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671-Pound Blue on Gatorade Lure Fishing Report - December 03, 2014

Date of trip: December 03, 2014
Posted December 03, 2014 by FishTrack Member
  • Capt. Jeff Rogers with two of his "gatorade bottle lures." They catch fish like the 671 pound blue Chris Zelenka boated while fishing with Jeff on Aloha Kai. Photo by Jim Rizzuto. 1 of 2
  • Chris Zelenka with the 671 pound marlin he caught on a Gatorade Bottle lure while fishing with Capt. Jeff Rogers on Aloha Kai. Photo courtesy of the Charter Desk at Honokohau Harbor. 2 of 2
From the earliest days, the history of fishing lures throughout the Pacific has been a story of artificial baits crafted from discards like bone, shell, and boar bristles. That tradition has continued even into modern times with imaginative fishcatchers recycled from novelty items like, for example, beer cans. Capt. Jeff Rogers caught Kona’s biggest marlin of last week on a lure he made from a Gatorade bottle.

On Tuesday, Jeff hosted Chris Zelenka and his family aboard Aloha Kai. His guests were happy to be at sea on a beautiful day and pleased with anything they might catch. Jeff started with small fish to teach them the tackle and how to make sure they could wind the line correctly and uniformly.

The FADs have been holding baitfish of many kinds — kawakawa, aku, shibi, and frigate mackerel for starters. Soon, everyone had enough chances to fight the tough little scrappers so Jeff turned Aloha Kai north toward the world famous Kona “Grounds” in hopes of finding something bigger.

Southwest of the Grounds, Jeff spotted a current line marking a seam where two different bodies of water were coming together. The long rivers of mixing waters often attract baitfish and predators. Maybe a few mahimahi?

Jeff was trolling a pattern of very sophistocated, high priced, store-bought lures with one exception. The biggest “lure” in the spread was his “Gator.” It’s a Gatorade bottle, skirted with vinyl strips, and rigged with hooks. When he sets it out, the bottle fills with water and makes a huge fish-attracting commotion as it plows along the surface.

When he deploys this lure, his parties are usually skeptical. But he reassures him that fish do hit it and the strikers are almost always marlin weighing 300 pounds or more. That’s why he always sets it out on the short-corner line — the big-fish spot in the pattern.

Jeff told them he’d had a really big fish on the same “lure” a few days before and lost it after a 20-minute fight. No worries. Replacements are easy to make with very inexpensive materials from your trash.

Within ten minutes of starting his troll along the current line, a 671-pound blue marlin crushed the Gatorade bottle, took the hooks and started a tail-walking run intended to empty the reel.

The fish ripped 800 yards of line from the reel on its first run. Chris is a big guy, 6 feet 4 and 250 or so pounds with more than enough muscle to work hard on a big fish. As soon as Jeff’s well-trained guests brought in the extra lines, Jeff began backing steadily toward the fish so Chris could crank the half mile of line back in.

As they got close, the marlin dove and stayed down. Soon they were straight up and down over the marlin as it sulked far below.

That’s the time to put the angle in “angling.” By pulling the boat forward against the tight line, the skipper can change the angle of pull and help the angler raise the fish. Affer a half hour of coordinated effort between Chris and Jeff, the marlin was at the surface and it was time to run back to port.


Capt. Jeff’s Gatorade bottle aside, Kona fishermen have followed a long-standing tradition of making their own exquisite trolling lures. Some local folks have turned professional and Kona’s best lure-crafters are now world-famous for producing the best lures found anywhere in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans — everywhere big marlin roam.

If you want to get into making your own, I have a deal for you just in time for Christmas. My book “Lure-Making 201/202” came off the press a few weeks ago and is now available. So it is time to put it on your Christmas list and start hinting. The book is available directly from me. Just email me at rizzuto@aloha.net for details.


For at least the last 17 years, David Nahuina’s in-laws have been coming over from Oahu to spend a family Thanksgiving on the Big Island. This year, the Nahuinas welcomed 14 family members.

For 8 of those years, “Uncle Jim” Byrne has been determined to fish with David on the family boat Keiki Auana and “catch something big.” Over the years, their occasional success with mahimahi and ono has been gratifying but not satisfying. Uncle Jim wanted a bigger fish. They thought they had one last year but it got away.

With such a big crowd to entertain, David thought maybe this would be the year to forego fishing and do something else.

But with the Thanksgiving meal tucked away, talk at the Nahuina household turned to fishing. Uncle Jim’s eyes got wide, and David’s wife said something along the lines of “just go.”

So they packed up the boat before bedtime to be ready to leave at sunrise. David heard Jim pacing the floor at 5:30 am and soon they were off.

David likes to fish with live bait, so he headed to the Grounds to catch a few aku. When he got there, he saw boats working around flocks of birds, and he headed for the action.

But he never got there. As he came off the ledge, Jim’s “big fish” showed up.

David keeps his corner rods in swivel holders and the strike copied a scene right out of the TV show “Wicked Tuna.” The rod swiveled in the holder, bent over to the side and stayed down as the marlin raced away.

In the absence of a fighting chair, Jim sat on the cooler and fought the marlin by cranking the reel with the rod still in the rod holder.

David normally fishes for ahi, which seldom take as much line as a marlin does, so he wasn’t sure he had enough line for an extended surface fight. He told Jim to push the drag to “sunset” (full-drag) and crank with all of his might.
Jim had waited a long time for this fish and battled it hard. They had the marlin to the boat in about 40 minutes. Having accomplished Jim’s long-term goal they headed back in and got home in time to watch the Oregon vs Oregon State game.

Jim’s 306-pound marlin took a Koya lure made here in Kona by Eric Koyanagi. Worth noting, David was also running a pair of Softhead lures, which the marlin ignored.


The Aloha Kai’s 671-pound blue topped the list in a week when others caught dozens of blues weighing 300 to 600 pounds.

On the charterboat A’u Struck, Capt. Rich Youngs reported 5 blue marlin ranging from 135- to 600-pounds on three trips. Four were released but Rich brought a 252 pounder back to the scales after it could be revived.

“All fish were caught between Red Hill and straight out from the harbor and in depths ranging from 300 fathoms to 1100 fathoms,” Rich reported.

Rich successfully handled a double strike and got both fish (175- and 275-pounds) to the boat for safe, live releases. On two trips, he released 600-pound blues. On one of those days, he caught the 252 pounder while releasing the 600. Rich posted some video footage from one of those days on youtube. Watch it at http://youtu.be/LDlwPC2U8JI

Marlin Magic II started the week going 1 for 3 on blues. They lost two after short fights but angler Tracy Vrem brought a 450-pounder to the boat for a healthy tag and release.

Ken and Daniel Eichner from Alaska tagged and released blue marlin estimated at 300- and 350-pounds on Tuesday while fishing on Ihu Nui with Capt. McGrew Rice and Carlton Arai.

November 25: Blue marlin (671) Chris Zelenka, Capt. Jeff Rogers, Aloha Kai

Tag and Release

November 23: Blue marlin (450) Tracy Vrem, Capt. Marlin Parker, Marlin Magic II
November 25: Blue marlin (300) Daniel Elchner, (350) Ken Elchner, Capt. McGrew Rice, Ihu Nui
November 25: Blue marlin (190) Paul Neveazomi, Capt. Guy Terwilliger, High Flier
November 25: Blue marlin (250) Chris Carter, Capt. Tony Clark, Ihu Nui II
November 26: Blue marlin (250) Carol Herren, Capt. Bruce Herren, Raptor
November 26: Blue marlin (350) Jim Comes, Capt. Kenny Fogarty, Hula Girl
November 28: Blue marlin (250) Rob Hwang, Capt. Bruce Herren, Raptor
November 28: Blue marlin (125) Nathan Myers, Capt. Kenny Fogarty, Hula Girl

November 23: Blue marlin (324) Peter Cantor, Capt. Stan Cantor, Morning Star II
November 25: Blue marlin (303) Greg Pomes/Matthew Marinello, Capt. Jay Lighty, Mariah
November 25: Blue marlin (275) Cliff Olin, Capt. Bomboy Llanes, Lana Kila
November 25: Blue marlin (270) Nat and William Schulnof, Capt. Lance Gelman, Medusa
November 25: Blue marlin (246.5) Wes McLaughlin, Capt. Molly Palmer, Renegade
November 26: Blue marlin (311) Doug Dohring, Capt. Chris Hudson, Camelot
November 26: Blue marlin (395) Herb Jensen, Capt. John Wilson, Lawai'a
November 26: Blue marlin (320) Dan Show, Capt. Howard Whitcomb, Intrepid
November 28: Blue marlin (431.5) the Fujitanis, Pacific Queen
November 28: Blue marlin (445.5) Russell and Cayla Talindira, Kalawai'a
November 28: Blue marlin (306) Jenny Kellener/Jeff Rutherford, Capt. Chris Hudson, Camelot
November 29: Blue marlin (306.5) Jim Byrne, Capt. David Nahuina, Keiki Auana

Report by Jim Rizzuto

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