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A Hook-Up/Haul-Out Connection? Fishing Report - October 06, 2015

Date of trip: October 06, 2015
Posted October 06, 2015 by FishTrack Member
  • Topshape -- the haul-out after the hook-up. Photo courtesy of Topshape Sportfishing. 1 of 3
  • Martin Newton fished on High Noon with Capt. Dee Bradford and boated the largest blue marlin weighed here last week - a 644-pounder. ? Photos courtesy of the Charter Desk at Honokohau Harbor.? 2 of 3
  • Nick Watson boated a 50.5 -?pound ono and a 78.6?-?pound sailfish while fishing with Larry Peardon on El Jobean. 3 of 3
Have you ever heard of the “haul-out/hook-up connection”? You haul your boat out for routine maintenance and repairs. After you put it back in service, you hook up your biggest fish of the year. Makes sense if you figure that your newly tuned fishing machine is now set up for its best possible performance.

Last week, Topshape came up with a stunning variation on the phenomenon. They hooked a 900-pound blue marlin — their biggest fish of the year — the day before they hauled the boat out for maintenance.

Capt. John Bennett had the boat out on Tuesday with Capt. Kevin Hibbard on deck and visitor A. J. Hamblin along to handle the angling chores. A. J. is from Ohio and had “catch a blue marlin” on his bucket list.

About mid-way in their fishing day, the Topshape party was trolling off Red Hill and hooked a pair of marlin on a double strike. John estimated one at 200 pounds and the other at 500 to 600. After a short spurt of excitement, both shook free.

And that’s the way the situation remained until about 3:30 in the afternoon as they began working their way up the coastline toward Honokohau Harbor. John usually pulls in his lures at around 3:45 so their only hope was a last-minute “mercy bite.” “Mercy” turned to “merci” (yes, a very bad French pun) as they trolled in 500 fathoms near the spot where VV-Buoy once lived.

The big one came in on a big Marlin Magic Poppa Joe lure running on the long-corner line. By now the water had turned nasty so the sight of the bite was more a sloppy splash than an epic explosion. Despite the sloppy chop and white-crested waves, John was able to maneuver the 43-foot Cabo to stay close and keep the fight short. The fish never got more than 300 yards of line out, John said, which made the fight a bit easier for A. J.

During the fight, the big female drew the attention of three escorts. John marked the blips from the three males on his fish finder as they tracked their girlfriend from below.

The novice Ohio angler got the leader to Kevin in less than a half hour. If the fight had gone on much longer, the males might have blundered into the line and ended the fight on their own.

The lure was rigged with a single hook rather than a tandem pair, so they were able to disengage it from the marlin’s jaw easily and safely. They got a good look at it and came up with an estimate of 800- to 900-pounds, then released it. It was a very fat fish with a belly full of roe, John said. With a marlin of this size and condition, a difference of 10- to 12-inches in length could mean a weight difference of 200 or more pounds.

By the time they reached port, the rumor mill had settled on 900, but John felt more comfortable filling out the tag report with 850.

Regardless of the number you pick, it was the Topshape’s biggest of 2015. As for the rest of the haul-out/hook-up story, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens when the tuned-up Topshape goes back out to sea.


A continuing stream of tropical storms have delivered unpredictable conditions to the Kona Coast. Even so, you can usually find fishable water somewhere — but where? Larry Peardon loves to challenge the seaworthiness of his 34-foot, double-hull boat El Jobean, so he decided to go exploring for smooth water and found it in the most unlikely place.

With Nick Watson and Robbie Brown aboard, Larry left Honokohau at 5:00 am and raced down toward Pebble Beach before putting the lines in. He planned to target ono so he pulled ono lures along the inside ledge. Even though the storm was to the south, Larry found smooth seas on the south side of Kauana Point and from there all the way to South Point.

“The weather was beautiful,” Larry said.

So they kept the ono gear running all the way down to the ledge at South Point. They boated a mahimahi and lost several ono before turning out toward deeper water at South Point. The weather was still good so they headed out toward a big stormy commotion of birds feeding over fish. They had elected to keep their ono lures in the wake and were towing a pair of Randy Llanes root beer-colored jets.

While still only in 60 fathoms, the lures were hit by what looked like a pair of small marlin. One shook free but the other held on. When they got it to the boat, they realized they were looking at the first Pacific sailfish any of them had ever caught here. The sail would later weigh 78.6-pounds, which is a very respectable size for the species.

We see few sailfish here and most of those are caught in close to shore by quiet boats fishing steathily with live opelu. Few lure trollers get bites.

As the day warmed up, the wind picked up and whispered loudly that it was time to make the long run back up the coastline for home. While trolling on the way back, they boated a 50-pound ono off Kauna Point. By 3:30 pm, it had gotten lumpy off Honaunau so it was time to reel in the lures and race the double-hull over the white caps for home. By the end of a 12-hour day, they had explored the whole south coast for fishable water and returned home with smiles and fish.


Capt. Rich Youngs on A’u Struck tested the waters north of the harbor in hopes of catching something to eat. With mahimahi fillets in mind, he set out a spread of 5-inch to 7-inch popping lures and stayed along the shoreline near the opelu koa. To vary the spread a bit, he finished off his pattern with a Marlin Magic blue teardrop on the stinger. As he approached the grounds off the airport, he could see that the seas were getting lumpier.

“By the time we got halfway up the 100-fathom ledge in the middle of the grounds, the waves were coming in double sets and white-capping so we turned out and headed to where we thought the pipe would be,” Rich said. “We never found the pipe, but we did get a marlin in about the area that it should have been. It came in on the teardrop stinger and weighed an estimated 175 pounds.”

Exciting catch and release, but not dinner. Maybe he could find some cooperative shibi (small tuna) around K buoy.

“We were able to hook a few on our bait rods but we lost them to predatory sharks every time,” Rich said.

The sharks got their dinner so they called it quits for the day. But they left us with a useful report on conditions.

The current was running north and the seas have cooled down to 84 from 88 to 89 degrees just a few weeks ago.

“North of Kaiwi the ocean is big right now so be advised,” Rich said.

Plan your fishing and other water activities accordingly and keep your eyes on the weather.

Beasts of the week (marlin weighing 500 pounds or more).

September 29: Blue marlin (644) Martin Newton, Capt. Dee Bradford, High Noon

Tag and Release

September 27: Blue marlin (150) Mike Jacobsen, Capt. James Dean, Blue Hawaii
September 28: Blue marlin (200) Unknown, Capt. Brian Schumaker, Anxious
September 29: Blue marlin (850), A.J. Hamblin, Capt. John Bennett, Topshape
September 29: Blue marlin (150) Mike Jacobsen, Capt. James Dean, Blue Hawaii
September 29: Blue marlin (400) Unknown, Capt. Jeff Metzler, Anxious
September 30: Blue marlin (120) Dmitri Galinov, Capt. McGrew Rice, Ihu Nui II
September 30: Blue marlin (200) Christine Sullivan, Capt. David Crawford, Kona Blue
September 30: Blue marlin (125 and 225) Malcom Nelson, Capt. James Dean, Blue Hawaii
September 30: Blue marlin (150 and 200) Unknown, Capt. Trevor Child, Maverick
September 30: Blue marlin (300) Unkown, Capt. Jeff Metzler, Anxious
October 1: Blue marlin (200) Andres Herrera, Capt. Jeff Heintz, Linda Sue IV
October 1: Blue marlin (150 and 210) Brian Sisti, Capt. McGrew Rice, Ihu Nui II
October 2: Blue marlin (225) Ed Bell, Capt. McGrew Rice, Ihu Nui II
October 3: Blue marlin (100 and 130) Carol Herren, Capt. Bruce Herren, Raptor
October 3: Blue marlin (100) Nick Mainaris, Capt. Marlin Parker, Marlin Magic II

October 1: Squid (52.7) Matthew Fowler, Capt. Cyrus Widhalm, Ahi Lani
October 3: Sailfish (78.6), ono (50.5) Nick Watson, Capt. Larry Peardon, El Jobean

Report by Jim Rizzuto

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