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Double Birthday Billfish Whammy Fishing Report - April 17, 2017

Date of trip: April 17, 2017
Posted April 18, 2017 by FishTrack Member
  • ?Shawn Takaki and Clarence Minamishin Jr. boated a 242-pound ahi? to score Kona's biggest April yellowfin tuna in memory. Charter Desk photo. 1 of 3
  • Mason Farish of Farish Media boated the week's biggest blue marlin while fishing on Kona Blue with Capt. Dave Crawford and crew Chris Hudson. The 541 pounder was a last-minute bite on a Saturday snorkeling trip. In the photo, Capt. Crawford, Mason Fari 2 of 3
  • Billy Wakefield boated an uku weighing 37.8 pounds. The big green jobfish was close to the 39.5-pound uku Hawaii State Record. Photo courtesy of Billy Wakefield. 3 of 3
Birthdays are to good fishing what bananas are to bad luck. Good friends Regina Farish and Cheryl Cagampang share the same birthday and celebrated it together on Saturday with a fishing trip on Kona Blue. By doubling the birthday luck, something special was bound to happen.

Through their company, Farish Media, Regina and her husband Mason Farish produce popular fishing shows like the Pacific Blue series. In other words, they know Kona fishing well enough to plan for surprises, so the Farishes invited their friends aboard with a warning.

“We’re planning an 8 am to 1 pm charter,” Regina said. “But don’t schedule anything for 1:30 pm because if we hook up at 1 pm, we’re fighting that fish to the end.”

Their guests, Cheryl and Garrett Cagampang and Margie and Craig Powell, heard the optimism with smiles, planned accordingly, and weren’t disappointed.

Crew Chris Hudson put out the trolling lures and Capt. Dave Crawford steered Kona Blue up the coast for a snorkeling stop at Makalawena. This put them in a good spot to fish the Grounds after spying on colorful reef fish and enjoying an onboard lunch.

With no bites on the way up and no action on the Grounds, they were running out of time but not enthusiasm. Less than 10 minutes from the harbor, they were all up on the bridge explaining to Cheryl how things would work if a fish hit a lure, Regina said.

At 12: 54 pm the biggest marlin of the week chased down a lure on the short corner line and took off with it.

“Mason scrambled down to the chair with Garrett right behind to reel in other lures,“ Regina said. “I headed for the Canon video camera to try to capture some good footage. Cheryl was the iPhone cameraman and Margie and Craig cheered Mason on from the bridge. Garrett was an awesome wing man to Mason throughout the 45-minute fight.”

The fish turned out to be camera shy. They never saw it jump and could only estimate its weight from the pull on the line.

“Everyone originally called it around 350 pounds,” Regina said. “But Mason kept upping his estimate as he fought the fish. Finally, he called it at least 500 pounds before ever seeing it.”

During the fight, the marlin had tangled its tail in the leader, so Mason was fighting it backwards, which explains why it never jumped.

Mason got it to the boat in about 45 minutes. Capt. Dave applied his visual scales and called it 540 pounds. Later, the actual scales at the Fuel Dock flashed the weight of the last-minute marlin as 541.

“It was Mason's biggest marlin ever,” Regina said. “And an awesome early Easter birthday gift for Cheryl and me!”

The marlin took on another life, and won’t be wasted, Dave said. “I personally filleted the fish and brought the big chunks to a friend with a giant cold smoker.”


Hawaii’s spring run of big ahi usually begins about three weeks after tax day. Send in your 1040s, file copies for reference, and then prep your tuna gear to be ready when the big “yellows” get here.

How good will the 2017 run be? We got a clue on Thursday when Shawn Takaki and Clarence Minamishin Jr brought in a 242-pound yellowfin tuna. The surprise catch is not only early but it’s the biggest April ahi in memory.

Better than that, it is the heaviest yellowfin to lead the Big-Fish List for the first four months of the year for as far back as I can find records. I did get lazy and quit went I got back to 2006, but those 11 years are good enough to make the point and raise hopes.

The first four months of the year are usually dominated by a few big January fish from winter-over schools. Then the catch slows down. The spring run usually reaches Kauai around the start of May and breaks loose here in late May or early June. Shawn and Clarence’s hefty tuna could signal a big year for big tuna starting now.


Sometimes you have to hook ‘em twice to catch ‘em once. When Night Runner hooked a black marlin on Thursday, skipper Shawn Rotella was especially eager to get it to the boat because it was only the second black marlin he had ever seen in a lifetime of fishing here.

The marlin had taken a live bait (an opelu) and was fighting predictably, but halfway through the fight, the battle got a lot harder. When Shawn’s angler got the fish to the boat, he and his crew could see why. Sometime during the fight, the hook had slipped from its original hold in the corner of the fish’s mouth. But rather than letting the fish go free, the hook re-anchored itself in the marlin’s hump. From then on, the angler was pulling the fish sideways rather than leading it to the boat.

Blacks are uncommon in Hawaii waters and Shawn was willing to share this one. After snapping pics of it in the water and estimating its weight (300 pounds), he and his crew released it to fight another day.


While fishing from his boat Kiakahi, bottom fisherman Billy Wakefield pulled up an uku weighing 37.8 pounds. At first, the big gray snapper looked like it might be a new Hawaii state record. But no, the record stands as a 39.5-pound uku caught in Molokai waters 10 years ago. Billy caught his fish on a hook baited with a chunk of opelu.

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).

April 15: Blue marlin (541) Mason Farish, Capt. Dave Crawford, Kona Blue


April 10: Blue marlin (100) Brian Tietz, Capt. Joe Schumaker, Fire Hatt
April 11: Spearfish (30) Joe Yellig, Capt. Al Gustavson, Topshape
April 12: Blue marlin (300) Richard Hunze, Capt. Kent Mongreig, Sea Wife II
April 13: Spearfish (35) Gerardo Tamayo, Capt. Marlin Parker, Marlin Magic II
April 14: Spearfish (35) Paul Harris, Capt.Guy Terwilliger, High Flier
April 14: Spearfish (25) Keirnes Young, Capt. Al Gustavson, Topshape


April 12: Ahi (151) Stu Marks, blue marlin (285) Evan Marks, Capt. Russ Nitta, Lepika
April 13: Ahi (242) Shawn Takaki, Capt. Clarence Minamishin Jr., Malama Lama

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