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Great Kona Fishing Defies Hurricanes Fishing Report - September 08, 2015

Date of trip: September 08, 2015
Posted September 08, 2015 by FishTrack Member
  • Angler Brett Rough boated an 88-pound ulua (giant trevally) on Reel Screamer with Capt. Bob Beach while fishing out of Kawaihae. Photo courtesy Reel Screamer. 1 of 2
  • Kayakers continued to show their special ability to catch sailfish with this 55 pounder caught from a kayak by George Bonne. Photo courtesy of The Charter Desk at Honokohau Harbor. 2 of 2
Thunder, lightning, torrential rain, flash flooding, roads turned into rivers, even some scattered blasts of hail — last week we had it all. How did Kona’s mini-monsoon affect your fishing?

As seen in many fishing stories last week, the answer is both surprising and important because it shows the uniqueness of fishing along the Kona Coast.

Take Friday, for example, because that was the day headlined in Saturday’s papers because of flooding and road closures.

Despite ominous warnings about the continuing impacts of three hurricanes (a first-ever phenomenon), Friday dawned bright, sunny and calm. Charterboats took out their scheduled parties knowing that they could reach good fishing spots quickly and get back to port in a half hour or less if the weather turned against them. Kona is one of the few places where you can get to blue marlin water and back in less time than it takes to go grocery shopping.

Indeed, by 8:30 am, the charterboat Luna had gotten to its favorite fishing grounds, hooked four blue marlin, reeled them to the boat, released them and reported the news back to the Charter Desk. The seas stayed calm for the rest of the day even as the skies over the island darkened, the nearby hillsides turned into waterfalls, and the county closed roads that had become impassable.

Indeed, the ocean continued to be inviting so Capt. Chip Von Mols stayed offshore and kept trolling throughout the rest of the day. Chip and his party went 5 for 5 on blue marlin that day, releasing all of them. That was Chip’s second 5-release day of the year but his best perfect score in converting strikes into hookups and catches. His previous 5-release record day came on 7 strikes.

Meanwhile, Night Runner went fishing even though Capt. Shawn Rotella and his gang had no charter. Fishing holo holo (just for fun and maybe something for market) they boated a 200-pound blue on the kind of flat seas the rest of the fishing world envies.

That set Night Runner up nicely for a great Saturday trip during which they caught 2 blue marlin, 3 mahimahi and 3 ono and an assortment of small tunas. While Shawn and his party were filling the cooler with tasty dinner fish, Capt. Rubin Rubio was trolling offshore on Sundowner and looking for blue marlin. Rubin put angler Lawrence Beals on 3 blues estimated at 120-, 240- and 260- pounds.

Thursday had been a productive day for blue marlin fishermen as Camelot, Raptor and Maverick reported releases. The 500-pounder on Maverick helped deckhand Chad Kieswetter celebrate his last day here before leaving for Panama to start a new career in the Eastern Pacific.

The releases on Raptor were especially noteworthy because they were big steps on the way to pushing angler Carol Hinkle-Herren up a few more notches in her goal to tag 100 blue marlin this year. As of today she is at 66. If she were less generous, she might already be at 85 or more because she turned the rod over to other guests aboard Raptor more than 20 times.

The successes on Raptor, Luna and other Kona boats may have something to do with the unusually high sea temperatures offshore now. Raptor Capt. Bruce Herren says he recently saw unheard-of sea temperature readings as high as 87 degrees. Capt. Chip Von Mols has also seen readings as high as 86. Most years, Kona waters reach no more than 84 in the summer and drop down to about 80 as we head into September.

If the water stays warm, the big blues might stick around right to year’s end and keep setting records. That’s just fine with Bruce and Chip and their two favorite lady anglers. As Carol keeps climbing up the release ladder, so does Chip’s daughter Jada Holt. As of yesterday, Jada had tagged 53 blue marlin this year, but more importanly, she is the top angler so far in the Kona Tournaments series for 2015. Putting together all of the points that Jada has earned from the Kona Kickoff, Firecracker Open, Skins Marlin Derby, Kona Throw Down, Kona Classic, and Big Island Marlin Tournament, Jada has amassed 3557.2 points, which is 1,100 points higher than her closest competitor.

The Herrens decided not to fish in the big summer tournaments this year so the two ladies are not competing head to head for prize money, which is perfectly fine with Chip and Jada. As to why Carol has tagged more marlin than Jada this year both Bruce and Chip agree. The Herrens fish more often. That’s the only guarantee in fishing: You don’t catch fish when you don’t go fishing.

Anxious tagged three blues last week, including the biggest blue reported here. Capt. Neal Isaacs hooked the marlin as he trolled near the “pipe” FAD off Kaiwi. Angler Ed Brockmeyer got the estimated 450-pounder to the boat in about 15 minutes for a healthy release. For many years now, Neal has rigged his lures with a single hook rather than the traditional tandem pair. Neal says the single catches as many fish as the pair does, and fewer deckhands.

In other words, last week’s nasty onshore weather had no effect on the fish bite.


On Saturday, Bill Jardine and friends headed out aboard Kakalina to test out a new lure he has been helping to develop. More about the lure in a future article, but here is Bill’s colorful account of a stormy day on Kakalina. We have edited it slightly for length, otherwise, it is all Bill’s dramatic story-telling skill.

“We took a chance on OT Buoy as thick clots of dark gray and black clouds congealed off Keahole. We snuck along the inside, trailing ono baits all the way up to Mahaiula. We had no late season ono bites before turning off shore toward Kona's northern-most FAD, We got about 3/4 of the way there when the rain swept across the broken waves and darkness fell over the boat. I turned for home and told everyone to stay in the cabin.

“There is an old saying that just before the storm the fish will bite, but once it sets up the fishing will fail. A great cornice of cloud arched out over us, dragging a nearly black curtain of rain under its swollen belly as we aimed for the explosions of surf along the cliffs in the far distance. I almost didn't notice the short rigger bend down nearly to the wave tops, as our line curved out and away from the wake. As the clip released and the rigger sprang back up our Shimano 80 bucked and sang that song that grips your soul.

“The weather was forgotten as guys leapt around on the deck clearing lines to prepare for the chase. We made our turn to starboard and fought the fish well, but it never broke the surface. There was something off, something not quite right, and I began suggesting we be careful, since it was surely a marlin and likely foul-hooked. Dauber Higgins is strong as a horse and a very good angler, yet that fish put it in park 50 yards out and absolutely couldn't be budged! She stayed deep, switching from side to side as I struggled to keep our tack in a rough and following sea.

“Finally we turned up the heat, hoping to get the fish up before the Koga hook could work a hole big enough to slip loose. The fish finally came up, it was a male, and it was small, maybe 220 pounds. However, it had been hooked in the thick part of the skin, the puna, just in front of its dorsal. It was fresh as a Daisy after an hour and a half and beat the water into foam as we worked to get the hook out.”

Bill and Dauber successfully released what is certain to be the first of many fish to come on Bill’s new “Bang Stick” lure.

Tag and Release

August 30: Blue marlin (450) Ed Brockmeyer, Capt. Neal Isaacs, Anxious
August 31: Blue marlin (125) Pat Brian, Capt. Mike Holtz, Jun Ken Po
September 1: Blue marlin (150) Charles Uhl, Capt. Kenny Fogarty, Makana Lani
September 2: Blue marlin (175) Carolyn Springer, Capt. Chuck Wilson, Fire Hatt
September 2: Blue marlin (150) Rhett Tucker, Capt. Neal Isaacs, Anxious
September 2: Blue marlin (150) Erin Ellis, Capt. Marlin Parker, Marlin Magic II
September 2: Blue marlin (250) Eric Matsumoto, Capt. Al Gusvason, Topshape.
September 3: Blue marlin (175 and 200) Carol Herren, Capt. Bruce Herren, Raptor
September 3: Blue marlin (100) Jared Senecal, Capt. Chris Hudson, Camelot
September 5: Blue marlin (120, 240, and 260) Lawrence Beals, Capt. Rubin Rubio, Sundowner
September 5: Blue marlin (150) Brett Johns, Capt. Neal Isaacs, Anxious

September 4: Sailfish (55.5) George Bonne, Kayak

Report by Jim Rizzuto

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