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Big Spearfish, Blue Marlin, Kawakawa Fishing Report - February 07, 2017

Date of trip: February 07, 2017
Posted February 07, 2017 by FishTrack Member
  • Britt McCurdy displays the largest rainbow runner weighed in Kona so far this year, 21.5 pounds. Photo courtesy Night Runner Sportfishing. 1 of 3
  • Talexii Ancheta-Ross with our oddest catch of the week. Three "island jack," carangoides orthogrammus. 2 of 3
  • Britt McCurdy displays the largest kawakawa weighed in Kona so far this year. The "wavy back skipjack" pushed the scales to 22.5 pounds. Photo courtesy Night Runner Sportfishing. 3 of 3
At high noon last Friday, Capt. John Bagwell was trolling off Red Hill when the week’s biggest blue marlin crossed his path. Aboard Silky with him, crew Steve Petras and angler Diane Reid were ready for the challenge. The fish raced into the tumbling waters in the 45-footer’s wake, picked out a small version of the Koya Poi Dog lure, and pounced on it.

Though Diane and her husband Gary are from Memphis, Tennesee, they have fished here often and know a bit about fighting big fish. Diane grabbed her seat in the fighting chair and strapped herself into the specialty “Steve Petras” rod that Steve had made for Silky.

Steve uses a blank with the flex of an 80-pound rod at its tip and the sturdiness of a 130-pound blank at the forgrip. The flex tip responds very well to the abrupt, jerky actions a big fish might use to shake the hook. The stiffer butt provides the lifting power needed to raise a fish if it dives.

Diane made it work and had the fish to the boat in under an hour. The marlin was very healthy when it came to the boat, so it was a prime candidate for a successful release.

Steve and JB were able to get an accurate measure of the marlin’s “short Length,” which provided all the information they needed for a very accurate weight estimate. The length from the tip of the marlin’s lower jaw to the fork of its tail came in at 131 inches. JB had weighed an 825-pound fish in 2001 with a short length of 132 inches. Comparing the two, he was comfortable in estimating the weight of Friday’s fish at 800 pounds or more.


Night Runner ended 2016 with Kona’s biggest spearfish, ono, kahala and kawakawa of the year. A month into 2017, Capt. Shawn Rotella’s crew is back on top in three categories. Last week, Shawn and crew Britt McCurdy took the lead for kawakawa, 22.5-pounds; rainbow runner, 21.5; and bonefish.


Capt. Guy Terwilliger found a floater surrounded by little tuna as voracious as they were small. The greedy little devils not only struck his lures, but they grabbed the swivels designed to spin out line twists. Where bite-sized baitfish abound, there are usually big fish around waiting to grab a bite. Guy stopped his 23-foot skiff Cindy Lou near the floater so he could get a good look at what might be down deep under the small tuna. As he did, the Softhead lure at the end of his trolling line settled down into the depths. Soon, his boat was dead still in the water and imparted none of the aggressive trolling action these lures need to stir up strikes.

All of a sudden, line started screaming off the reel. Despite hanging lifelessly below, the lure had fooled a 150-pound blue marlin. Perhaps satisfied by the lure’s soft feel and squiddy look, the marlin gulped the dead lure with gusto and took off very well hooked. Guy was using a “Wide-range” model, so named because it works at trolling speeds as fast as 20 knots. As last week’s surprise blue proved, the lure’s “wide range” begins at zero.


In the early days of offshore gamefishing, long battles with marlin were common. Some lasted more than a day. Even though tackle and fighting tactics have improved steadily, long fights still happen occasionally in the modern era.

It was Throwback Tuesday last week on Bite Me 5 as Capt. Rick Reger and angler David Pignolet found themselves in the kind of classic battle that Hemingway made famous. Their slugfest had both the long fight and the sharks that always added drama to Hemingway’s accounts of battles with big fish. Indeed, the sharks are often the reason the battle goes long. Instead of being able to stay close to a live fish that you can lead, you find yourself trying to raise a dead weight from the depths.

After seven long hours, they finally got their “trophy” to the boat, shredded by shark bites. The sharks had left them 483 pounds of bone, fins, skin and flesh and one amazing memory to retell again and again.


The giant trevally and bluefin trevally are the uluas that get the most attention, but Hawaii waters are actually home to a dozen members ot the trevally family. Nearly all grow big enough (10 pounds or more) to be called “ulua,” but they also go by other names, as well. This week’s odd catch is a perfect example. Fishing with Robert Ventura, Charterdesk employee Talexii Ancheta-Ross caught three “island jack,” as they are known elsewhere. Here, they are usually called “yellowspot ulua,” as indicated on the Hawaii Fishing News State Record site.

As it happens the current state record of 17 pounds, 3 ounces was caught by spearing so there is no rod-and-reel state record. Talexii and Robert found a school and caught three. Her biggest weighed 6 pounds, no threat to Hawaii’s record Carangoides orthogrammus.

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, 771, Brad Picking, Capt. Chuck Wigzell, Ez Pickens. Jan 28
Black marlin, vacant
Ahi, 191, Keri Clavin, Capt. Brad Damasco, Bite Me 6. Jan 15.
Bigeye tuna, 121.5, Kelsey Bestall, Capt. Jah Nogues, High Noon. Jan 14
Striped marlin, 81, Luke McCallum, Capt. Tim Hicks, Illusion. Jan. 3
Spearfish, 49, Paul Marks, Capt. Robert Hudson, Camelot. Jan 14
Sailfish, vacant
Mahimahi, 42, Nick Docken, Capt. Kenny Fogarty, Hula Girl. Jan 6.
Ono, 47, Devin Hallingstad, Kayak. Jan 10
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), 18, Larry Chu, Capt. Kent Mongreig, Seawife II. Jan 5.
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), vacant
Uku (gray snapper), 24.5, Brent Masunaga, Holly Ann 3. Jan 3.
O`io (bonefish), 6.8, Britt McCurdy, Night Runner, shoreline. Jan 31.

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

Feb 01: Blue marlin (600 weight estimated) Capt. Keoni Llanes, Holiday
Feb 03: Blue marlin (800R) Diane Reid, Capt. John Bagwell, Silky


Jan 29: Spearfish (31.5) Candy Stewart, Capt. McGrew Rice, Ihu Nui
Jan 31: Bluemarlin (375) Mark Knotts, Capt. Chuck Wigzell, Hooked Up
Jan 31: Blue marlin (250) Kevin Jacques, Capt. McGrew Rice, Ihu Nui
Jan 31: Blue marlin (150) Jingto Shi, Capt. Tim Hicks, Illusion
Feb 01: Blue marlin (475) Mark Sawyer, Capt. Chuck Wigzell, Hooked Up
Feb 01: Blue marlin (175) Jordan Wheeler, Capt. Kenny Fogarty, Hula Girl
Feb 03: Spearfish (30) Larry Nissen, Capt. Mcgrew Rice, Ihu Nui

Jan 29: Spearfish (31) Brian Kischu, Capt. John Rooney, Miss Mojo
Jan 30: Aku (13) Capt. Kent Mongrieg, Seawife II
Jan 31: Blue marlin (483) David Pignolet, Capt. Rick Reger, Bite Me 5
Jan 31: Spearfish (40) Curt Buckholt, Capt. Jeff Heintz, Linda Sue IV
Feb 01: Blue marlin (85), spearfish (38) Gerry Springs, Capt. Jeff Heintz, Linda Sue IV
Feb 02: BoneFish (6.8) Brittany McCurdy, Shoreline
Feb 03: Blue marlin (181) Doug Miller, Molly Palmer, Camelot
Feb 04: Blue marlin (200) Capt. Will Lazenby, Linda Sue IV
Feb 04: Blue marlin 160) Capt. Chad Contessa, Bite Me 4
Feb 04: Blue marlin (350) Hal Westbrook, Capt. Larry Peardon, El Jobean

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