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Thread: Hawaii

  1. #142


    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – December wrap-up.

    The week between Christmas and the New Year is typically the busiest tourist season in Hawaii but tourism is still way down here on the Big Island because of the volcano. It shut off five months ago so you might figure that the effect on tourism would have been over by now but it's not. The volcano smoke is gone and we're seeing clearer skies than we've seen in a decade. The view of the island from the ocean has been nothing less than spectacular! On to the fishing....

    The striped marlin have moved in but there were more blue marlin caught this month than stripes. In fact, the blue marlin bite has been really good for this time of year. Spearfish season is just starting and we're seeing more of those coming in too.

    The fall mahi mahi run is about over. There's still some being caught but not many. The tunas have more than made up for that though. All of the FAD buoys have been holding small yellowfin and bigeye tunas. The small ones are actually better eating (mild flavor) than the big ones. With the skipjack tuna (AKA 'chunk light tuna') the opposite is true. The bigger they are the better tasting. It's totally NOT the season for them to be here but just like last month, I found them hiding along the ledge North of the airport. High winds kept me from fishing there for most of the month but the winds calmed down lately and it was surprising to find them still there. There have been some yellowfin tunas mixed in with them also.

    Shark fishing was pretty good this month. Like I just said, the winds were too high to fish up North for most of the month and that's where the best bottom fishing is. The bottom fishing spots to the South are far apart from each other and generally not as productive but earlier this year I found a good shark hole down South that has been providing a good shark catch about 50% of the time. It's peak giant trevally season right now but I didn't catch a single on this month. Possibly all of those sharks are making them nervous.

    Happy New Year,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers

  2. #141


    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – November wrap-up.

    The blue marlin bite remains pretty good for it being the off season. We've even had some BIG ones showing up. Even more in numbers than we had during the peak summer blue marlin season. The striped marlin should have started showing up in October but they didn't but they're starting to show up now. Last year was one of the worse striped marlin seasons I could remember so I'm really hoping that this year will be better. Orange striped marlin meat makes the best sushi, sashimi and poke! Most of the time the meat is more of a pink color so getting an orange meat striped marlin is very special.

    November is supposed to be the peak month for the fall mahi mahi run and while there have been some around; the bite certainly hasn't been hot. What was a hot bite this month was the otaru tunas. It's way late for them to still be here so maybe the mahi mahi are just running late also. There's been some spearfish and ono trickling in and some big ahi caught in the porpoise schools so it's really been a mixed bag bite. I always tell people that "every trip is its own adventure" and I have no idea what the day will bring us. One thing I can say though is that if you go with me, we'll catch something.

    Catching 'something' is what the bottom bite is all about. Most people that come out fishing with me have never caught a fish over 50 lbs. The sharks that I catch and release average 50 to 150 lbs. They're hard fighters so getting one to the boat sure gives the angler a sense of accomplishment. Not to mention some awesome photos. Another hard fighting fish that's supposed to be in its peak season right now is giant trevally. I got one last month but not this month. Late? One can only hope. Yet another hard fighting bottom fish is amberjack. Almost every year we'll catch and release one or two that tip the scales at over 100 lbs. This month we caught two 100+ pounders back-to-back. In all my years of bottom fishing, that was a first! That's why I can safely say with confidence, "every trip is its own adventure".

    See 'ya on the water,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers

  3. #140


    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – October wrap-up.

    It can sometimes be quite difficult to gauge the bite in Kona and even more so lately. I use to be able to read the weekly catch report in the local newspaper but just a little over a year ago, the author of that weekly column, Jim Rizzuto passed away and the weekly column disappeared. No one has picked up Jim's torch and it doesn't look like anyone will.

    We also have "The Charter Desk" that writes the daily catches that are weighed in on a dry erase board. For one thing, if you don't weigh in your catch there, It's not written on the board. Second, there's a scale fee that just went up by double so if you don't require an electric chain hoist to get your fish out of your boat and into your truck, they're lifted by hand(s). That's what most of us do most of the time.

    The other method is looking at the fish flags flying on the outriggers. That's always been the best indicator for what's biting because there is a different flag for each fish so they're easily recognizable and when you start seeing a lot of 'em, the bite for that kind of fish is on! But if you're just an occasional fisherman, not so much. The flags go up after a successful trip and stay up until the next trip. It's not unusual to see the same set of flags flying on a boat for a week or more. I always scan the boats for flags on my way out fishing and on my way in. I notice the new ones flying and also take note of the ones that have been up for a while.

    I can safely say that there has been a good marlin bite happening. Kona is still suffering from a lack of tourism due to the recent lava flows and hurricanes (BTW, Kona was never effected by either of those except for the tourist shortage) so there are very few boats out fishing but the ones that are going out, marlin are pretty much a daily encounter.

    The tuna bite has been pretty good and it's about to get even better! Tunas are more easily caught around structure and Kona's biggest offshore structure just went back in. It's an offshore fish farm for Almaco jacks but the massive structure holds all kinds of fish around it. Especially tunas. Mahi mahi and ono are also frequent visitors looking for something to eat. It will take a little while for it really start producing on a regular basis but it's a given that it soon will. I mentioned last month that the otaru tunas hadn't shown up but they did this month up on "The Grounds". They're not showing on the surface but an easy catch following the ledge.

    The bottom bite has been spotty and I would have to say that the reason is more because of my choices. I've been quite spoiled successfully hitting up the same honey hole for a long time but one thing I've learned over the years is that my #1 honey hole needs to change from time to time. They don't last forever. I'm not sure why that is, only THAT it is. I'm absolutely positive that there are now other bottom spots with more fish so it's time to look at some of my old honey holes to see if that's where they're hiding.

    See 'ya on the water,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers

  4. #139


    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – September wrap-up.

    September is typically the slowest tourist season month for Hawaii but this September was particularly brutal. Tourism is the foundation of Hawaii's economy. While the other islands have had slight increases in tourism this year, the Big Island fell way short. Even many people that did come here said they had concerns and second thoughts. Are we going to be covered by lava? Blown off the island by a hurricane? Earthquakes, floods, wild fires, tsunami's? For us that live in Kona, none of these were of any concern but it sure put a damper on our income. Enough whining.... How about the fishing?

    I've always liked fishing in September because the fish are still in summer mode. The "blind strike" ahi tuna bite typically starts slowing down but the bite is still happening and seemed to be more abundant than the blue marlin bite. Most of the marlin have been small with only a few big ones being reported.

    Mahi mahi season is coming up shortly but we have been lucky that the bite on those was pretty good all summer long. Last winter was good too. And the summer before that. In other words, the "season" has become more of a year-round bite for us for a while now.

    The ono bite picked up this month but should diminish as we head toward the cooler months. The good thing is that the bigeye tuna and spearfish will be showing up soon. The otaru tuna bite never really developed like it usually does for this time of the year but they can still show up any time.

    Just like last month, I didn't do much bottom fishing. When I did, I did less jigging and did more drops with fresh tuna chunks. It's rare to catch sharks on a jig but with tuna chunks, it's the most common bite that I expect. I release all of the sharks, even the edible ones. Most shark species don't have a urinary tract and secrete their urine through their skin so the meat tastes like pee. Even in nations that eat almost anything, they don't eat those. Thresher and mako both have urinary tracts and they are the most common shark meat consumed.

    The shark I catch the most here is the sandbar shark. They average 50 to 150 lbs. and they have a urinary tract so they are edible. I even tried it once. Not bad but I could tell it was shark meat. In the Atlantic, sandbar sharks were harvested to near extinction so they are protected there but not in the Pacific. They are slow breeders so taking some out the environment puts a big dent in their numbers for a long time. The big plus for me (and my anglers) by releasing them is that we get to catch them again, and again, and again. I also re-catch the same giant trevally and amberjacks. I have tagged thousands of those so catching one with one of my tags in it is quite common. Reading the tag numbers gives me a record. Sharks have very tough skin so using common fish tags won't work plus, the only way to get close enough to a shark to be able to read that tiny number would be to kill it, therefore defeating the purpose.

    See 'ya on the water,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers

  5. #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 ,

  6. #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 ,

  7. #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 ,

  8. #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 ,

  9. #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 ,

  10. #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 ,

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