Leeward 4/16 My first Really Big Marlin

Start Me Up Sportfishing

MattH808

Newbie
Mar 10, 2019
32
55
37
Honolulu Hawaii
Name
MattH808
Boat
Seacraft 23
We had been hearing some reports of fish coming up on the west side so decided to take the new boat out on Tuesday to try our luck. Left Waianae Harbor at 6 a.m. and decided to troll the Thousand fathom line down to the Pinnacle off Barbers. We set lines right before R buoy and on our way out to the 1,000 we landed a nice double #19 and #16 Mahi hit right when we made our south turn. (9in Blue salmon slant, and a 7in ice blue slanted metal jet). It's beautiful when you already have 2 fish in the boat to start your day! We made a few more passes with no more takers so decided to head back to the original plan. To the pinnacle we went with spirits and hopes up high.

When we got toward the pinnacle we saw a fair amount of birds, but none of them really looked like they were on anyting really. Most of them were sitting on the water and the ones that were flying didn't really look too focused on anything in particular. We stayed out there for a while, but with no real signs of Life, we decided to head up north where we were taking some hits last week off where CO should be. We made our turn north and started heading up the thousand fathom line. I let my friend Drew take the wheel and decided to go down below to catch a little shut-eye. At around 11:30 a.m. I woke up to the sounds of everyone shouting, and my starboard rigger line screaming like a banshee off the back. It was pretty obvious that this wasn't a Mahi!!!

By the time the lines were cleared three-quarters of my 50 wide (1200yds 100lb braid with 25lbs drag) was missing and we still didn't know what was on there. We didn't see anything jumping so I was hoping for an Ahi! We turned the boat and slowed it down slowly circling whatever it was keeping the line at 5 oclock to get some of our line back. Whatever it was it didn't want to come meet us, that was for damn sure!

Every time we would get half the spool back it would go on another run and we were back to where we started. About an hour into the fight we were finally starting to make some progress and got Within 200 yards of line between us and the fish. All of the sudden I hear one of the girls scream "WTF!!!! OH MY GOD... OH MY GOD!!!!" We look off the starboard to see this giant MONSTER marlin flying through the air and our eyes open WIDE!

I've only had my boat now for 6 months and so far the biggest thing I've caught off of it was a small striped Marlin earlier in the year (which until now was the only marlin I've fought or seen fought in real life) This guy looked like he could have completely swallowed that guy. He was coming right at us, jumping and moving fast! Back to 6 0'clock he went as we sped up the boat and kicked the reel back into high gear and started reeling like our lives depended on it to keep the line tight. It was like something out of a movie where the tables suddenly turn, and the hunter became the hunted!

Eventually he settled back down a bit and we got him up to the boat. We thought the moment of truth had finally come. When he got next to the boat I suddenly realized that I had absolutely no idea how we were going to get this monster aboard. I've got a 23 foot seacraft walk around and this thing's Tale was still behind my propeller when his nose was up past my mid-ship rod holder (we measured the distance later and it was 10 ft between the two) Luckily I'm a planner and I think big so I had purchased a halibut harpoon with a detachable tip in case I ever found my self in a situation like this. My buddy Drew grabbed the spear as I reached for the leader. "All right bro..... Ready??? 1..... 2............ 3" Nope!! The marlin wasn't having that! Back down he went. 15 minutes later we got him back for another chance and.....the same thing happened again.

10 minutes later though, the third time came, and the third time looked like the one. He was tired and so were we. He looked like he had had enough and was ready to come aboard. He even turned on his side a little to signal that he had accepted that it was just time for him to meet his smoker! We had one engine (of 2) left in gear. Just enough RPM's to keep our steering so we could keep him along side the boat. I reached out for the leader... took a wrap... brought him towards the boat as Drew readied the kill shot..... and....... ready.... just then the F'ing bastard sprung alive!!!! He freaked the F#@k out! He ran under the boat and shot up on the other side as if he had been shot with adrenaline! A couple seconds later the pole was making a whole different sound as our propeller grabbed the line and cut him loose. He was free to fight another day and we were left looking at each other in shock and amazement. I grabbed my flaccid line as it blew in the wind and looked out helplessly at where my beautiful giant was just swimming. I may have been delirious from the fight at this point (it was after all almost 1:30pm now, 2 hours since the ordeal began) but I swear I heard the ocean laugh and saw his fin off in the distance flicking me the bird as he smugly swam away with his new icy blue lip ring!

It was a disappointing end to a crazy story but I learned a lot from the ordeal and I will never forget the story of the time I got to fight my first giant as the captain of my own fishing vessel in Hawaii! It was a pretty proud moment regardless of the end result!

So do you guys leave the engine in gear when boating a big fish? How do you go about bringing him aboard? Any advice for next time?

Just trying to think of what I could have done different, and what I still need to do to prepare for the next time a monster grabs ahold of one of my lines!

20190416_083719.jpg Drew and Debs showing off the Double we started with
 
Last edited:
Upvote 0

shadzdad

Member
Aug 6, 2010
855
185
Wahiawa,HI USA
Name
Darren
Boat
building one
Matt and crew, good going on the mahis. Bummers losing a lure and the donkey but it happens, you'll get em next time. Bang stick works great on crazy marlin. Either gin pole to get in the boat or tie em up and tow the fish in.
 
Upvote 0

patfishhi

Registered User
Sep 20, 2007
3,869
1,278
62
Oahu
Name
Pat
Boat
32' Blackfin "Kai Nana"
We had been hearing some reports of fish coming up on the west side so decided to take the new boat out on Tuesday to try our luck. Left Waianae Harbor at 6 a.m. and decided to troll the Thousand fathom line down to the Pinnacle off Barbers. We set lines right before R buoy and on our way out to the 1,000 we landed a nice double #19 and #16 Mahi hit right when we made our south turn. (9in Blue salmon slant, and a 7in ice blue slanted metal jet). It's beautiful when you already have 2 fish in the boat to start your day! We made a few more passes with no more takers so decided to head back to the original plan. To the pinnacle we went with spirits and hopes up high.

When we got toward the pinnacle we saw a fair amount of birds, but none of them really looked like they were on anyting really. Most of them were sitting on the water and the ones that were flying didn't really look too focused on anything in particular. We stayed out there for a while, but with no real signs of Life, we decided to head up north where we were taking some hits last week off where CO should be. We made our turn north and started heading up the thousand fathom line. I let my friend Drew take the wheel and decided to go down below to catch a little shut-eye. At around 11:30 a.m. I woke up to the sounds of everyone shouting, and my starboard rigger line screaming like a banshee off the back. It was pretty obvious that this wasn't a Mahi!!!

By the time the lines were cleared three-quarters of my 50 wide (1200yds 100lb braid with 25lbs drag) was missing and we still didn't know what was on there. We didn't see anything jumping so I was hoping for an Ahi! We turned the boat and slowed it down slowly circling whatever it was keeping the line at 5 oclock to get some of our line back. Whatever it was it didn't want to come meet us, that was for damn sure!

Every time we would get half the spool back it would go on another run and we were back to where we started. About an hour into the fight we were finally starting to make some progress and got Within 200 yards of line between us and the fish. All of the sudden I hear one of the girls scream WTF!!!! OH MY GOD... OH MY GOD!!!!" We look off the starboard to see this giant MONSTER marlin flying through the air and our eyes open WIDE!

I've only had my boat now for 6 months and so far the biggest thing I've caught off of it was a small striped Marlin earlier in the year (which until now was the only marlin I've fought or seen fought in real life) This guy looked like he could have completely swallowed that guy. He was coming right at us, jumping and moving fast! Back to 6 0'clock he went as we sped up the boat and kicked the reel back into high gear and started reeling like our lives depended on it to keep the line tight. It was like something out of a movie where the tables suddenly turn, and the hunter became the hunted!

Eventually he settled back down a bit and we got him up to the boat. We thought the moment of truth had finally come. When he got next to the boat I suddenly realized that I had absolutely no idea how we were going to get this monster aboard. I've got a 23 foot seacraft walk around and this thing's Tale was still behind my propeller when his nose was up past my mid-ship rod holder (we measured the distance later and it was 10 ft between the two) Luckily I'm a planner and I think big so I had purchased a halibut harpoon with a detachable tip in case I ever found my self in a situation like this. My buddy Drew grabbed the spear as I reached for the leader. "All right bro..... Ready??? 1..... 2............ 3" Nope!! The marlin wasn't having that! Back down he went. 15 minutes later we got him back for another chance and.....the same thing happened again.

10 minutes later though, the third time came, and the third time looked like the one. He was tired and so were we. He looked like he had had enough and was ready to come aboard. He even turned on his side a little to signal that it was his time for him to meet his smoker! We had one engine (of 2) left in gear. Just enough RPM's to keep our steering so we could keep him along side the boat. I reached out for the leader... took a wrap... brought him towards the boat as Drew readied the kill shot..... and....... ready.... the F'ing bastard sprung alive!!!! He freaked the F#@k out! He ran under the boat and shot up on the other side as if he had been shot with adrenaline! A couple seconds later the pole was making a whole different sound as our propeller grabbed the line and cut him loose. He was free to fight another day and we were left looking at each other in shock and amazement. I grabbed my flaccid line and looked out at where my beautiful giant was just swimming. I may have been delirious from the fight at this point (it was after all almost 1:30pm now, 2 hours since the ordeal began) but I swear I heard the ocean laugh and saw his fin flicking me the bird!

It was a disappointing end to a crazy story but I learned a lot from the ordeal and will never forget the time I fought my first giant as the captain of my own fishing vessel in Hawaii! Pretty proud moment regardless of the end result!

Do you guys leave the engine in gear when boating a big fish? How do you go about bringing him aboard?

Just trying to think of what I could have done different, and what I need to do to prepare for the next time a monster grabs ahold of one of my lines!

View attachment 1017987 Drew and Debs showing off the Double we started with
Matt and crew, great report thanks for sharing all of the details, sorry for your loss. It's all part of the deal. Darren already mentioned bang stick; they certainly carry great value in the right situation. Safety first. Make sure your harpoon is capable of securing an ornery beast. Fly gaffs are another option as well on bigger marlin. I have always left an engine in gear for the end game w/ marlin; ahis prefer out of gear but many things play into that decision. Boating larger marlin; if you can pull him over the transom there is a distinct advantage to that position. Once you get her head out of the water, boat just in gear the lift on the rest of the body tremendously helps take some of the weight off (due to the forward movement of the boat)of the pull, other wise you are trying to lift it straight up.

Let's see a pic of the boat; I had fished on a Seacraft back on the Atlantic in the '80's. They are extremely popular over here. Good goin' on the mahis, that is a perfect way to start off the day.

Cheers
Pat
 
Upvote 0

MattH808

Newbie
Mar 10, 2019
32
55
37
Honolulu Hawaii
Name
MattH808
Boat
Seacraft 23
Matt and crew, great report thanks for sharing all of the details, sorry for your loss. It's all part of the deal. Darren already mentioned bang stick; they certainly carry great value in the right situation. Safety first. Make sure your harpoon is capable of securing an ornery beast. Fly gaffs are another option as well on bigger marlin. I have always left an engine in gear for the end game w/ marlin; ahis prefer out of gear but many things play into that decision. Boating larger marlin; if you can pull him over the transom there is a distinct advantage to that position. Once you get her head out of the water, boat just in gear the lift on the rest of the body tremendously helps take some of the weight off (due to the forward movement of the boat)of the pull, other wise you are trying to lift it straight up.

Let's see a pic of the boat; I had fished on a Seacraft back on the Atlantic in the '80's. They are extremely popular over here. Good goin' on the mahis, that is a perfect way to start

Thanks Pat! Is there a way to get the Marlin over the transom with twin outboards?

20190418_062821.jpg 20190418_062758.jpg
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: mrkrabs
Upvote 0

MattH808

Newbie
Mar 10, 2019
32
55
37
Honolulu Hawaii
Name
MattH808
Boat
Seacraft 23
Matt and crew, good going on the mahis. Bummers losing a lure and the donkey but it happens, you'll get em next time. Bang stick works great on crazy marlin. Either gin pole to get in the boat or tie em up and tow the fish in.

Thanks Darren! What is a Gin pole?
 
Upvote 0

patfishhi

Registered User
Sep 20, 2007
3,869
1,278
62
Oahu
Name
Pat
Boat
32' Blackfin "Kai Nana"
Thanks Pat! Is there a way to get the Marlin over the transom with twin outboards?

View attachment 1018026 View attachment 1018027
Probably not; you could try right outboard of either engine and over the corner. Probably bugger up the engine somewhat. A Gin Pole is common on East Coast boats where they are boating Giants (BFTs). It's a very well anchored vertical pole with a pad eye at the top with a come-along (or such) to give you a mechanical advantage. Any type of mechanical advantage is better than not.
Oh and by the way; technically you did get a catch and release; once you grabbed the leader it qualified. Trust me I know that brings no solace.

Nice Seacraft.

Cheers
Pat
 
Last edited:
Upvote 0

Morris Lures

Pirate
Feb 17, 2010
730
133
Mililani, Hawaii
Name
Nick
Boat
FORCE 27 "Mo'olelo"
Good going on the Mahi's Matt and crew. I always look at it from a positive. You might have lost a fish, but did you gained some type of knowledge on fighting and landing a great fish like that. If you learned something out of it than it was still worth it in the end. I'm sure a lot of us on here have lost more fish than we care to remember lol. Im sure I have.

With Marlins I try to find out what side are they hooked on. You don't want them to be hooked on the outside of there mouth when they are coming in. It makes it a hell of a lot harder to finish the job when they are always trying to roll over the line.

Also with marlins its easier to finish the deal with the boat in a slow idle forward. They tend to keep swimming and if you want them to come upright next to the boat keep it in idle forward. Try not to pull there head above the water until you got a gaff in them. If they hit some air not of their choice they tend to freak. Most important of all never have the bill pointing at you or anyone. They can be deadly.

Good luck and safe fishing this summer.
 
Upvote 0

MattH808

Newbie
Mar 10, 2019
32
55
37
Honolulu Hawaii
Name
MattH808
Boat
Seacraft 23
Good going on the Mahi's Matt and crew. I always look at it from a positive. You might have lost a fish, but did you gained some type of knowledge on fighting and landing a great fish like that. If you learned something out of it than it was still worth it in the end. I'm sure a lot of us on here have lost more fish than we care to remember lol. Im sure I have.

With Marlins I try to find out what side are they hooked on. You don't want them to be hooked on the outside of there mouth when they are coming in. It makes it a hell of a lot harder to finish the job when they are always trying to roll over the line.

Also with marlins its easier to finish the deal with the boat in a slow idle forward. They tend to keep swimming and if you want them to come upright next to the boat keep it in idle forward. Try not to pull there head above the water until you got a gaff in them. If they hit some air not of their choice they tend to freak. Most important of all never have the bill pointing at you or anyone. They can be deadly.

Good luck and safe fishing this summer.


Thanks Nick! That's definitely good advice about keeping their head in the water. That may have been what woke him up when we were leadering him in for the gaff. Something definitely happened to change his attitude at the end.
 
Last edited:
Upvote 0

MattH808

Newbie
Mar 10, 2019
32
55
37
Honolulu Hawaii
Name
MattH808
Boat
Seacraft 23
Nice ride!! Seacraft Seafari!! Looks mint condition for older hull!!

Thanks! I bought it from a friend who had it for 20 years and took really good care of it. Then when I bought it I spent the first few months restoring the paint and wood back to their original luster and doing the neccessary upgrades. Now I'm ready to get her bloody!
 
Upvote 0

DennisV

I Should Upgrade My Account
Jan 4, 2017
1,004
1,610
63
Paloma, CA
Name
Dennis Vagt
Boat
Just a NuCanoe Frontier now.
Have your harpoon tip attached to a 2 ft. Diameter orange float with a 10 ft rope.
Have 2 rigged like that.
Any fish goes nuts when they get harpooned. The float gets tossed over the instant you stick him. If your line parts, you still have a good chance of getting him.

Remember the yellow barrels in the Jaws movie ?
 
  • Like
Reactions: MattH808
Upvote 0

shbite

kailua lures
Apr 8, 2009
574
195
kailua hi
Name
steve
Boat
19 glass pro
Thanks! I bought it from a friend who had it for 20 years and took really good care of it. Then when I bought it I spent the first few months restoring the paint and wood back to their original luster and doing the neccessary upgrades. Now I'm ready to get her bloody!
Love those boats my friend has one the strike ratio for Marlin on that thing is ridiculously good
 
  • Like
Reactions: MattH808
Upvote 0

grander007

I Should Upgrade My Account
May 10, 2007
1,862
178
Honolulu
Name
zzzz
Boat
46, Bertram, Deep Blue
nice boat!

I have found with all pelagic fish the more forward momentum the boat has within reason the better..... everyone slips up and luck is definitely involved....... seen the pros go to neutral w/out thinking and bam the fish is in the props

you'll get em next time!

tight lines,
 
  • Like
Reactions: MattH808
Upvote 0

la vida

Now I love our Prezzz!!!
Jun 28, 2006
5,642
1,002
El Cazonn on way to Florida
Name
Frank F
Boat
Boat-less (Sad)
Sounds like you had a great day!
I'm Puerto Vallarta we keep the boat moving and plane the fish up. Wish we could use harpoons in Mexico and Southern California .

But often the Fish wins. But you got to hook and fight her. And that's why we go offshore!
Cool!
 
  • Like
Reactions: MattH808
Upvote 0

Free Bill

Almost A Member
Nov 16, 2017
133
234
40
Oahu
Name
Kyle
Boat
27 Grady
1st off. You did it right using a 50. Nice
2nd. You did it right by not killing the fish.

Nice release even if it was accidental. You had the leader Thats a catch. They dont have to be killed to be considered a catch.
 
Upvote 0

chuck merkel

Member
Jun 18, 2007
468
202
Hawaii
Name
Chuck Merkel
Boat
21 foot Force Marine, Joslyn M
Lots of good advice here. Another sign that a marlin is tired is that it will be on its side. If it is still swimming upright it will be much more active and difficult to handle - even seemingly smaller fish can over power you.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MattH808
Upvote 0

grander007

I Should Upgrade My Account
May 10, 2007
1,862
178
Honolulu
Name
zzzz
Boat
46, Bertram, Deep Blue
also I would add, if you are serious about raising your odds on big fish, I would upsize to 80s or 130s; there are those that are into the sporting aspect and fish 50s, usually w/higher test line, and when it is stand up I can understand that path; however, the sheer physics of torque and size are why so many local fishermen have opted for 130s......... just sayin
I'm sure the poster formerly known as 'no need for 80s' will chime in here as well

do you want to be over-gunned on must fish but ready for the true monster? that is the ?

tight lines,
 
Upvote 0

MattH808

Newbie
Mar 10, 2019
32
55
37
Honolulu Hawaii
Name
MattH808
Boat
Seacraft 23
also I would add, if you are serious about raising your odds on big fish, I would upsize to 80s or 130s; there are those that are into the sporting aspect and fish 50s, usually w/higher test line, and when it is stand up I can understand that path; however, the sheer physics of torque and size are why so many local fishermen have opted for 130s......... just sayin
I'm sure the poster formerly known as 'no need for 80s' will chime in here as well

do you want to be over-gunned on must fish but ready for the true monster? that is the ?

tight lines,

Eventually that's where I'm going to head but in the meantime with all the costs of buying a new boat Financial constraints are keeping me from jumping all in on 6 or 7 new 80's and I'm kind of leery about buying used gear until I know a little better what I'm looking at. I inherited a couple 50's with the boat and got a couple more for a bargain so at least for my first year that's what I have to learn on.
 
Upvote 0

Free Bill

Almost A Member
Nov 16, 2017
133
234
40
Oahu
Name
Kyle
Boat
27 Grady
also I would add, if you are serious about raising your odds on big fish, I would upsize to 80s or 130s; there are those that are into the sporting aspect and fish 50s, usually w/higher test line, and when it is stand up I can understand that path; however, the sheer physics of torque and size are why so many local fishermen have opted for 130s......... just sayin
I'm sure the poster formerly known as 'no need for 80s' will chime in here as well

do you want to be over-gunned on must fish but ready for the true monster? that is the ?

tight lines,
I already did chime in on page 1. But since I am getting another shot at it..... Here is a estimated 400 plus pound black I caught and released a few weeks ago on a Shimano Talica 30. The main line (orange) was only 30 pound test. You dont need big ass reels that you leave in the gunnels. 50s are fine. Its really not that hard if you have an experienced capt at the wheel and you take your time.

But if your in it for the meat or you get that 700 pound plus (once in a life time fish) then the big stuff makes perfect sense. To each his own.

D31DEE50-4816-4AFB-9682-EC45F614F523.png 4F5330A8-6208-4CE5-BC8A-7854017AFDD7.png 13B0FB8D-216C-41BB-9445-7E980E9F7D18.jpeg
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: myroncuz
Upvote 0

Windward808

Newbie
Jul 4, 2016
51
24
51
Kaneohe
Name
David
Boat
Yellowfin
Good going! An adventure you will remember. My advice is to be super careful taking wraps. Decent gloves will give you a good enough grip. First big marlin we caught next day I bought a bang stick. Agree with keeping boat in gear. We probably stay at 4 knots or so - above idle.
 
Upvote 0