag lever as far as it would go, putting probably 60 lbs of pressure on the fish. Ryan wasn’t worried about breaking line but didn’t know how badly chafed the leader was. It took Reese 15 minutes to get the marlin back to double line. As he muscled the fish to leader, Ryan grabbed the line and was able to take a wrap and hold on.

Jeff put the boat “two ahead,” trying to keep the marlin from getting under the boat. The marlin stayed off the port side. Ryan was able to get another wrap on the leader and pun the marlin’s head up as it swam across to the starboard side.

After securing their beast, they knew that their fish was at least 700 lbs. Ryan noticed a big chafe in the line as it came toward the rod tip where the marlin had jumped on it. Once Reese got that to the boat, Ryan marked it with a rubber band. He told Reese to crank as much line on the spool as he could, then Ryan pushed up the drag lever to the strike button, putting 351bs of pressure on the marlin. Every time the marlin tried to make a run, Jeff put the boat into full reverse after it, trying to keep the rubber band on the spool.

Forty minutes into the fight, they finally saw “color.” For the next 30 minutes, the marlin was swimming “down and dirty” at an angle to the boat just out of double-line range. Jeff kept trying to reverse after the fish, and Reese gained line when he could. When the leader finally showed, Ryan grabbed the line. The marlin lifted its huge head out of the water like a “spy hop” off the port comer. Jeff and Ryan looked at each other in amazement. They couldn’t believe how big it was.

As Ryan held onto the leader, he noticed that only one hook was stuck in the corner of the mouth and that the leader was going through the mouth and around the bill. The marlin swam across the transom to the starboard side of the boat.

Ryan had to let the leader go as the marlin shook its head and flipped onto its side. It rolled upside-down with its belly out of the water, wildly thrashing its tail and kicking up a wall of water, and it ripped out 50 yards of line in the process.

Jeff had the boat full reverse after the marlin, getting back on top of it in about 15 seconds as Reese kept the line tight. For the next half-hour they tried to pull the massive fish through the stem door, but could only get the head in. The pectoral fin kept getting caught on the top of the door frame.

Knowing they needed help, Jeff put out a call to any boat in the area for assistance. Capt. Steve Cravens aboard the NO PROBLEM was in the area and said he could be there in about 45 minutes. Once there, Co-Capt.. Thomas Miller came aboard to help out. By then, Jeff, Ryan and Reese had rested, and all four of them were able to squeeze the marlin through the door and onto the deck. About 5 feet of its tail stuck out the stem door as they headed home.

The marlin was 14 feet 4 inches from tip of bill to tip of tail. The jaw-fork length was 12 feet 1 inch. It had a half-shoulder girth of 39 inches, a half-anal girth of 35V2 inches and a tail girth of 20 inches. The marlin was estimated to be 20 to 25 years old. It was landed on a Penn International 130-lb class reel packed with 130-lb test Ande line. This was the largest marlin weighed by a charter sportfishing boat in Maui County, breaking the previous record of 955 lbs landed in 1990. It was the third largest marlin ever weighed and recorded on Maul

. . . . Donnell

Caught on a Steve Elkins “Popsicle” Lureelkins


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