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Thread: Hawaii

  1. #138


    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – August wrap-up.

    Ahi both big and small were the main catch this month. I'm not just counting charter boats but also the many small boats that have been hanging around F buoy. It more resembles a parking lot on the ocean out there with most of the boat sizes ranging from 18 feet to 21 feet. Trying to get in where the tunas are with a big charter boat trolling is nearly impossible and if you do manage to squeeze in between, it makes them mad because they know that your boat is probably scaring the ahi and making them go deeper. I gave up even trying the buoy and tried my luck on the ledges and that's where I found mine. Some of the small boats have also found out that they're on the ledges too.

    August is usually a good month for marlin but one of the main determining factors of how many are caught in a month is how many boats are out there trying for them. The later part of August is always slow for tourism and with the recent lava flows and then a couple of hurricane threats, tourism has been even slower than normal. I'm sure there's some nice marlin out there but there's little effort going out to catch them.

    Ono is a summer time fish and the bite should be hot but I would have to say that the bite all summer long has been more 'lukewarm' than hot. Mahi mahi are actually more abundant than ono and it's off season for them. The spearfish bite usually slows down this time of year but there are still some out there. This is the time of year that the otaru tunas should be here in abundance. They did finally show up but late in the month. I haven't been out in a while due to the slow tourist season but when I do get out there, I don't think there are any other charters that do a better job of catching those tunas than me. I've learned a few tricks over the years.

    I didn't do much bottom fishing this month and when I did, it was mostly speed jigging. Although very labor intensive, it's both fun and tiring. I actually catch bigger fish using tuna chunks and it's a lot less work than jigging. I really don't mind working hard to catch fish though. What I really don't like is dragging lures around all day hoping for a bite. If the trolling bite isn't really happening, it's boring for both me and my customers. Being bored can be almost as tiring as hard work. That's why I like to break up the day with some bottom fishing (ummm...catching).

    See ‘ya on the water soon ,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers ,

  2. #137


    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – July wrap-up.

    The blue marlin bite remained good as it should for summer. I made the prediction in last month's report that the big female marlin would be showing up soon and they did. Not just in Kona but all over the islands. On both Kauai and Oahu, grander marlins were caught just this month where last year, there were no granders caught all year in all of Hawaii. Kona won the World Cup Marlin Tournament this month. A fishing tournament that truly is fished all around the world. The minimum qualifying weight is 500 lbs. and Kona was the only place on the planet to land a qualifying fish. It weighed in at 760.5 lbs. and that also ends (for now) a long standing tie for the most wins. Hawaii and Bermuda are the two top places for a big marlin win and we ended up in a tie for the most World Cup wins in 2007, 2009 and again (and since) in 2014. So with this years win, that puts Hawaii at 9 wins and Bermuda at 8 wins. Yes, the big girls are here but most of the marlin being caught aren't the big beasts, they're the smaller males and there's plenty of them around. Much more than last summer.

    The blind strike ahi bite remains good with several tunas over the 100 pound mark being caught this month. The smaller otaru tunas are here but not easy to catch. They're feeding on copepods and really focused in on those but with enough patience, you can usually catch some. The spearfish bite slowed way down but that's expected for this time of year. The ono bite has really fluctuated this summer but over all, much better than last years summer run.

    The bottom fishing has been hard to do because the smaller tunas have been hard to catch. Jigging is always an option but using fresh tuna chunks is always more productive and a lot less work.

    My boat is actually out of the water in dry dock right now. It's been out for a week now and I'm hoping to be back in the water before the end of this week. I had to haul it out for an emergency repair and as long as I'm out, I'm taking care of some other items that can only be done while the boat is out of the water. It's those "other items" that may take longer than expected but worrying about it won't do anything but give me ulcers so even though I'm missing out on a really good marlin bite, I'm trying to take it in stride. The boat is looking very nice with a shiny hull and new bottom paint. When I get back in the water, I hope the fish find it equally attractive!

    See ‘ya on the water soon ,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers ,

  3. #136


    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – June wrap-up.

    Tourism is starting to pick up now that the lava flows on the other side of the island aren't making headline news. It was down about 50% last month. That means more fishing boats out and more fish caught. The marlin bite has been pretty hot but the size has been on the small side. Summer is the peak breeding season. The male marlin are under 200 lbs. and it's the females that are the big ones. I've seen a few big ones this month but there seems to be a lot more males around than females. I'm sure they'll be showing up soon. There are several tournaments going on all summer long so of course everyone is hoping for that monster marlin for the win. Coming up on July 4th is the World Cup Marlin tournament. With the way things are right now, it doesn't look like Kona has a chance unless some big girls start moving in.

    The spearfish bite has been hot too and I catch most of mine on a small lure that I make and run on fairly light stand-up tackle. I also catch a lot of smaller tunas with that lure on almost every trip out. I mentioned in last months report that I got a big ahi on that lure and it happened again this month. It took 2 anglers to get it in the boat and both guys were totally wiped out after the fight. Over the years I've been using it I've also landed several mahi mahi, some ono and even some marlin but usually, the ono bite it off and the marlin break it off. I'm actually kind of surprised that it held up on those big ahi. Speaking of ono, the bite on those has been pretty good so far this summer. Last year the ono run was a bust! We will have to wait and see if they stay here all summer like they're suppose to.

    The bottom bite has been good but high winds out of the North have been keeping me off of the bottom fishing grounds on many of my trips. On trips when the wind is lighter, not just the bottom bite is good but the top water bite has been good also. The high North winds also keep the volcano smoke away from North Kona so it's a "catch 22". I like seeing the blue skies and you can even see Maui when the wind blows the smoke away but the waters are rough. When it's flat and really fishable up North, it also means that the smoke is heavier and not only can't you see Maui but from about 5 miles out, sometimes you can't even see the Big Island. Those are the days when the lava is burning new paths. When the lava is covering previous lava flows, it's not all that bad.

    See ‘ya on the water soon ,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers ,

  4. #135


    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – May wrap-up.

    The fish aren't afraid of the volcano! That's the headline. And guess what? The people in Kona aren't afraid of it either. I've been getting calls all month from concerned relatives and vacationers who have booked fishing trips with me. Let me state here with clarity that Kona is in no danger. We are far away from any active lava events. I will add that the air quality can be a little rough on some days. It depends on how much forest is being burned by the lava and the direction of the wind. Some days it's not bad at all and other days visibility drops down to about 5 miles. Some people have minor effects to their throat or eyes but most people don't. With that said, the fish don't mind it at all! The blue marlin bite has been pretty hot and there were even a few striped marlin caught this month. The spearfish bite is the hottest bite going on right now. While marlin will take a lure of about any size, the spearfish are a little more picky and mostly choose small lures. Some boats only pull big stuff because they're more interested in marlin so they're totally missing out on the spearfish bite but if you pull small lures, also plan on loosing some when that big marlin decides to come and eat it.

    The blind strike ahi bite is going well and my luckiest catch of the month was when a 100 lb. ahi ate my smallest lure with the 100 lb. test leader. Not only that, but on its first run, it got tail wrapped! I'm also pulling those little lures with Penn 30 stand-up tackle with 80 lb. test main line. We probably shouldn't have landed that fish but a combination of` skill and a lot of luck won us the prize. The mahi mahi and ono bite is doing well along with the smaller tunas along the ledges. All of them good eating but I prefer the smaller ahi to the big ahi because the taste is more mild.

    The seas have been a little rough because of high winds up North past the airport and that's the best bottom fishing grounds. I didn't spend many days up there just because it was so much nicer to fish the flat waters to the South and even with that, I still managed to do pretty good on the bottom fish. I've been mostly having good luck catching almaco jacks using jigs and sharks using cut up tunas.

    That strong North wind has also helped keep the volcano smoke pushed to the South of the harbor but when you're fishing South of the harbor, the wind is blowing out of the South and bringing the smoke along with it. The two opposing winds are keeping the smoke trapped. I've lived on the Big Island for 33 years and I've seen thick smoke even when the news media wasn't reporting it. I've also seen it clear up quite nicely even when there are active lava flows. So, we're dealing with some smoke right now but the seas are mostly calm and the fish are biting so that more than makes up for it.

    See ‘ya on the water soon ,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers ,

  5. #134


    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – April wrap-up.

    The blue marlin bite is on! Almost all of the boats are getting bit daily but on average, more marlin are lost than are caught. Even with that, some boats are catching 2, 3 or even 4 marlin in a day. The spearfish bite is much the same with multiple catches. Just yesterday we caught a spearfish and I gaffed it. Normally I let the spearfish go but these people were feeding a large local family. Before I even got a chance to get a photo of it for my web site, we got a double spearfish bite. We got both to the boat and both were photo'd and released. One spearfish kept was more than enough meat. April is still technically striped marlin season but we've seen very few striped marlin this year. May is the peak black marlin month and though they are a fairly rare catch here, it's a safe bet that there will be at least a couple caught this next month.

    May also starts "blind strike" tuna season. Generally to catch the 100+ lb. yellowfin, you need to be working a porpoise school but May through the summer, you can be trolling along in the vast blue and all of the sudden, you're hooked up to one or more 100+ tunas. It's already started because it happened to one boat just 2 days ago.

    Ono season officially starts in May but the bite was good for ono all April long. April and May are the peak mahi mahi season months but few mahi were caught this month. We finally got F buoy back. That's always been my favorite FAD (especially for mahi mahi) and it's been missing for more than a year. It will take a few months to get some growth on it and start doing its intended job. It should be working in time for the fall mahi mahi season.

    The bottom bite was pretty good this month but that's only because I found a new honey hole. My best honey hole has been invaded by little fish that pick my baits apart in no time. I've had to go to some of my older marked spots to find the fish but more times than not, there's nothing there. I've known of a spot for many years that has some under water pinnacles but they're in shallower water than I have ever bottom fished before. Usually, the more shallow the water, the more small pecker fish you have to deal with but one day I was running out of options and those pinnacles were near by so I decided to give it a shot. 2 sharks back to back, no waiting. The next time I went there, 3 sharks, no waiting. I fished there again yesterday. 1 huge shark caught and released and 2 missed bites. I'm sure the missed bites were not sharks. It just goes to show you that no matter how long you've been fishing and how well you think you got the game mastered, there's always some new tricks to be learned.

    See ‘ya on the water soon ,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers ,

  6. #133


    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – March wrap-up.

    March has always been one of my favorite months to fish. The water conditions really change in March. January and February are our rough water months. This January and February were pretty mild for sea conditions overall but those flat calm seas that start in March and continue throughout the summer just makes fishing a whole lot more fun.

    The blue marlin bite was pretty good this month. The peak blue marlin season is the summer time so hopefully this is an indicator that this will be a good summer. Striped marlin season is winding down but we really didn't have a good run this year. We're in the peak spearfish season and although they were a bit scarce last month, they came back this month and were a pretty common catch.

    We're just now hitting mahi mahi season and I've been reporting for months that the mahi mahi has been good even though it's not the season for them. We should be seeing a lot more being caught over the next couple of months. Ono peak season is summer but the bite has already picked up on them. Ahi season is also just around the corner but the smaller ahi, under 100 lbs. are here already. Skipjack of all sizes are around.

    The flat water this month made bottom fishing a lot more fun. Finding the fish was hard and not so much fun but when I did find where they were hiding, I did quite well catching them. We pulled up several amberjacks and a lot more almaco jacks. Usually I catch more sharks than jacks and that's because I'm usually using fresh tuna chunks for bait but lately I've been doing more speed jigging. Almaco jacks are a very aggressive fish and are more likely to attack a fast moving jig than anything else. Plus, my customers are usually looking for some fresh tuna to eat themselves so cutting up their dinner and throwing it back in the water sometimes doesn't go over too well.

    See ‘ya on the water soon ,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers ,

  7. #132


    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – February wrap-up.

    Some nice size blue marlin showed up this month with several "beast" status marlin caught. Some were kept but most of them were released. FYI, a 500+ lb. marlin is a "beast". Kona is usually the best place in the world to land the coveted first "grander" (1000+) of the year but the first grander of this year was caught in Australia. They are famous for black marlin but this year Australia landed it's first ever grander blue marlin. Kona (or anywhere else in Hawaii) hasn't seen a grander weighed in since 2015. In 2015 there were four granders caught in Kona, one in Hilo and another one in Maui. There's no doubt that granders have been hooked and fought since then but those big girls usually win the fight. The last marlin I had on was a big one that just kept digging for the deep right near the boat. I had no choice but to crank up the drag but not long after that, the line snapped. A lot needs to go right to land the big ones. It's striped marlin season but very few have been caught this season so far. Kona's first black marlin of the year was caught this month. It's also the peak of the season for spearfish and while the season started out great, February was a bit slow for them. I pretty much always dedicate the top paragraph of the fishing report to the billfish and while you may think I covered 'em all, we have just one more, sailfish. Sails are a pretty rare catch here but not lately. Several have been caught so far this year just North of Keahole point and also outside of Keauhou bay. The sails aren't likely to take the normal Kona trolling lure so if you want some sail action, you need to bust out your special techniques.

    This has been a good off season bite for mahi mahi. We've had a lot of marine debris floating by the island and if there's any size to it, any time of year, it's a mahi mahi oasis in an otherwise big blue desert. Oahu had a debris field come by their island that was so big that a marine warning had to be posted because of the danger. Getting huge chunks of rope or netting stuck in your props REALLY sucks! Marine debris also makes good fishing for tuna and ono. There was a good ono bite this month but most of them were caught in the traditional "ono lane". I did really well catching the "chunk light" tunas this month. The big ones (aka Otaru) have been around and again, out of season.

    The bottom bite wasn't all that great this month but I did do pretty good on a few of the attempts. There were several days this month that bottom fishing was impossible due to high winds and rough water. January and February are usually the most challenging months for us boat captains because of the weather. This year has been mild compared to recent years. Another January / February hazard for us is big surf. Almost every year we loose a boat or two at the harbor entrance because of it. It doesn't look like were going to get ANY of the big surf this year that Hawaii is famous for. Sorry surfers Even the famous "Bonzai Pipeline" on Oahu didn't produce the big ones. March usually is the beginning of the calmer waters here.

    See ‘ya on the water soon ,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers ,

  8. #131


    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – January wrap-up.

    The new year started off great and was just a continuation of the hot bite on blue marlin and spearfish that we were experiencing in December. That lasted into the middle of the month. Then I didn't fish for a week and when I went back out there, everything had changed. The currents were screwey and as usual when that happens, the trolling bite drops dramatically. It's a good thing that it didn't last for long though. The currents have recently returned to normal and the bite is starting to pick back up again. There were a few striped marlin caught this month but we have yet to see the winter run kick in.

    Some mahi mahi are still trickling in and some ono too but it's not the season for either. The FADs VV buoy and OT buoy went totally dead later in the month with no life whatsoever on them but I got the hot tip from another captain that C buoy was holding both ahi and aku. I went there last Friday and while I couldn't get anything to bite trolling, I went deep and scored a couple of 25lb. ahi. We missed several other deep strikes. It takes over 2 hours one way to troll from the harbor to the buoy and of course about the same time trolling back. There's always hope of getting a fish while trolling in between even when the trolling bite is off but we had no luck there. After taking the weekend off I was looking forward to going back to C buoy and catching a whole bunch of ahi the following Monday but when I got to the buoy, there were bottlenose dolphins everywhere. With those animals around, there's about a 0 chance of ever getting a fish to the boat. They eat 'em right off the hook. Much like fishing for salmon with sea lions around. You just have to move on. The next day I did find a ledge where some of the tunas had moved to but it was late in our trip. We scored a barracuda, an ahi and a couple of skipjack before having to head back to the harbor.

    The winter months are suppose to be the peak bottom fishing season and I try to get in some bottom fishing on almost every trip. I did score a big almaco jack at the beginning of the month but even before the currents got screwey, the bottom fishing results were pretty disappointing. It's a new month and a fresh start tomorrow. The sun is shining and the winds are supposed to be light out of the South. Look out fish, I'm commin' to get 'ya!

    See ‘ya on the water soon ,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers ,

  9. #130


    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – December wrap-up.

    What a great way to end the year! There was a bite on almost everything this month. Winter is usually the slowest time of the year for blue marlin but the bite was about as good as it gets even in the summer months. All sizes, big to small but still no “grander” for us this year. Spearfish season starts in January but we’re already seeing some show up. What we haven’t seen show up is the striped marlin. It should be better by this time of year but January through March is the peak season so they’ll be here soon.

    December was the tail end of mahi mahi season but the bite remained strong all month so even though the season is officially over, it’s possible that the bite can continue for a while. If you’re a regular reader of this report, you may remember that even though summer is also suppose to be slow for them, last summer, the bite was pretty good all summer long. We also didn’t have a good run on ono last summer, that’s the peak season for them but we have been having a pretty good run on them so far this winter. It actually started about the middle of November. The tunas also are defying the season calendar. Winter is the peak of bigeye tuna season and usually prevalent around the FAD’s but it’s the yellowfin tunas that have been the major catch on the buoys. The 100+ ahi tuna bite has been about normal for this time of the year. The big skipjack tuna, called otaru (otado locally) have even been around though they are generally only seen in the late summer months.

    Winter is the peak bottom fishing season but high winds kept me away from there on several trips this month. When I was able to fish it, the bite certainly wasn’t hot but patience paid off. I caught fish of some kind or another on every trip this month. In fact, the last time I got skunked on any trip was back in September.

    Happy New Year and may all your 2018 fishing trips get you fish bites, fights and spectacular sights.

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

  10. #129


    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – November wrap-up.

    There’s a good bite going on right now. It started early in the month with a good blue marlin bite and just past mid month, an ono run completely out of season and mahi mahi close to shore swimming with them. There would have been a whole lot more fish caught this month overall but there were very few charter fishing boats going out to get them.

    So why aren’t there more boats going out? One of the reasons is that November isn’t a hot month for tourism anyway but even more so, we are experiencing the slow death of the Kona charter fishing industry. Maybe “death” is too harsh of a word to use but the number of charter fishing patrons have been on a slow decline for a long time now. Kona charter fishing will probably never die here because there will always be some people who want to go out and try their luck but there was a time when tourists visiting Kona had very few choices for tourist related activities. Go see the volcano a must. Helicopter ride to see the volcano or the whole island, expensive but what else was there? Scuba diving if you were certified, and then there was fishing charters. Also pretty pricy but other than the botanical gardens, the coffee farm and macadamia nut farm tours, not a whole lot of choices for things to do other than hang out on the beach or by the pool.

    Then came things like Atlantis submarine, the zip lines. 1, 2 then 3 and now 4 of them. ATV rides. Mountain bike tours. And also that pesky dive certification requirement? A thing of the past with the “introductory dive” allowing pretty much anyone to take a short class and then go scuba diving. Kayak rentals and now stand-up paddle boards and surf lessons too. Swim with the dolphins. Night time manta snorkel and/or dive. In fact, unlike it was just a decade ago, there are now more snorkel and dive boats going out per day than there are fishing boats. Most of those snorkel and dive boat operators are guys who use to be charter fishing captains. The “activities” list could go on and on but the fact of the matter is there’s just a whole lot more competition for the tourist dollar than there was a couple of decades ago.

    All that being said, I’m not about to give up on charter fishing. I came to the Big Island in 1985 and worked in the air tour business with both helicopters and airplanes. I did charter fishing with my dad off and on. Then I went scuba diving for over 5 years until I got tired of being wet for a living. I came back to charter fishing 23 years ago and I just can’t picture myself doing anything else. Catching big sea monsters and/or delicious table fare for my customers is something I enjoy doing and I’m good at it. My December calendar is filling up quite nicely so I’m happy about that. With only 7 days out charter fishing this month, the fewest since the economy crash of 2008, I can’t wait for this month to be a distant memory.

    See ‘ya on the water soon ,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers ,

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