What a day on Kaua'i waters! It was a day that our Goodfellow Bros. Inc. (GBI) crew will never forget. The Kaua'i Region crew set sail to do a little team building and celebrate all the work accomplished to-date this busy season. We didn't anticipate their biggest team challenge reeling in a record-sized marlin--would be right around the corner.
The TAIPAN V, a 50' Hatteras skippered by 33-year veteran Capt. Steven Yamasaki and crewed by Dennis Silva and Larry Hutchins, left Nawiliwili Harbor at 6 a.m. on Saturday, July 14, 2018. Our crew consisted of GBI staff and members of the Operators Local 3 and Laborers Local 368, including me, Tristan, and Jane Gonzales, Peter and Lyndsey Kahale, Micah Higashi, Austin Parinas-Kenney and Siosaia Talakai.
At 2 p.m., the boat was outside of Makahuena on the 500-fathom ledge on the way back to Lihu'e when an absolute monster of a fish hit the center lure. The fight was on! I was first on the Shimano Tiagra 130 reel and could not believe the size of the fish as it went airborne. It looked like a sea monster! It was the biggest fish I'd ever seen! I was just hoping the hook sank to give us a fighting chance to land this fish.
From the start, our crew knew it was going to require a team effort to reel it in. Every person on the boat either took a turn on the reel or shouted words of encouragement down from the flying bridge. Peter, Saia, Micah and Austin all gave it their best on the reel. Dennis and Larry pulled on the line with all they had. Lyndsey and Jane took the amazing photos and video that documented the battle.
Our team was able to reel the fish next to the boat five times, but the fish would not give up easily. It fought each time and escaped with such incredible speed and power, we thought the spool might not have enough line. Two different times, in an incredible display of resistance, the fish went airborne, shaking its mighty head, hoping to lose the hook that was set deep in its mouth. But the hooks stayed true, and after an hour and a half we were able to finally bring the marlin to the boat, gaff her, and bring her on board.
It took all seven men to drag this monster of a fish onto the TAIPAN V's stern deck while Capt. Yamasaki yelled, "Heave ho! Pull, you suckers, pull! I want my 1,000-pounder on the boat!" It was an amazing effort by everyone on board and a fish for the record books.
This blue marlin, now known as the "Yamasaki Grander," weighed in at 1,073 lbs and was caught on July 14, 2018, from the TAIPAN V. It ranks as the 65th largest blue marlin ever taken in the state. Per the HAWAII FISHING NEWS list of Hawai'i ganders, it is the second largest blue marlin ever taken from Kaua'i waters.
Our crew went into work mode after the fish was weighed. We set the fish down on the dock and started cutting her up. It took us about an hour to "fillet" the fish, if that's what you call cutting up a fish of that size. We immediately started giving away fish to everyone that came down to the harbor. I'm pretty sure everyone on Kaua'i has marlin in their freezer or smoker right now!
It was a very emotional catch for Capt. Yamasaki. He has 33 years of experience skippering boats, and this was the first grander that he landed. Truly, it was a special achievement, which is why we named the fish the Yamasaki Grander.
This was one fishing trip that will live on in the record books and in the memories of the crew. No fishing tales here; only the real thing--the unbelievable catch that did not get away! The Yamasaki Grander! Hana pa'a! . . . Tristan Gonzales