Big Island Grander Number 3 for 2015

photos courtesy of Damien Ching

An excited group of five friends on the Hilo boat Liberty Dream made history on Monday when they boated a 1,010-pound Pacific blue marlin.  The “grander” was only the fourth Hilo marlin weighing over 1,000 pounds on the official list kept by Hawaii Fishing News.  Hilo fishermen had weighed a 1,212-pounder in 1995, a 1,000 in 1998, and a 1,190 in 2001.  For 2015, this is the third blue for the Big Island, fourth for Hawaii, and sixth in the entire world.

The Liberty Dream is a 25-foot trailer boat made in Hilo by Force Marine.  When the big fish hit, owner Paul Andrade was glad to have four experienced anglers aboard to help out during the 3 and 1/2 hour fight. After the fish struck a 9-inch lure and raced off with a quarter mile of line, anglers Damien Ching, Chante Ching, Gilbert Abalos and Levi Boteilho took turns working it back to the boat.  The fish stayed on the surface throughout the grueling battle. Because it never dove more than 20 or 30 fathoms down, they never had to risk breaking the 130-pound test line by winching the half-ton fish up out of the depths.

After they were finally able to secure the grander with gaffs, the fishermen were unable to muscle its 13-foot-long bulk aboard.  Instead, they tied it off to the swim step and towed it 30-miles back from their offshore fishing spot.1010scale

The Suisan market was closed so it looked like they might never be able to get an official weight.  Luckily, a friend had a boom truck and another had a certified digital scale. Without a true weight, they would have guessed it at about 800 pounds and never known the reality of their amazing catch, according to Damien Ching.

Jim Rizzuto’s Kona Fishing Chronicles column appears in West Hawaii Today every Monday.

Hawaii Fishing News Grander List

3 Responses

  1. Jim Rizzuto

    Thanks for a great story, Dickie. One of the reasons for posting the new grander story is to attract other stories that have not been shared. You should definitely send the facts on your catch to Chuck at Hawaii Fishing News so he can add it to the list. We would be happy to hear about the other granders you mentioned, too. Details, please.

  2. Dickie Devine

    Hi Jim,
    I know of at least three other granders caught off Hilo, and I’m know there were more that went unnoticed. The one I had a part in was in 1983, ahi fishing with Mel Brown on the MidPac 30, when we heard a call on the CB from Doc Nowaki. His partner had been fighting a large fish for four hours, which had eaten a ten pound ahi on the dowrigger, and was hoping someone out there could assist or he was going to cut the line as it was getting near sunset. We called back that we would be there as soon as we could, and started looking for him (pre GPS days). We found him 5 miles outside Keaau Bay. Brownie jumped on board, and before touching the line, got reassured by Doc that they weren’t concerned about a record, and began to handline the marlin to the boat (an impressive performance, believe me). He got the fish up in about 30 minutes, tossed the gaff rope and the tail rope over to me on the MidPac30, then Mel, in jeans and rubber boots, jumped to the fish with one leap, and bounded to our boat, barely getting wet except for his boots (I was rather impressed with the leap which left a footprint on the marlin, and Brownie explained he used to be a lumberjack in Oregon!). So Doc headed back to Hilo, and we summoned another ahi boat in the area to come over and help us get the fish into our boat. We draped the fish across the back deck, and the four of us had a beer, while leaning on the marlin like a big couch, before blowing back to Hilo. The seas were a little rough, normal Hilo, but with the extra weight we were able to go full throttle, and surfed easily down the 8 foot easterly swells as we headed toward Hilo Bay. As we turned past the end of the breakwater, who should we pass but Doc Nowaki, who had just made it back as the sun was setting.
    We hauled the fish to Brownie’s shop, Hawaii Tuna, and had to cut it in half to weigh it on the commercial scale. It netted out at 1060 without all the abdominal fluids which were lost when cutting it.
    Aloha, Dickie