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BIG MARLIN BEAT GOES ON Fishing Report - May 02, 2017

Date of trip: May 02, 2017
Posted May 02, 2017 by FishTrack Member
  • After a three-hour battle, Chance Lincoln boated a blue marlin bigger than his pickup truck. With no scale available to weigh it, the fish's weight remains unknown. Photo courtesy Chance Lincoln. 1 of 7
  • After a three-hour battle, Chance Lincoln boated a blue marlin bigger than his pickup truck. With no scale available to weigh it, the fish's weight remains unknown. Photo courtesy Chance Lincoln. 2 of 7
  • World Tuna Day, is every day for Hawaii anglers. Hawaii anglers catch yellowfins year round. Taylor Lund boated this 99.5 pounder on Blue Hawaii with Capt. James Dean. Photo courtesy of the Charter Desk at Honokohau Harbor. 3 of 7
  • World Tuna Day, is every day for Hawaii anglers. Hawaii anglers catch yellowfins year round. Taylor Lund boated this 99.5 pounder on Blue Hawaii with Capt. James Dean. Photo courtesy of the Charter Desk at Honokohau Harbor. 4 of 7
  • After a "short bait strike" on High Flier, angler Kevin Powers brought in the largest marlin weighed in Kona last week. Photo courtesy of the Charter Desk at Honokohau Harbor. 5 of 7
  • After a "short bait strike" on High Flier, angler Kevin Powers brought in the largest marlin weighed in Kona last week. Photo courtesy of the Charter Desk at Honokohau Harbor. 6 of 7
  • Night Runner returned from a two-day long-range trip with 28 ono and assorted other beauties. Photo courtesy of Night Runner Sportfishing. 7 of 7
Capt. Jaff Kahl may have sent Kona its next grander. Jeff runs the Maui charter boat Piper. Last week, Jeff hooked a fish he estimated at 900 pounds or more. He used the designation “900+,” a kind of code for “mighta been a grander.” They got the marlin to the boat in about three hours, placed a tag and released her.

“She had plenty of fight left in her,” Jeff said. “It was a good feeling turning this majestic monster free to continue her marauding ways down below! Breed on!”

We are letting our imaginations go a bit wild for the moment. Imagine that Jeff’s released fish heads to the Big Island, cruises the Kona Coast, is caught here and turns out to be a grander. The tag will tell that it was Jeff’s original catch, which proves that the grander was caught twice by two different anglers.

That would be a first. Two anglers making the grander list with the same fish.

Sounds doubly grand to me.

If a three-hour fight is any measure of a fish’s size, there was another three-hour fight last week to spur your optimism. Last week, Chance Lincoln of Waimea battled a big fish for three hours before getting it to his boat. He brought the marlin back to port, loaded it on the back of his pickup truck and took some eye-popping pics.

Unfortunately, there was no scale available for weighing it so there is no official weight for Chance’s catch. Weights are difficult to estimate from a photo and even more difficult in this case. The fish is displayed in the foreground pointing at the camera with the fisherman back at its tail. Without an official weight, all you can say is the fish was really big.

SMALL PACKAGE BIG GIFT

This year’s good run of shortbill spearfish is the gift that keeps on giving. Spearfish may be the smallest of the world’s 10-member billfish family, but catching one of these spectacular-looking gamefish can be a big event for the neophyte as well as the veteran.

For Joshua Bumgartner, the 35-pound shortbill he caught on Fire Hatt last week was the largest fish he has ever caught. Josh is serving at Marine Corp Base Hawaii on Oahu and his partner Audrey Cole is a student at North Carolina State. It was their first trip to the Big Island, and their brilliant sliver and blue catch may assure it won’t be their last.

For veteran big-game angler Carol Ott, her 28.5-pound spearfish on Benchmark filled out a Billfish Royal Grand Slam. Her first shortbill, the 28.5 completed a lifetime quest to catch all 10 species.

On a fishing trip with legendary outdoor writer Joe Brooks, a fishing buddy once asked him what the most important catch of his life was. “It’s the one I have on my line right now,” Joe said. “So get out of my way.” He might as well have been talking about a shortbill.

BIG BAIT JARGON

In the 45 years this column has appeared here, we’ve collected a very diverse readership ranging from the world’s best pro fishermen to a curious non-fishing general public. For the latter (and some times the former), the fishing jargon can be befuddling. We try to unbefuddle from time to time.

The term of the week is “short bait,” which describes something that is neither short nor a bait. In a pattern of trolling lures, the short bait is the lure that is closest to the boat. Big marlin are usually very aggressive and often choose to attack the short bait because it is nearest to the huge noisy shape that has invaded their territory. For big game veterans, the term “short bait strike” tells almost an entire story — all but the outcome.

Reporting on the week’s biggest blue marlin, crew Kenton Geer called it the “first short bait bite we’ve seen in a while on the High Flier.”

In this case the short bait was a lure made by Kona artisan Eric Koyanagi. The rest of the story: Capt. Guy Terwilliger was running High Flier at the time and angler Kevin Powers reeled in the 490-pounder to record the biggest marlin weighed last week.

WHEN IT IS YOUR TURN

When a fisherman watches someone else do well on a day when he hasn’t, he’ll shrug his shoulders and say “It was his turn. We’ll get ours.”

Last week, it was unarguably Capt. Chuck Wigzell’s turn. Chuck skippers both EZ Pickens and Hooked Up.

He started the week on EZ Pickens and tagged blue marlin estimated at 400- and 150-pounds. The next day, on Hooked Up, he tagged a striped marlin estimated at 100 pounds (close to the biggest of the year). Back on Hooked Up on Thursday, Chuck released blues estimated at 350 and 180, and a 30-pound spearfish and brought back a 25-pound spear. Back at the helm of EZ Pickens on Friday, Chuck released a 400-pound blue and weighed a 30-pound spearfish and a 15-pound mahimahi.

Keep fishing. You’ll get your turn.

WORLD TUNA DAY

Tomorrow, May 2, is United Nations World Tuna Day. The observance shines a special spotlight on Hawaii as a central focus of the US tuna industry. Among the “wherases and therefores” in the official proclamations for the day, you’ll see a few facts you may never have heard before.

The port of Honolulu provides the US with 80 percent of its domestic bigeye tuna and 50 percent of its domestic yellowfin tuna. Perhaps more important to the Kona sportfishing fleet, tuna and tuna-like species account for nearly 90 percent of the Hawaii recreational catch by weight.

AGAINST THE ODDS

Oldtimers will remember the late Dr. “Kid” McCoy. Doc was an avid fisherman, and his boat Happy Hooker was a regular sight offshore whenever his veterinary practice allowed. He preferred to fish with live bait rather than lures because he said lure-fishing was an exercise in futility. During the 1977 HIBT I fished on Happy Hooker for a week and our team got exactly one strike in 40 hours of towing lures. “If marlin are endangered,” Doc said, “It’s not by any of us.”

Our miserable week to the contrary, lures do draw a lot of strikes, but the catch rate is low. Many years ago, we used to figure that only one in four strikes ended up with a catch at the back of the boat. With better techniques, catch rates are closer to 50%.

On Friday, Anxious went 2 for 3 on blue marlin and 2 for 2 on ono. Blue Hawaii went 1 for 1 on blues, 0 for 1 on spearfish and 1 for 2 on ono.

The odds are getting better — and better still as more billfish are released.


Big-Fish List for 2017. The list recognizes the biggest fish caught on rod and reel (except opakapaka and onaga, for which we'll accept handline catches) in West Hawaii waters for 2017 in each of 22 categories. They are listed by species, weight, angler, skipper, boat, and date. The list is updated every Sunday throughout the year (copyright 2017 by Jim Rizzuto). If we have overlooked you, give us a call (885-4208) or send an e-mail (rizzutojim1@gmail.com).

Blue marlin, 925, Guy Terwilliger, Capt. Cindy Cary, Cindy Lu. Apr. 2
Black marlin, 357, Todd Nakatani, Keola Toriano, Breezin. Apr 6.
Ahi, 242, Shawn Takaki, Clarence Minamishin Jr., Malama Lama. Apr 13.
Bigeye tuna, 121.5, Kelsey Bestall, Capt. Jah Nogues, High Noon. Jan 14
Striped marlin, 107, David Benson, Capt. Kevin Hiney, Kuuipo. Mar 31
Spearfish, 56, Mac Jorgensen, Capt. Kenny Fogarty, Hula Girl. Mar 13.
Sailfish, 93, Justin Kaber, Capt. Shawn Rotella, Night Runner, Mar. 25.
Mahimahi, 46.5, Brita Campbell, Capt. Bob Beach, Reel Screamer. Mar 2.
Ono, 75.5, Jason Wong, Donny Kobayashi, No Name. Mar. 22.
Kaku, (barracuda), 39, Chad Culbertson, Capt. Jeff Rogers, Aloha Kai. Jan 23
Kahala, vacant
Ulua (giant trevally), vacant
Omilu (bluefin trevally), vacant
Otaru (skipjack tuna), 24, Marie Hulletel, Capt Kevin Hiney, Ku`uipo. Feb 10.
Broadbill swordfish, vacant
Ahipalaha (albacore), vacant
Kawakawa, 22.5, Britt McCurdy, Capt. Shawn Rotella, Night Runner. Jan 31
Kamanu (rainbow runner), 20.5, Britt McCurdy, Capt. Shawn Rotella, Night Runner. Jan 31
Opakapaka (pink snapper), 14.5, Greg Hong, Kevin Shiraki, Erin Kai. Jan 12.
Onaga (ulaula ko`aie), 21, Greg Hong and Kevin Shiraki, Erin Kai. Mar 6.
Uku (gray snapper), 37.8, Billy Wakefield, Kiakahi. Apr 4
O`io (bonefish), 10.5, Hansen Gardling, shoreline. Mar 30.

Beasts of the week (marlin weighing 500 pounds or more, including R for releases).

None reported

Released:
Apr 23: Blue marlin (150), blue marlin (400) Vicki Pickens, Capt. Chuck Wigzell, EZ Pickens
Apr 24: Striped marlin (100) unknown, Capt. Chuck Wigzell, Hooked Up
Apr 26: Blue marlin (125 and 225) Mark Kinsler, Capt. Neal Isaacs, Anxious
Apr 27: Spearfish (35) unknown, Capt. Neal Isaacs, Anxious
Apr 27: Blue marlin (180 and 350), spearfish (30) Laura Kingsbury, Capt. Chuck Wigzell, Hooked Up
Apr 28: Blue marlin (400) Parker Nguyen, Capt. Chuck Wigzell, EZ Pickens
Apr 28: Blue marlin (175) Katy Hansen, Capt. James Dean, Blue Hawaii
Apr 29: Blue marlin (250) James Golia, Capt. Marlin Parker, Marlin Magic II

Boated:
Apr 23: Blue marlin (134.5) Cyrus Machi, Genesis Marks, Naia Lele
Apr 24: Ahi (99.5) Taylor Lund, Capt. James Dean, Blue Hawaii
Apr 24: Ahi (80) Tony Mascone, Capt. Molly Palmer, Camelot
Apr 25: Blue marlin (142) Isaac Fleming, Jerry Waliezer, Miss Cindy
Apr 25: Mahimahi (three pieces from 15 to 18) unknown, Capt. Kent Mongreig, Sea Wife II
Apr 26: Ahi (120) Bill Manns, Capt. Guy Terwilliger, High Flier
Apr 26: Blue marlin (133) Henderson family, Dennis Bishop, Koko
Apr 26: Spearfish (28.5) Carol Ott, Capt. Chris Donato, Benchmark
Apr 26: Ahi (100), ono (20 and 25) Nicole Hewitt, Capt. John Bagwell, Silky
Apr 26: Ono (30 and 30) Mark Kinsler, Capt. Neal Isaacs, Anxious
Apr 27: Ono (20) unknown, Capt. Neal Isaacs, Anxious
Apr 27: Spearfish (25) Laura Kingsbury, Capt. Chuck Wigzell, Hooked Up
Apr 28: Spearfish (30), mahimahi (15) Parker Nguyen, Capt. Chuck Wigzell, EZ Pickens
Apr 28: Ono (21 and 23) Nathan Nielson, Capt. Jeff Heintz, Linda Sue IV
Apr 29: Blue marlin (490) Kevin Powers, Capt. Guy Terwilliger, High Flier
Apr 29: Blue marlin (304.5) Roger Beasley, Keith Chapman, Kalele

 
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