By Mike House,
On December 30, 1999, Bill Widdoes of Pennsylvania, USA chartered Lahaina based Start Me Up via the booking services of Sportfish Hawaii. Start Me Up, owned by Doug Armfield and skippered that day by Captain Allen Abdill, obtained a permit to pick up the group in Manele Bay on the island of Lanai where they were staying, and through the course of the day they fished K buoy, MC bouy and the frontage areas off the small, beautiful tropical island. A Blue Marlin bite and two Striped Marlin bites were tallied for the group, with one Stripe pulling the hooks and another being voluntarily released after an enjoyable fight. The estimated 375 pound Blue Marlin was released at about noon on the 30th, and since we were unable to locate any Blues released after this date and time, we have proclaimed Start Me Up as the winner for the crown of final tagged Blue of the Millennium.
On New Years Day 2000, the vessel Maui Jim, skippered by Tom Casey, ventured out for a little gamefishing off Lanais South shore as well. At 1:30 pm on January 1, 2000, they released an estimated 275-pound Blue Marlin which appears to be the first released Blue of the new Millennium. A few Blues were taken in a tournament in Kona on New Years, and Sportfish Hawaii previously reported on the first overall Blue taken in Tonga, however, by all accounts to date there were no other Blues released that day. Owner Walter Hester apparently requested the release of his skipper for good luck, and it paid off almost immediately in the form of a 600 plus pounder caught only a few days later with the Vice President of the PGA on board.
In an interesting coincidence, Start Me Up and Maui Jim were recently involved in another double-header. During the Big Island Invitational Marlin Tournament in Kona last year, Maui Jim landed a 550.0 pound Marlin good for about $34,000.00 while Start Me Up landed a 423.5 pound Blue good for $43,700.00. Both boats crossed the Alenuihaha Channel and visited Kona from Lahaina last summer and entered several of the larger events, the BII being first. During the tournament, Maui Jims fish was caught the second day, while Start Me Ups was caught on day three. Start Me Up won more prize money by virtue of the optional entry categories.
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