A rainbow showed bright against the green, vegetation-lined cliffs of the southern end of the island of Kauai. It was a beautiful, land-to-water arc that was incredibly vibrant, displaying all of itscolors with an unusual intensity. I saw it so clearly because my senses were on overdrive as a 20-lb. mahi-mahi was stripping the backing line off my fly reel at a knob-blurring rate that would have him in Japan shortly if I couldn’t turn him.
He had struck with a bone-jarring, rod-bending slam that got my immediate attention. The first run is best handled by pointing the rod at the running fish and letting him have his way. Reaching down to the right side of the Delta reel, I tightened the drag a bit. I knew this would put more pressure on the leader, but I knew the 100-lb. fluorocarbon could take it.
Sure enough, the fish slowed down a bit as the increased load started to take its toll. The minute I felt him tire a bit, I raised the slender wand and put an arc in it to provide shock resistance.
Up he came, his blue-green back shimmering in the sunlight, his bright golden sides illustrating why the Spanish named this fish Dorado. He whipped his big bull head back and forth, trying to shake the hook from his jaw. He crashed back to the surface, water flying everywhere as he made a hole in the ocean.
The gigantic swells we were wallowing through made standing on thestern deck a balancing act. The thigh-high rails allowed me to lean into the fish at the same time keeping me aboard.
The fish decided he wanted to make another move. Turning one hundred and eighty degrees, he launched into a high-speed dart just under the surface, running back toward the harbor of Lihue. Now I started to let the rod do its work. I raised the tip and and let it bounce a bit giving the mahi-mahi not only the line drag but the resistance of the rod itself.