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First Kona Black of 2017 Fishing Report - April 10, 2017

Date of trip: April 10, 2017
Posted April 11, 2017 by FishTrack Member
  • A rare catch on a lure, this oceanic white tip shark hit a Ta`aroa lure made by Antonio Amaral of Brazil. Photo courtesy Bill Jardine 1 of 4
  • Vicki Picking released 4 shortbill spearfish while teammate Melissa Pearl btagged a 225-pound blue marlin. Action on EZ Pickens with Capt. Chuck Wigzell. 2 of 4
  • Ryan Lutes boated a 622- pound marlin on Capt Jack with skipper Marc Schubert. Photo courtesy of the Charter Desk. 3 of 4
  • Kona's first black marlin of 2017, this 357-pounder was caught by Todd Nakatani while fishing on the private boat Breezin with Keola Toriano. Photo courtesy of the Charter Desk. 4 of 4
Biggest blue marlin of the year, first black marlin of 2017, longest marlin “fight” in many months, most spearfish on a single trip, strangest catch on a lure — these unusual stories headline another special week of Kona fishing.

The year’s biggest blue started the week off when Capt. Guy Terwilliger switched places with friend Cindy Cary to fish on Cindy’s skiff Cindy Lou. Some small boats do better towing a live bait rather than trolling lures. That may or may not be the case with the Cindy Lou, but a live bait definitely worked this time. A 925-pound blue wolfed it down.

Cindy took the helm (it is her boat) and turned the rod-and reel over to Guy. After a 2-1/2 hour fight, they got the giant fish to the boat and towed it back to port. After the Charter Desk staff weighed it, the fish handlers opened the belly and found a 20 pound-spearfish inside. In case you were asking, the catch-within-the-catch counts toward the official weight.

The spearfish in the belly was no surprise to long-time fishermen who have long known that big blues feed on their smaller cousins. Indeed, the 925-pounder could have packed in enough spearfish that day to top the grander mark. While Guy and Cindy were jousting with their big one, Vicki Pickens was busy fighting four spearfish weighing from 25 to 30 pounds. Vicki fished on EZ Pickens with Capt. Chuck Wigzell.

The Cindy Lou catch tops the biggest of 2016, a 898-pound blue caught last November. It is bigger than any marlin caught here since August 26, 2015, when Northern Lights weighed a 1,309-pounder.

On Cindy Lou’s lucky day angler Rudolph Wankow was on Sundowner with Capt. Reuben Rubio and tangled (literally) with a 608-pound blue marlin. The marlin took a trolled lure and swam straight away from the boat. As its tail slapped against the leader, the heavy nylon wrapped around its tail. After being pulled backwards, the fish was unable to recover for a vital release.

Crew Daron Castoro showed pictures of the catch aboard Sundowner being displayed with a bunch of bananas. Put that in your “Bananas really aren’t bad luck” file. Lucky folks who got to share the catch are now eating marlin jerky, smoked sausage, dried fish, and poke.

On Saturday, anglers Todd Nakatani and Keola Toriano boated a 357-pound black marlin to record Kona’s first of the year. It’s Kona’s largest black since a 587-pounder boated in October 2014. Todd and Keola were fishing on the private boat Breezin. Todd had caught a 400-pound blue marlin the day before using a live aku for bait. This time, all attempts to catch an aku failed.

They switched from trolling to sinking baits for deep-swiming tuna. To their surprise, they pulled up a kawakawa that was just the right size to replace their hoped-for aku. The black marlin took the kawakawa as they led it behind the boat just outside the 100-fathom ledge. Using 130-pound tackle, Todd was able to get the marlin to the boat in about an hour.

Meanwhile off Milolii

Meanwhile, many miles down the coastline, Ryan Lutes and Mark Schubert were doing battle with the second biggest marlin hooked last week. Both men are charter captains and were exploring new territory between days working on their own boats. As they trolled off Milolii, a 622-pound blue crashed a lure made in Kona by Eric Koyanagi.

Right from the strike, the fish ran out at least a quarter-mile of line. Having a lot of line in the water can be a real advantage to an angler. If the fish stays on top and wears itself out from dragging the line around, the angler has the easy job of picking up line as the boat maneuvers toward the fish.

But the extra line becomes a huge handicap if the fish takes it all down deep. Then the angler’s job is to winch up a heavy dead weight. This one went deep.

For well over three hours, Ryan cranked on the fish “Wicked Tuna Style.” With the rod firmly planted in the rod holder, he pulled the line in with his left hand and cranked with his right.


On Thursday, Bill Jardine hosted the Payne family for a fishing day aboard his classic fishing vessel Nalu Kea. The Paynes and their kids, Max and Cody, are visiting from their home in Atlanta. Young Max, 10, had already placed his order for the day. Max wanted to catch a shark. And it had to be bigger than Cody’s biggest fish, an ono from a previous trip.

Bill let him down as gently as possible. They would be trolling with lures, which are wonderful for marlin, tuna, mahimahi and ono but are routinely spurned by sharks. Sharks like real food that tastes and smells delicious. One reason Kona anglers troll lures rather than live bait is that sharks don’t like lures.

As her choice, Max’s mom picked out a very pretty lure made by Brazilian Antonio Amaral. Meanwhile, Max tried not to be disappointed that he wasn’t catching a shark.

As Bill studied the action of the lures popping and splashing behind the boat, he spotted a dark shape charging across the wake. It knocked down the long rigger and then the short rigger without hooking up. When it grabbed the lure on the long corner, the hook stuck and the fish was on.

Max worked hard on his catch, content that it was definitely bigger than Cody’s ono.
When they got it to the boat, they could scarcely believe their eyes. At the end of the line was Max’s wished for shark — a white tip estimated at 150 pounds.

After all aboard got a good look and a few photos, Bill retrieved his lure and cut the shark free.

“Naturally, the wishes of a boy managed to overcome the logical pessimism of the grown-ups,” he said.

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, 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, 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), 24.5, Brent Masunaga, Holly Ann 3. Jan 3.
O`io (bonefish), 10.5, Hansen Gardling, shoreline. Mar 30.

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

Apr 02: Blue marlin (925) Guy Terwilliger, Capt. Cindy Cary, Cindy Lu
Apr 02: Blue marlin (608) Rudolph Wankow, Capt. Reuben Rubio, Sundowner
Apr 04: Blue marlin (600 R) John Eichler, Capt. Joe Schumaker, Fire Hatt
Apr 08: Blue marlin (622) Ryan Lutes, Capt. Mark Schubert, Capt. Jack

Apr 02: Blue marlin (250) Ashlyn Seenberg, Capt. James Dean, Blue Hawaii
Apr 02: Blue marlin (225) Malissa Peart, spearfish (four fish from 25 to 30) Vicki Pickens, Capt. Chuck Wigzell, EZ Pickens
Apr 03: Blue marlin (250) Derrick, Capt. Rich Young, A`u Struck
Apr 04: Blue marlin (200 and 300) Shawn Slattery, Capt. Rocky Gauron, Hooked Up
Apr 05: Blue marlin (115) Ed Hocking, Capt. Marlin Parker, Marlin Magic II
Apr 06: Blue marlin (175) Clint Gorham, Capt. Steve Epstein, Huntress
Apr 06: Blue marlin (150) Nolan Seenberg, Capt. James Dean, Blue Hawaii
Apr 08: Blue marlin (175) Vicky Pickens, Capt. Chuck Wigzell, EZ Pickens

Apr 02: Aku (16.5) Asher Kuiken, Capt. Robert Hudson, Camelot
Apr 02: Blue marlin (366.5) Aaron Kaupu, Allan Liftee, Hookela II
Apr 04: Ono (20) Derrick, Capt. Rich Young, A`u Struck
Apr 04: Mahimahi (42) Kyle Scries, Capt. Jeff Heintz, Linda Sue IV
Apr 05: Ono (25) Lava Mama, Capt. John Bagwell, Silky
Apr 05: Mahimahi (15) unknown, Capt. Kent Mongreig, Sea Wife II
Apr 06: Black marlin (357) Todd Nakatani, Keola Toriano, Breezin
Apr 08: Spearfish (41) Andy Bries, Capt. Jeff Heintz, Linda Sue IV
Apr 08: Spearfish (two fish 25 and 40) Parke Berholtzheimer, Capt. Marlin Parker, Marlin Magic II

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