Aug-29-2012, 11:48 AM #1
Kona Captain Mrs. lands a monster
While attending the 53-year-old Hawaiian Invitational Billfish Tournament in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, which included 40 competing international teams from 11 countries, I rubbed shoulders with some of the most famous big billfish skippers on the planet.
After one of the centerpieces of the event, a traditional tournament parade on opening day with all the festivity, frivolity and nationalism of a small-town 4th of July Parade, the teams and their families, some in costumes, others in the colors of the country they represented, hollered, waved and threw candy and party favors to spectators lined up along the waterfront row parade route before finally arriving at Hale Halawai Pavilion to begin the opening ceremonies.
Then while their countries' national anthems were played by the local band, each of the 40 teams were called to the front. It was apparent that every group tried to outdo the next with elaborate costumes, national flags and banners of their country as they stood stiffly erect booming out the words to their own National Anthem.
At the HIBT opening day party, I was introduced to Captain Deneen Wargo, the second female Captain ever invited to fish the tournament. We agreed that I would ride with her on Bite Me 6 for one day during the event.
During the trip on Bite Me 6 between several fish hooked by Australia HIBT first timers, Jay Graham and Heath Irvine of the Sunshine Coast Game Fishing Club, Captain Deneen and I became acquainted. Her impressive credentials went far beyond the 6-pack Coast Guard license required; she also holds a "100-ton Masters" with endorsements for towing, sailing and even licensing for running the local submarine.
She shared part of an email of encouragement with me that she had received from the first female HIBT skipper, Captain Myrna Holdredge:
"At the encouragement of our mutual friend, Rick Gaffney, I am writing this note of congratulations and admiration to you, and to wish you many marlin in the HIBT."
"He suggested that if I passed along to you the fears and apprehensions I experienced as the first and only female captain in the fleet 34 years ago, it may help you, knowing that the fish gods did indeed not only watch over me, but helped me and my team boat three marlin on the first day of the tournament! In 1976, the 19th Annual HIBT had not yet had a woman running a boat in their prestigious tournament until I entered the scene."
"Twenty minutes after lines in, we caught the first fish of the tournament. I recall feeling the enormous amount of self-imposed pressure was off. We hooked up to our second fish during the 10 o'clock radio round up. And the third one only 30 minutes before "Stop fishing" time. Needless to say, it was more than an exciting successful day."
"So, Captain Deneen, I will be rooting for you. Stay calm. Ignore the jerks. Be yourself…..and catch a monster!"
Then a week after the HIBT had finished, I received this email from Captain Deneen; it was dripping with excitement and pride.
"Woo Hoo! I got my monster!"
"Aloha, Gary, guess what!? We landed an 800-pound blue marlin aboard Bite Me 6. That may be the largest blue marlin ever caught by a female skipper here in Kona and better yet it was caught by a lady angler!”…Captain, Deneen Wargo
On Saturday, August 25, she had a half-day charter with April Martines from Midland, Texas and friends. There were reports that there had been bites from outside Honokohau harbor to Keauhou, plus marlin and ahi bites in front of the harbor on the 1,000 fathom ledge the day before.Beginning at the 1,000 fathom ledge, Captain Deneen found a bird school and pounded it for nearly an hour before turning southward… no luck. Almost out of time, she reversed course returning to the area she had left earlier.
Soon, she was straight-lining back toward the harbor praying for a "mercy bite." On the way, she spotted a flock of birds sitting on the water. Driving through them she could hear the flutter of their wings as they took flight.Then, less than a hundred feet from the 41-foot Hatteras, baitfish began popping tothe surface. Deneen, uncertain as to what had disturbed them, followed the birds’ streaking toward the boiling bait.
She described it as a total National Geographic moment. As everyone on the boat was watching the birds and the boat slid past the commotion, a marlin streaked out from under the boiling baitfish and headed for the long-rigger with the Koya lure adorned with Land Shark beer caps for eyes made for her by a friend. The marlin came at it, knocked it out of the rigger and went away. Her deckhand, Captain Mike Dakil, began teasing it and it returned, but didn't take the lure. Deneen shouted for Mike to free-spool the reel which allowed the lure to travel straight into the marlin’s open mouth. Turning, the fish sped for the horizon as April maneuvered the bent butt rod and reel to the fighting chair.
Pandemonium reigned as lines were cleared. Line was rapidly disappearing from April's spinning spool. Captain Deneen pushed the boat to the limit in reverse in pursuit of the fleeing fish spraying water over the transom and April began slowly regaining some of the lost line. “By the time the rods were cleared, we were almost down to backing. I was able to do my favorite thing – going backwards really fast – and was able to catch up a bit. We started getting line back. We got enough back on the reel that I went down below to the lower station to drive in case this fight didn't last long,” said the Kona-based skipper.
Deneen's husband Captain Brian Wargo aboard the Bite Me 2 was nearby and had seen the fish clearly when it tail-walked. He told her that it was a NICE fish.
Meanwhile, once again, for the second time, the fish took the line all the way down to the backing. Deneen had thought the fish was smaller and still underestimating its size, they fought for more line; the marlin came to the surface, cooperating instead of digging, while she skillfully maneuvered the boat.
As the fight continued into the second hour and this was April's first fish, her friends offered to take over, but she doggedly refused to turn over the chair, though she began to waver a little. “No, she's got it,” Deneen told them. Standing behind the fighting chair at the controls, she encouraged April when others tried to convince her to quit and April seemed to gain renewed energy.
More slowly now, April reeled while Deneen deftly moved the boat closer to the tiring marlin. Then, at last, closing the gap, the boat and fish were close enough that the mate could get a firm grip on the leader. Just as he did, the huge fish made one final leap for freedom…straight away from the boat. Mike, with brute strength, held on and the fish was brought alongside.
It took four to load it into the boat and when they did, they all stood with their mouths agape. It was much larger than they had thought. It was awesome!
The lady Captain and first-time angler had landed the monster! A day later than Captain Myrna Holdredge, first female HIBT skipper, had wished for Captain Deneen, but it turns out it may be the largest blue marlin ever landed in Kona by a female Captain. Woo Hoo!
Last edited by Baja Bytes; Aug-29-2012 at 12:35 PM. Reason: image placementInsanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results...Albert Einstein, Gary Graham email@example.com
Aug-29-2012, 08:51 PM #2
You live a rough life........thanks for the update .
Congrats to the lady.
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