On September 2nd, we had my friend Jeff Stafford and his wife on board for a holoholo day to give the boat a run before I snuck away to Europe for a few weeks on vacation. The first day of the Hawaii Marlin Tournament Series ‘It’s a Wrap’ tournament was running on this day too, and fishing seemed pretty slow for the fleet from what I was hearing on the radio, but we were still optimistic and the vibes were great amongst the team.
We had a look in all the usual spots down south without seeing anything too promising, the water was quite dirty by Kona standards with huge amounts of algal bloom in at least the upper parts of the water column. We made our way back up the line and from what I could tell, the water seemed cleaner on the inside than the outside so I made my final run for the day up the 300 fathom line. Chip was up in the bridge with me and watching the spread as we reached an area known as the Pocket, when I saw his reaction followed by “Short rigger! Decent sized hole!” The fish had once again piled on our TANTRUM Large Bandit on the short rigger and I turned around to see a fish of around 300lb jumping right at us, requiring me to gun the boat ahead. It then did a sharp turn and jumped across the long side of our lure spread so Chip had his hands full down there clearing lines and Jeff was doing a great job of keeping everything tight during the craziness. After the crazy jumps in every direction it took off away from us at speed and thankfully Chip had the stinger and short corner in allowing me to start chasing the fish hard in reverse. We were full on fuel but the G&S still backs up great and with some high speed winding from Jeff we were on top of the fish in no time. Jeffro had a nice load on the rod now and gave it a little shot of drag which had the desired effect – the angle raced up to the surface and we were once again in hot pursuit. Jeff had the leader to Chip’s gloved hands and he had the feisty 300 pounder boat side for some photos. After a few violent head shakes we had the hook out and released the fish in a very healthy state. Good fun!