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    Kona Hawaii fishing report – Feb. ’06 wrap-up…

    The winter season is nearing the end and it`s been a very mild winter so far. This is stormy season for Hawaiian waters but so far we`ve been blessed with flat waters almost all winter. The striped marlin never really came in this season. We had a few spurts of `em but nothing consistent. This make two years in a row of a slim stripie run and that followed three years of really good runs. We know very little about where the Hawaii striped marlin come from and go. Hawaii is such a small dot in the middle of a big ocean that I guess it can easily be passed by. Too bad the striped marlin aren`t more like the Humpback whales with a built in GPS.

    Mahi mahi has dominated the winter catch totals and that’s a little odd because when the water gets to be on the cold side (76) they usually aren`t around but we have had a lot of floating debris coming by the island. Nets, ropes, logs and with that stuff is usually mahi mahi no matter what the water temp. Spearfish is running a close 2nd to the mahi mahi catch and there has been blue marlin scattered (as usual) throughout the winter months.

    The bottom bite hasn`t been anything spectacular lately but I did catch the biggest amberjack of my career last month. Weighing in at 131 lbs., it`s the biggest amberjack caught since the new state record of 145 lbs. was caught in `02. The amount of sharks hanging around in the main bottom fishing area has lowered and the commercial snapper fishermen are liking that. Myself, I`d rater have some big sharks to fight. If you`re looking for a good battle, my personal experience is that between a marlin and a shark of the same weight, the shark usually fights longer and harder. While a marlin has the potential to be the tougher fight, they usually wear themselves out at the beginning of the battle and are pretty tired by the time you get them to the boat. With sharks, it`s near the boat when anglers need to be on their game and muster all the strength they can to get it to the boat and get the job done. While at leader next to the boat, sharks are usually more gentile and less dangerous than a P.O.`d marlin ……. As long as give up on thinking about getting your hook back.

    See ‘ya on the water,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers ,
    Kona Hawaii fishing

  • #2
    Kona Hawaii fishing report – M

    Kona Hawaii fishing report – March wrap-up .

    Big billfish top this months fishing report. Kona’s biggest blue, biggest striped marlin, biggest spearfish and biggest sailfish for the year were caught this March. There actually were several big blues caught this month and the biggest was Kona’s first “grander” of the year weighing in at 1,049 lbs. and boated on the Sea Genie II by angler Tommy Werner. Other marlin estimated as granders were also reported as fought and lost this month. While this typically isn’t the time of year known for big billfish, it’s proved many times through the years that a run of big ones can happen anytime. With that, just when we thought the striped marlin season was over, a run on those came in also. The biggest of the year was caught on the Hookele weighing in at 138 lbs. I got my fair share of stripe action too. Although very good eating, I released all of them this month, my biggest estimated at about 120 lbs. I still maintain the biggest stripe of the decade so far weighing in at 186 lbs. Each winter I stand a chance of loosing that claim but so far, so good. The biggest spearfish of the year came in early this month and weighted in at 63 lbs. Sailfish are rare in Hawaii and the boat that caught this years biggest one (so far) at 84 lbs. is even more rare. A 15’ Hobie Power Skiff with a 50 HP. outboard motor. The sailfish jumped into the boat during the fight and landed in the lap of one of the two occupants who was sitting on a bucket. No injury was reported. .

    Mahi mahi season has started and though Kona maintained a fair amount of mahi mahi throughout the winter, we should be seeing even more in the months to come. The ono seem to be biting lately also. Small bigeye and yellowfin tuna are still on the buoys and ledges and March even produced some blind strike big yellowfin weighing well over 100 lbs. .

    The bottom bite has been slow. The main reason I think is that the baitfish have been rather large this season and the bottom fish running rather small. Sharks and jacks usually run in the 40 to 100+ lb. range but there seems to be a bunch of small ones down there this year. Jigging has been the key to getting ‘em and I’m sure glad that Shimano started promoting the “Butterfly Jig System” in the US recently. I’ve been using the Japanese style jigs for almost 10 years now. The problem was that I could only get good jigs by bumming them from my Japanese jigging clients. In the US, you could get Diamond, Tady and Salas jigs and it was even harder to find them in the size and weight it takes to deep jig the Kona waters. The Shimano jigs work much better by design and are now available at two of our local tackle shops. The jigs are expensive as are the hooks and connecting rings but the price is well worth it. The reels that they promote for jigging are expensive too. Instead of Shimano reels, I’ve been using self-modified Penn 9500 spinning reels and 5’5” spinning rods for years. The trick on the Penn reel is to install a 2nd silent anti-reverse dog and Loc-tite all the screws and nuts. Jigging is really hard on a reel and if you just take a 9500 out of the box and go jigging, it may not even last a single day. I also attach a 2nd handle. By shimming the handles up so they face the same direction, it really balances out the reel and it’s much easier on the arms after a long day of jigging and a lot of fights. If anyone wants more information on my mods, shoot me an email. Jigging isn’t just tough on equipment, it’s also tough on the body. If you really get into this aggressive style of jigging, you’re in for a work-out. When just one arm starts looking like it belongs to Popeye, you may want to take my 2 handle advise. It’s IGFA legal!

    See ‘ya on the water,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers ,
    Kona Hawaii fishing

    Comment


    • #3
      Kona Hawaii fishing report – A

      Kona Hawaii fishing report – April wrap up –

      The blue marlin bite remained pretty decent in April. Not as many big ones as last month and the overall total seemed to be less but it’s not even the start of peak blue marlin season yet. If the pre-season numbers and sizes are any indicator of what’s to come this summer, Kona again will prove to be the Pacific Blue Marlin capital of the world. There were even some straggler striped marlins caught this month. The spearfish bite should be at its peak right now but there aren’t many around. They came in early this year so I’m sure we’ll be seeing that bite going hot and cold for the next couple of months for spearfish. .

      Mahi mahi tops this months report as the most common catch. We’re right in the middle of the peak spring run on those. Normally the fall season run produces the bigger mahi mahi and the spring season run is the smaller schoolie dolphin. The average size being caught this spring season is pretty big with most weighing over 15 lbs. and the average being close to 20. Ono season is starting off with a bang. We’re just at the beginning of the season for them now. Last year the ono bite started off real good at the beginning of the season but went to almost no ono being caught in the peak season. Because of what happened last year, you won’t be getting any predictions from me on how that bite is going to turn out this year. It’s just a “wait-n-see” on that one. .

      The bottom bite has picked up pretty good. Lot’s of big sharks in the area also. After catching and releasing a 120 lb. amberjack earlier this week, we hooked up another close to the same size right after and it was eaten in one quick gulp by one of those big eating machines. Just the day before in the same area, we caught a giant trevally and a tiger shark followed it right up to the boat. All I could say is that it was HUGE! If you’re looking to catch something that’s a lot bigger than you are, Sharks (also known as tax collectors around here) are the guaranteed catch right now. Last month I mentioned jigging and the modifications I’ve made to the Penn 9500. I did get some emails about it so I made a page up on my web site showing the mods and added a really good knot for joining braided line to mono. The URL is FISHinKONA.com/jigging.htm and there will be more info being added as time permits. Because of the sharks in the area, I’ve had to put jigging on hold. As I said last month, those Shimano jigs are expensive. The tax collectors (sharks) cost me way too much this month. Anyone else feel that way in April? .

      See ‘ya on the water,
      Capt. Jeff Rogers ,
      Kona Hawaii Sport Fishing

      Comment


      • #4
        Kona Hawaii fishing report – M

        Kona Hawaii fishing report – May wrap-up –

        The most common billfish being caught right now is spearfish. While good eating, they’re not what the common angler is trying to attain while fishing Kona waters. The coast is loaded with bait schools right now. Aku and shibi popping up out of nowhere and others being marked by bird piles from near shore to beyond the horizon. Now all we need is the blue marlin and ahi to find `em. There have been only a few marlin around and a few “blind strike” ahi catches. There has been a porpoise school outside the harbor and South that has produced some ahi also but with the abundance of bait in the water, when the summer yellowfin & blues do show up, there will be plenty of reason for them to stick around.

        Ono are beating out the mahi mahi right now as the most common catch but not by much. Both are in abundance so overall, adding in the spearfish bite, the bite is pretty good. A great opportunity for those looking to take home some fresh island fish or just to have some back at the condo. I cover how to get the fish home on the FAQ page on my web site.

        With the trolling bite being what it is, I haven’t been devoting much time to bottom fishing. On days that I have done it though, it’s been a quick and easy bite. The sharks are still abundant as are the amberjacks and almaco jacks. Jigging has been the quickest method for getting a bite but costly when the sharks rob you of not just the fish you’re fighting but your jig, hook and rings for a total about $30 and another trip to the tackle shop. I hear there are some cheaper jigs available in one of our local shops so I’ll be giving those a try when my expensive ones all get eaten. With tying my own trapper hooks now and jigs available for just over $10 (if they work), now I can loose twice as much tackle before I get pissed! Oh, did I say that out loud? My fingers were just typing away and it came out. Hope I’m not violating this forums vulgarity policy. If a moderator thinks it is, please insert “very very very very angry” where that other word is

        See ‘ya on the water,
        Capt. Jeff Rogers ,
        Kona Hawaii Sport Fishing

        Comment


        • #5
          Kona Hawaii fishing report – J

          Kona Hawaii fishing report – June wrap-up -

          The marlin have arrived. Blue marlin of all sizes – small to grander. Yes, there was a 1075 pounder caught and there have been reports of other 1000+ marlin fought/lost and one even caught, at the boat floating belly up dead but due to the incompetence of one of the crew, it slowly sank to the bottom with a bunch of shallow gaff holes and one gaff still in it. It was definitely a sad tale to hear and extremely frustrating for the angler and the one experienced crewman who, like many of us has yet to attain that coveted “grander” status. I congratulated the guys that did land that 1075 pounder this month and asked my long time friend Steve “How long did it take you to get it?” His answer “22 years Jeff.” A lot has to go right to subdue an animal that big. Most of the time it just can’t be done and the fish wins. Sometimes the boat wins and on rare occasion, they both loose. Personally, I’ve never even had a decent shot at getting one. I’ll continue to dream of that day though. The spearfish are here in full force and something very strange, the striped marlin came back. Normally a striped marlin caught in the summer is a rare thing here but several are being caught now. For those billfish huggers that are appalled about us killing a few (I almost always get comments from them), lighten up! We release many more than we kill (and eat). Unlike the longliners that kill thousands just to toss them back into the water dead. If you really want to make a difference, do something to shut those guys down instead of wagging your finger at us small time operators.

          Ahi season has arrived also. This is the time of year that we get the “blind strike” yellowfin tuna. One of the exciting things about this time of year is that when a reel starts screaming, it could be just about anything on the line. There are still some mahi mahi around and some ono being caught in the deep. Small yellowfin and bigeye tuna on the buoys and those “blind strike” tuna are usually yellowfin over 100 lbs.

          Sharks are dominating the depths right now. If you hook up anything other than a shark down there, you better be quick to get it up. Sharks can really move fast but as a general rule, they swim slowly acting like time is on their side. Almost every fish we hook that isn’t a shark will either get attacked right away or will have a shark following it right up to the boat. Slow down your (fast) retrieve rate just a little and your fish (and maybe your jig) is gone. Last month I talked about cheaper jigs. Yes, they work real good and yes, I’ve lost them all + some of the expensive ones to shark attacks. Back to the tackle shop today to get more of those cheap ones and some more hooks. I did some work on my jigging page (FISHinKONA.com/jigging.htm) and illustrate how to tie your own trapper hooks. The cheap jig (lost the last one yesterday to a shark) is in the bottom photo, the jig on the left.

          See ‘ya on the water or maybe the tackle shop,
          Capt. Jeff Rogers ,
          Kona Hawaii Sport Fishing

          Comment


          • #6
            Kona Hawaii fishing report – J

            Kona Hawaii fishing report – July wrap-up –

            As I said last month, the marlin are here. The full moon on the 10th and premium water conditions made for some really good fishing. The Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament, one of the most famous tournaments in the world was held this week. A five day tournament and it got off to a slow start. The week before the tournament started the current was switching and an influx of cold water hit the Kona coast. It shut the bite down to almost nothing. As the week progressed, the current became steadier, the water warmed up and the bite turned back on. Several billfish were tagged and released including many spearfish and striped marlin. There was another “grander” blue marlin (1027 lbs.) caught this week but not by a boat that was in the tournament. I’m not sure how many granders that makes for the year so far but I know of at least five. That’s a big improvement over the past few years.
            .
            The ono were biting pretty good until the current switched. They’ve scattered offshore so most that are being caught are being caught in the deep. Ahi and mahi mahi have also been a fairly common offshore catch for July. Trolling offshore for the day is almost a guarantee of getting hit. Getting them to stick on the hook has been a common complaint. Getting anglers to get one to the boat without loosing them has been a problem I’ve been having lately.
            .
            Jigging has been working better than bait for targeting the bottom. Not many sharks around anymore. Almaco jack and amberjack are the most common jig catch but you never know what else will hit a jig. Ono and snapper were a couple of recent jig catches but the one that really sticks in my head was just a light hit. After the hit, the jig felt heavy but not like there was a fish on it. When I got the jig up I found it snapped in two with the inner wire holding the halves together in the shape of an L. No marks on the jig whatsoever. Whatever hit the jig had a lot of speed and power but it must have missed with it’s mouth. I figure any fish head butting a 12oz. jig at high speed would probably be knocked out cold. I’ll never know what it was but I can imagine it would have been a pretty funny thing to see.
            .
            See ‘ya on the water,
            Capt. Jeff Rogers ,
            Kona Hawaii Sport Fishing

            Comment


            • #7
              Kona Hawaii fishing report – S

              Kona Hawaii fishing report – Sept. ’06 wrap-up.

              For those loyal readers of the Kona Hawaii fishing report, Sorry that there was no August ’06 wrap-up. I was on vacation for most of August. The beginning of the month wasn’t looking too good anyway and although I did keep in contact with a few of the captains during my vacation, it doesn’t appear that I missed much of a bite during August. Many people ask me “where do you go on vacation if you live in Hawaii”? To visit relatives that do not live in Hawaii of course. People also ask if I fish while on vacation. YEP! I fished almost every day this time. Also got in some white water kayaking, skydiving, flew around my brothers gyrocopter (a lot) and got to fly (with an instructor) a trike (powered hang glider) for the first time. Hey, if you’re not catching big fish in Hawaii, it’s real hard to find anything else that can come close to the thrill!
              .
              So, on to the September wrap-up. I think this is a crack up. I’m sitting here with writers block wondering what I can say about the month. I started wondering about last September so decided to look at last years report. What I found really made me laugh because it’s the same as this year. Here’s a quote from the ’05 report: “Fishing in September is really a gamble in Kona. I was just looking at my September fishing report from last year along with my own catch records from September ’04. What I saw prompted me to go ahead and look at my ’03 and ’02 reports also. I did find somewhat of a pattern. September is a good month for marlin overall but the bite seems to turn on and off throughout the month. Not just a slow down or pick-up. I’m talking` a definite ON / OFF. It also seems to be one of the best months for big marlin. Several 500+ marlin are caught in September and this year proved it again with quite a few big marlin both brought in and many released.”
              And so the “pattern” continues. I had a shot at one of the big blues just a few days ago but it came off after straightening out the Mustad 12/0 stainless hook.

              The 100+ yellowfin bite was pretty good all month long. The porpoise schools holding them have been near shore and easy to find. Usually it’s just the first boats in the school that get bit. The ahi get shy (or wise) after the first bite but there a few captains (not me) here that constantly catch them every time (almost). They pick one or some out of the school even though the rest of the fleet is having no luck. It takes a lot of dedication to keep up with the ahi. They’re fast, smart, have excellent eye site and are picky eaters. That’s where skill and luck separate.

              Mahi mahi are a fairly common catch right now followed by just a few ono and spearfish. The mahi mahi seem to be small this year. The bottom bite has been slow this September. As you may have noticed from recent reports, I’ve been doing a lot more jigging lately. Jigs of all size and shapes are now (as of this year) available at the local tackle shops in Kona. I’m also testing some new jigging equipment. I’ve had some good catches with the jigs including a couple of ono recently, the biggest kawakawa I’ve ever seen (made Kona’s “Big Fish List”) and even tried for some of those fast, smart, eagle eye, picky eaters but it seems that only the younger and smaller ones are stupid enough to fall for a jig. I guess the big ones don’t get big for nothin’.

              See `ya on the water,
              Capt. Jeff Rogers ,
              Kona Hawaii fishing

              Comment


              • #8
                Kona Hawaii fishing report – O

                Kona Hawaii fishing report – October ’06 wrap-up:

                October has always been one of my favorite months to fish because of the variety of fish to be had. Last year was the first October in memory that was bad. I’m glad to see that it’s back to normal this year. The blue marlin bite has been pretty good this month! Probably out doing the so-called “peak season” of the summer months. I use the word “probably” because there is a major factor to be considered. In the summer, there are simply more boats being chartered because summer is when most people take vacation. October is slower for business but those that are getting charters and going out are having good action. Other billfish that have been showing up are spearfish and striped marlin. It’s late in the season for spearfish and early for Striped marlin. That’s one of the things that makes October so interesting. Yesterday a boat caught a sailfish. That’s a rare catch in Hawaii and I’m sure glad he boated it. Luckily he’s a generous captain and I got a fillet. I ate it sashimi style (raw) and it sure was tasty stuff!

                The mahi mahi have arrived on time this year. The Fall season mahi are usually bigger in size than the Spring chickens but at the beginning of the month we were only seeing small ones come in. That has now switched and the big ones are here! Another decent bite has been with yellowfin tuna in the porpoise schools. Not too many schools around but the ones that do show up are holding fish.

                The bottom bite has been slow for October. It’s usually a lot better. I see lots of small fish marks on the fish finder screen but a severe lack of bigger marks. The commercial bottom fishermen are complaining that they’re not getting the numbers of fish (snapper and grouper) that they normally get this time of year. Hmmmmm, consider this. The best bottom fishing grounds in Kona were also the epicenter of the big earthquake that hit Hawaii on October 15th. Maybe, like many of us land based critters that live near the epicenter (like me), they’re still busy cleaning up and rebuilding. Habitat is essential for fish populations and almost nothing destroys fish habitats (or human ones) like natural disasters do. A reef that took hundreds of years to build can be gone in a moment of time. I’ll stop short of agreeing to give the fish disaster relief funds though.

                See `ya on the water,
                Capt. Jeff Rogers ,
                Kona Hawaii fishing

                Comment


                • #9
                  Kona Hawaii fishing report – J

                  Kona Hawaii fishing report – Jan. ’07 wrap-up

                  The new year hasn`t shown us anything too impressive yet. This years biggest blue marlin stands at 611 lbs. the biggest striped marlin at 157 lbs. The marlin bite has been slow but we did have a nice run on spearfish at the beginning of the month and the biggest so far is 62 lbs. With the exception of the spearfish, the billfish bite just hasn`t been very good. As I said last month the striped marlin should be biting but it`s still early in the season for them and I have confidence that they`ll eventually show up.

                  Other fish that are still around although they really shouldn`t be here are the big yellowfin tuna and Otaru. These are summer fish and I mentioned in my December wrap-up that they were biting. They’re still here although the numbers are starting to decline. The mahi mahi are still around too.

                  The bottom bite has been the best bite going. The amberjack and almaco jack have made for some fast action. Live bait is the best to use but they’ve been in short supply. Dead bait just hasn`t been doing well for attracting the fish but the jigging has been HOT! Sharks moved in heavy in the middle of the month and made for some hard fights. They seem to be gone now. Another fish prized for it`s fighting ability is the Giant Trevally. Locally know as Ulua, these are one of the hardest fighting fish you can hook into. Early in the month we caught an 86.5 pounder on a jig. The fish swallowed the jig all the way down and the trapper hook (this is the only hook on the jig) barely stuck in just under it`s chin. That prevented the ulua from spitting out the jig. It’s one of those once in a life time lucky catches. It made the local paper as the biggest of the new year and didn`t even last `til the end of the month because another was caught just a week later weighing in at 90 lbs. Every year I take 1 to 3 positions on “The Big Fish List” of the 21 species listed. The list is filling fast and it looks like the competition this year is going to be tough. Lucky catches are a lot of fun and I`ve always said I`d rather be lucky than good any time but it takes more than luck to stay at the top. This year it looks like I’m going to need both.

                  See ‘ya on the water,
                  Capt. Jeff Rogers ,
                  Kona Hawaii Sport Fishing
                  http://FISHinKONA.com/trapped.htm

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Kona Hawaii fishing report – A

                    Kona Hawaii fishing report – April wrap-up.

                    April was a pretty weak trolling month overall with mahi mahi being the main catch but things are really looking up now. The ono run had started! I can’t say that it will stay in full swing through the summer but if the current run is any indicator of what’s to come, it’s going to be a good season. Another fish just coming into season is yellowfin tuna. There has been some caught almost daily in the porpoise schools but we’ll know the real run is happening when we start getting “blind strikes”. No indication that the yellowfin are even in the area and all the sudden one or more lines go off. Tuna surprise!

                    No matter how slow the trolling bite is in Kona you can always count on at least some marlin being caught here. That’s what makes Kona the Pacific blue marlin capitol of the world. A few big blues were landed in April although most were tagged and released. Striped marlin are scarce right now but still a couple a week coming in.

                    The bottom bite has been turning hot and cold. Normally the jacks are hanging on the edge of the ledges but bait schools running around is the flats, a very large area, have been scattering them and making them hard to find. A lot of big sharks have shown up too. Several 1000+ lb. tiger sharks have been spotted lately. One followed up an almaco jack that we brought in last Thursday but it was getting late in the day and not the type of people on board that could handle a big fight like that. I had several big shark fights in April and either pulled hook or broke terminal tackle on every one of them. I’ve been beefing up my rigs trying to prevent more failures but mostly it’s been a problem of me being too stingy with the drag at the end game. My anglers for the most part have been getting these huge sharks close to the boat but that’s when they go nuts, do a lot of thrashing and head shaking. It’s funny when anglers do that …… no no no, just kidding. Some of them have been less that happy that they didn’t get a chance to get a good shark photo though.

                    See ‘ya on the water,
                    Capt. Jeff Rogers ,
                    Kona Hawaii Sportfishing

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Kona Hawaii fishing report – M

                      Kona Hawaii fishing report – May wrap-up

                      May started off pretty slow but it ended with many nice catches. Several “Beast” blue marlin (over 500 lbs.) have been caught recently. Most are getting tagged and released. This is just one of the things that marks summer time in Kona. With the big females will also come many smaller male marlin to join in the fun. As I mentioned in last months report, the summer yellowfin tuna run is marked by “blind strikes” and that’s starting to happen now also. A few boats got a big surprise while trolling for ono this month when a school of big yellowfin tuna went cruising into the ono lane looking for breakfast. Everyone who was in the lane near the airport got multiple bites from 100+ lb. tuna. The lane is very close to shore and 40 to 60 fathoms deep. The big tuna usually don’t like coming in so close to shore but that particular area has a unique topography and as a result, often gets a mix of both near shore and off shore species. It was the hottest spot for ono around the middle of May and besides regular catches of tuna under 100 lbs., there were also some nice size mahi mahi caught in that same area.

                      In Kona, the speed and direction of the current is the most important factor when it comes to the bite being good or bad. Moon phase comes next followed by the tide height and times. The current was really weird in May and made the fishing very unpredictable. In many parts of the world, water temperature and tide changes are the most important factors. Here is Kona the tide is only about two feet and the water temperature remains about 80 degrees +/- four degrees between summer and winter. A temperature “break” is usually less than one degree and hardly a factor when fishing. The reason I’m mentioning this is that visiting fishermen will sometimes try to plan their particular day(s) of fishing around a moon phase or the solunar tables. I’ll admit that there is a slight factor there but in Kona, the current is the king and as far as I know, no one has figured out a way to predict what it will do. I suggest the high tech method of throwing a dart at the calendar.

                      The bottom bite has been pretty good for jacks and big sharks. These types of fish are a specialty of mine. In fact, I’m officially recognized as the discoverer of almaco jacks in Hawaiian waters (2002) and my oldest daughter caught a world and state record dusky shark that also was thought to be, but not proven to be in Hawaiian waters until her record catch in August 2000. While I do like trolling for billfish, tuna ono, mahi mahi and such, I’ve found with my years of experience that deep sea trolling is mostly just a game of luck. With bottom fishing, you can go where the fish live and get into some (almost) guaranteed fishing action. Doing both styles during the day mixes up the action and provides a bigger opportunity for a successful trip. Either way, luck or skill, come visit the flat blue waters of Kona and let’s catch some big ones.

                      See ‘ya on the water,
                      Capt. Jeff Rogers ,
                      Kona Hawaii Sport Fishing

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Kona Hawaii fishing report - August wrap-up

                        Kona Hawaii fishing report – August wrap-up.

                        Pacific blue marlin tops the list of the most common fish being caught in August. Sizes are ranging from just over 100 lbs. to just under 1000 lbs. Just like last month there were a few 900+ fish caught but that magical 1000 lb. mark has escaped many. Spearfish also had a decent showing in August and even some sailfish caught. Sailfish are a rare catch in Hawaii with only about a dozen caught in a year. There were at least half that many caught this month. There’s been some yellowfin tuna coming out of the South porpoise school (if you can find ‘em). Otaru (skipjack tuna over 10 lbs.) have been running in bird piles and up on the grounds. I know in some places of the world people don’t eat their local skipjack tuna but here in Hawaii, the meat (of the big ones) is quite good because of their diet. On the East side of the Big Island, you actually get more $ per pound for otaru than for yellowfin of the same size. The ono run that didn’t happen, well, it’s still not happening. I’m not giving up though. They could show up any time.

                        The bottom bite has been fairly consistent. The live bait bite has been best but the bait fish have been hard to find and catch. I get asked all the time about buying live bait. There’s no live bait business here so you’ve got to catch your own. Dead bait works sometimes but at other times, if it’s not live, they won’t touch it. That’s where jigging comes in. If you can’t get bait in a reasonable amount of time then the next option is to go jigging. Live bait averages bigger fish than jigs but jigging has it’s own rewards.

                        Last month I got some remarks about a statement I made in the July wrap-up. I said ”you can expect the sale of Marlin in Hawaii to be totally outlawed soon”. While some organizations and individuals are supporting this, it may not end up being a total ban and “soon” is a relative term. I you’re not familiar with the Magnuson-Stevens Act, I suggest you do a Google search for Magnuson-Stevens summary, click the top link and find out about it. Terms like National Fishery Management Program and Individual Fishing Quota Programs should get the attention of some of you. Back in my March report I told about Hawaii’s first ever seasonal closure for snapper and Hawaiian grouper. The Feds gave us an ultimatum. Either come up with your own regulations or we’ll come in there and make them for you. After Hawaii successfully met the Fed requirements by implementing its first ever bottom fishing closure areas, The Feds pushed for even tighter regs in this fishery. Whether they’ll be satisfied with the outcome of the latest area closure expansion and the current seasonal closure remains to be seen. This is just the tip of a whole bunch of regulations being forced on Hawaii. Next on the list looks like there will be stricter tuna regulations that probably include quotas. With billfish, the big decision for Hawaii seems to be either a slot limit or a total ban on the sale of billfish. Either way, we were told that if Hawaii doesn’t regulate billfish on it’s own by 2011, the Feds will do it for us. Look at the track record of both sides when it comes to fisheries management……
                        Looks like more bumpy seas.

                        See ‘ya on the water,
                        Capt. Jeff Rogers ,
                        http://fishinkona.com
                        Kona Hawaii Sport Fishing

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                        • #13
                          Kona Hawaii fishing report - Sept.

                          Kona Hawaii fishing report – September wrap-up.

                          September is typically the slowest tourist month of the year. The trolling bite on marlin was a bit slow too. Part of the reason was the lack of boats going out. You might think, well, not many boats out so there’s more fish for me but that’s not really how it works. Picture this: A map of the Kona coast and off shore in a 25 square mile area, make a dozen scattered blue pinpoint dots that represent marlin. Then make a dozen scattered black pinpoint dots representing boats. As these dots are set in slow moving motion, remember that they have to randomly touch each other for a hit (hopefully not boats colliding) to occur. The more dots of either blue or black, the more likely the chance of a hit. Take away some of either color of dots and the chances of a hit diminish. Yea, it would be great if there were tons of blue dots but that’s just not realistic. Take away half of the black dots and you’ll now see the chance of a hit decreases by a whole lot and the overall situation may look like there’s no fish around when the real reason is the lack of fishing effort. It happens many times in fisheries management that when a total catch rate diminishes that it’s assumed that the cause is a lack of fish when sometimes the real reason is a diminished fishing effort.

                          There weren’t any spectacular marlin catches this month but the sailfish continue to make weekly appearances of the fish catch board. The otaru are mostly gone now but some small yellowfin tuna have shown up on most of the FAD’s. Mahi mahi are starting to show up too so I guess you could say that the Fall run has started. I’ve given up even trying for ono.

                          The first ever seasonal bottom fishing closure for Hawaii ends in less than a week. The closure made it illegal to keep six different kinds of snapper and one kind of grouper but fishing for bigger bottom fish like jacks and sharks luckily wasn’t prohibited. Some Dept. of Aquatic Resources people think that when the season opens that there will be such a rush to catch those valuable seven kinds of fish that it will negate the closure. I think they’re wrong when it comes to Kona. I can’t say what the other islands will do but I predict that little Kona town will see the same few boats that were out there bottom fishing prior to the closure and not much more than that. Hey, I’m not really a psychic but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

                          See ‘ya on the water,
                          Capt. Jeff Rogers ,
                          http://fishinkona.com Kona Hawaii Sport Fishing

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                          • #14
                            Kona Hawaii fishing report

                            Kona Hawaii fishing report – October wrap-up .

                            I’ve said before that it’s the current direction and strength that is the most important factor when it comes to the bite being good or bad in Kona. For most of October we had a prolonged bad split current situation. There will always be some fish around during a bad current but they are certainly few between. The best news is that it’s finally over! The current has stabilized to its typical North direction and although it’s moving a bit fast, the fish are coming back. It started with a sudden influx of blue marlin catches and what soon followed was a fantastic mahi mahi run that is still going strong.

                            Mahi mahi is a fish that can be caught any month of the year here but we get two seasonal runs per year. The spring run is commonly the smaller variety known as “schoolie dolphin” or “smurfs” (little blue guys) and are typically about 5 to 20 lbs. but it’s the Fall run that brings in the big ones. Right now a typical mahi mahi runs anywhere between 20 and 50 lbs. with a few even bigger. The Hawaii state record of 82 lbs. was landed in Kona in ’87 and I remember it well because just a week after that fish was caught, my dad and I landed an 80 pounder that would have been the new state record if the 82 pounder hadn’t been caught.

                            Targeting the bottom fish and nailing a few nice tuna on the troll was the ticket for scoring a %100 catch rate for the month. Some of those days it took a lot of work to get a fish though. The commercial snapper fishery re-opened on October 1st and in my Nov. wrap-up I made kind of a prediction. What actually ended up happening was something I don’t think anyone would have guessed. There were indeed a bunch of boats fishing the Kona snapper grounds the first week. Many that I’ve never seen fishing there before and only a couple of the old regulars fishing it. By the 2nd week not many boats were fishing it at all. I think the current was messing up that fishery too. The 3rd week had even fewer boats. So here we are now at the end of October and what I see are the same few regulars that fished the area before the closure going back to work. They’re bringing in about the same numbers of fish that they were before the closure so it seems like business as usual. Fisheries people will be crunching numbers over the next few months to attempt to analyze the effect of the closure on fish populations. Reports will be made and people will analyze the reports. The worst part of all that is, the powers that be have already set their plans for the future closures and the data collected from this first closure won’t make any difference in their plans anyway. That bites!

                            See ‘ya on the water,
                            Capt. Jeff Rogers ,
                            <A href="http://fishinkona.com"> Kona Hawaii Sport Fishing</A>

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                            • #15
                              Kona Hawaii fishing report - Nov.

                              Kona Hawaii fishing report – November wrap-up .

                              If you`ve been following my reports you know that last month the current (or lack of) killed the trolling bite for most of the month. Just when things were getting back to normal, a big storm came through on Nov. 4th and shut the current off again. Here it is over three weeks later and the current is just now starting to pull in it`s typical North pattern. The bait fish stayed on the ledges and FAD`s the whole time the current was slack but there was certainly a lack of marlin in the area even though in some areas, bait fish abounded. Good thing the mahi mahi bite stayed good throughout the month.

                              The striped marlin should be here shortly. There were two caught last week and they were pretty good size ones. When the run does happen, typically they`re all about the same size. We never know if they`ll be in the forty to fifty pound range or the eighty to one hundred pound range. One of the ones caught last week weighed in at 128 lbs. When the average size runs big, one of my claims of fame is in jeopardy. I have the biggest striped marlin so far this decade. At only 186 lbs., it`s a surprise that it hasn`t been beaten yet but the striped marlin in Kona tend to run a bit on the small side compared to other parts of the world. I also have the biggest black marlin of the decade here in Kona and that one would be hard to beat.

                              OK, since I`m bragging about catches, I got one more. It has taken nearly eleven years to get one but I finally got a 100+ lb. giant trevally (GT) this month. I wasn`t the angler but the captain gets some credit too. The 100+ is a special category for GT much like getting a 1000+ marlin and there is a published list of the anglers who have accomplished it. I always said that if I caught either one of these special fish that I would kill `em for the publicity. Well, I had my chance and I just didn’t have the heart for it. The GT came up strong. It was just too easy to tag it and let it go rather than kill it, hang it for the photos and then dump the carcass or find someone willing to risk eating it. A beast that big would almost certainly have ciguatera toxin in it. Personally, I don’t think it`s worth the risk to eat any fish that might have the toxin. There are several people who get “hit” here every month. If you don’t know what ciguatera toxin is or the nasty effects it will have on you, try a wikipedia.org search and check it out. After reading about the symptoms, would you risk it?

                              See ‘ya on the water,
                              Capt. Jeff Rogers ,
                              FISHinKONA.com

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                              • #16
                                Kona Hawaii fishing report - Dec. wrap-up

                                Kona Hawaii fishing report – December wrap-up .

                                And so ends another year. The spearfish came in early this season to help us celebrate and they are currently the most common fish being caught. Mahi mahi are still biting too but they`re not as abundant as they were at the beginning of the month. Otaru tuna are another fish that put on a good showing for us around the middle of the month and are normally a summer bite but we`ll take `em any time we can.

                                The blue marlin bite picked up a bit in the last couple of weeks even though this is the slow season for them. The striped marlin should be here already but they haven’t really shown up yet. There has been a few caught but not like it should be for December. Another animal (not a fish) that should be here in numbers are the humpback whales. I’ve only seen a couple so far this year where usually, they are a daily sight in December. Hopefully when more whales do show up, they`ll bring in the striped marlin with them.

                                The bottom bite has been slow. I’m seeing plenty of fish on the sonar but they`re just not biting much. Live bait is usually the best method for catching a variety of bottom fish but lately the baits are either not taken at all or just crushed and killed but not eaten. Catching with jigs has been fair but it`s a lot of hard work deep jigging. Another down side to jigging is that fish caught on jigs are generally smaller on average than the fish caught on bait. So, what are the up sides to jigging? For one, that hard work is a good workout. I love to jig for at least an hour a few times a week just to stay in shape. Most of my customers only last 20 to 30 minutes of hard jigging before whimping out. Because I`m usually the one that hooks up (the faster you jig, the more likely you hook up), I get to feel most of the hits and the first pull of the fish. Most charter captains rarely “fish” themselves, they just drive the boat. I think in many cases, I`m just as excited (if not more) about hooking up fish as my customers are. They can have the big fish fights though. IMHO, there can come a time where a workout becomes more like grueling work.

                                See ‘ya on the water,
                                Capt. Jeff Rogers ,
                                FISHinKONA.com

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                                • #17
                                  Kona Hawaii fishing report - Jan.

                                  Kona Hawaii fishing report – Jan. wrap-up .

                                  January has been a good month overall for trolling. The spearfish are still in abundance and if you’re looking for some good fish to eat, it doesn’t get much better than fresh spearfish. The mahi mahi bite was good all month too and that’s a bit unusual for January but I don’t hear anyone complaining. Also during this month, yellowfin tuna of all sizes showed up. The small bait size yellowfin are a common winter catch here especially on the FAD (fish aggregation device) buoys and F buoy was even producing 20+ pounders for a while. Other 20+ pounders were being caught in the blind and in the current lines. As for the 100+ size yellowfin tuna, they’re here too. Working the porpoise schools has been very profitable for the boats using the more commercial type methods for catching them. There are different baiting methods and the “green stick” method but just trolling lures through the school hasn’t been getting too many bites.

                                  Normally I open my monthly reports talking about the marlin bite but there’s not really much of a catch to report on. The striped marlin bite picked up just a little bit this month and went from a average of about four per week to a few a day coming in on some days. There were a few “beast” (over 500) blue marlins caught, typical for any month of the year in Kona but most of the (few) blues being caught right now are babies under 100 lbs. that haven’t even grown their noses yet. Some people who don’t know how to tell the difference between a blue and a striped (many don’t) are actually thinking that the small blues are striped marlin. Bill proportions, stripe density and white belly shade are just a few ways to distinguish between the two but the ultimate test is the dorsal fin. The size of the dorsal fin in proportion to the body is yet another clue with the striped marlin having a larger fin in proportion to it’s body but as with the previously mentioned signs, these are all comparative differences. A hard way for the untrained eye to tell. The most distinguishing characteristic and sure-fire way to tell is that on a striped marlin, the first dorsal fin bone is flexible and on a blue marlin, it’s not.

                                  I always like to wrap up the wrap-up with the bottom fishing report. It’s usually where most of the action and unusual catches are. Winter is a peak time for bottom fishing but it’s also the season when Hawaii gets its roughest sea conditions. Watching the news this morning, I see that even the Hawaii Super Ferry is docked due to rough sea conditions. Kona is unique in that the huge mountains protect us from those sea conditions but the most productive bottom fishing grounds to the North of the harbor are less protected and as a result, I wasn’t able to fish the good bottom grounds for most of the month. When forced to go South, I pray for a good trolling bite because the bottom spots are few, far between and usually not as productive. The up side to that is the water is flat like a lake almost every day. The flat sea conditions also make fighting a fish easier. It also helps if you got a marlin up next to the boat and you’re grabbing at it trying to see if it’s first dorsal fin bone is bendable.

                                  See ‘ya on the water ,
                                  Capt. Jeff Rogers ,
                                  FISHinKONA.com

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                                  • #18
                                    Kona Hawaii fishing report - Feb. wrap-up

                                    Kona Hawaii fishing report – February wrap-up .

                                    The biggest blue marlin of the year was weighed in on the 15th. The year is still young but a 934 pounder might just stand for a while. The marlin died 1-½ hours into the fight and it took another ½ hour to plane it up. It’s a lot of work to plane up a dead fish and luckily they were using 130 lb. test line. There’s a theory among fishermen that if the dead fish is 10X the weight of the line, then it can’t be planed up. I proved the theory wrong about 8 years ago by planning up an 843 lb. black marlin up on 80 lb. test line. It took 45 minutes of hard work and I don’t think I’d ever like to test the theory out again. I think we were just lucky that the line didn’t snap.

                                    We had some striped marlin caught this month but it looks like striped marlin season will remain slow this year. The last good season we had on them was back in ’04 so we’re over due for a good one. It’s a good thing we’re having a good spearfish season. Spearfish and mahi mahi top the list as the most common catches and there’s still some yellowfin tuna being caught also. I got word that there was a decent ono run happening down by South Point but it takes an overnight trip to fish that far away. I hoping they make their way North.

                                    The North bottom fishing grounds has had flat water fishing conditions and the bite was pretty good until just recently. The current is switching around so the baitfish took off. Hopefully it won’t be long before they show up again. It’s usually easier to catch the bottom fish using live bait and on some occasions, jigging may even out-perform live bait but the average size fish caught on bait is much bigger than on a jig. Big sharks usually won’t take a jig and if they do, they usually bite it off anyway. The monster amberjack and trevally rarely eat a jig either. OK, so I know what some of you are thinking. Why be so cheap? If you want the bigger fish, go buy some live bait! And I would have to say to you, you’re spoiled if you can go buy your live bait. I would gladly buy some if someone sold some. The bait we use here are mackerel and tuna in the 2 to 10 lb. size. For many of you, the fish we use for bait would be for you, a “keeper”. Not only are these baits usually in abundance here so it’s pretty easy to catch your own but, they’re also hard to keep alive. Forget about putting them in a bait tank unless your tank is a hundred + gallons. The tuna tube was invented about 12 years ago and this, for the first time allowed us to keep bigger baits alive for a while but, they also tend to get weaker and weaker the longer they stay in the tube. I take frozen bait with me sometimes but it just doesn’t catch as well as live bait. If there are any really really smart people reading this, let me know when you get baitfish cryonics figured out. Sometimes I put frozen tuna into my tuna tube just to thaw them out a little and have actually had customers ask me if the bait is now alive.

                                    See ‘ya on the water ,
                                    Capt. Jeff Rogers ,
                                    FISHinHAWAII.com

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                                    • #19
                                      Kona Hawaii fishing report - March wrap-up

                                      Kona Hawaii fishing report – March wrap-up .

                                      March isn`t considered a good month for blue marlin but one thing about these animals is that they will group somewhere. Even in the off-season we can get a decent run of blue marlin and that happened this month. Not only are we getting a fair number but we`re getting some real big ones too. The biggest blue marlin of the year was caught last Tuesday and weighed in at 1251 lbs. A marlin over 1200 lbs. hasn’t been weighed in since `04 (a summer time catch @ 1258 lbs).

                                      Spearfish and mahi mahi were again the most common catch of the month. We`re at the beginning of the season for mahi mahi and the middle of the season for spearfish so you may end up reading next month that these fish top the list again as the most common catch. That being said, the ono have indeed started to show up but it`s a bit early to say that the run has started.

                                      Bottom fishing in Hawaii is again being pounced upon by more regulations. It`s just around the corner and we will see the first ever “recreational” fishing licenses required to fish in Hawaii but for now, it will be just for bottom fishing. Other bottom fishing regulations are being looked at but it`s clear that the Feds are pushing for the bottom fishing license option and it will probably be implemented this summer. Right after that will be fishing licenses for all fisheries! It’s already being pushed through by the beaurocrats. The state also announced yesterday that they are making it illegal to fish for or take six different kinds of snapper and one kind of grouper effective April 7th within state waters. There was already a Federal and state closure (implemented for the first time last year) on those fish scheduled for May 1st through August 31st. Hawaii has always been fishing regulation free (for the most part) and bottom fishing was the easiest way for both federal and state beaurocrats to get an easy “foot in the door” on their way to regulating all of Hawaii`s fisheries. I know that all of the other 49 states have had to deal with fisheries regulations for a long time so boo-hoo, poor Hawaii. Well, I say, just another piece of paradise stolen.

                                      See ‘ya on the water ,
                                      Capt. Jeff Rogers ,
                                      FISHinHAWAII.com

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                                      • #20
                                        Kona Hawaii fishing report - April wrap-up

                                        Kona Hawaii fishing report – April wrap-up .

                                        I did last month’s wrap-up a day before the end of the month and in last month’s report, the big news was Kona’s first “Grander” of the year. The very next day after that report, last day of the month, another “Grander” was caught. It was an awesome battle! I know because I was the captain on the boat! It’s a huge milestone for any captain to bag a grander and most Kona captains never attain the goal. A lot has to go right in order to get one. It really is a combination of skill and luck. We came close to loosing her a couple of times and then, once we had her subdued, we almost became a sad “almost a grander” story. Three Oceanic white tip sharks attacked the marlin as we were trying to pull her in the boat. They took about 150 lbs. of meat off of her in about 1 minute but even with that, she still weighed in at 1056 lbs. There’s more about the trip at FISHinKONA.com on the “Hall of Fame” page and for only about a week more, on the “Fish Photo’s Page”. The angler also wrote about the trip in the “Guest Book”. A note for you fish huggers out there, I release almost all my marlins and I don’t feel bad at all for killing this fish. If I ever get another grander, I’ll kill that one too. Any blue under 1000 lbs. is free to go. I keep small striped marlin to eat. Any big ones are free to go. It’s most likely that because I target a wider variety of fish than any other captain in Kona and, I let most everything go, that I lead the Kona fleet in released fish and have for many years.

                                        Mid size fish are plentiful right now. Spearfish, mahi mahi and ono are the most common fish being caught. There’s also plenty of shibi (small yellowfin tuna) in the 5 to 20 lb. range and Skipjack tuna in the 5 to 15 lb. range. I caught some shibi trolling in the deep yesterday and filleted them for my customers. It was saddening to see what they were feeding on. They’re stomachs were stuffed with 4” to 5” baby spearfish! False killer whales were also in the area feeding on the shibi. It’s a tough life cycle out there.

                                        Bottom fishing was pretty good for most of April. The current started moving North pretty fast and hard this week so it’s been more difficult to work it. With the current finally moving though, the baitfishes are congregating in their usual spots. With baitfish fairly easy to get, the bottom bite for sharks, trevally, amberjack and almaco jack has been the easiest way to score some hard fighting fish. With a decent trolling bite going on at the same time, it’s been a fun month for fishing even though a few of the 3/4 days I fished drew a blank. Bites and fights but no catches other than small tuna. I said earlier that to catch a grander, a lot has to go right and it’s also a combination of skill and luck. I think that also applies to fishing, or I should say “catching” in general.

                                        See ‘ya on the water ,
                                        Capt. Jeff Rogers ,
                                        FISHinKONA.com

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