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Kona Offshore Update Fishing Report - July 06, 2016

Date of trip: July 06, 2016
Posted July 06, 2016 by FishTrack Member
  • Bermuda team Reel Addiction boated a 625-pound marlin to win the Big Blue Challenge. Photo courtesy Reel Addiction. 1 of 3
  • Reza Mohammed of Vancouver, BC, boated a 28.5 pound skipjack tuna to take over the aku lead for the Kona fleet. Ray fished on Go Get Em with Capt. Chuck Wigzell. 2 of 3
  • An odd coincidence? Matching blue marlin weighing exactly 584.5 pounds each came to the F-dock scales two days apart?. Bite Me I brought the first one in on Tuesday and Hokela II the second one on Thursday. Photos courtesy of the Charter Desk at Honoko 3 of 3

By the time the 54-team Kona fleet took to the seas to compete in the World Cup Blue Marlin Championship, the worldwide one-day event was over. By the 8:30 am Hawaii starting time on Independence Day, the Madeira boat Blue Makaira had boated a 983-pound blue, which proved to be unbeatable. Until the fish was actually weighed, Kona skippers held out the slim hope that the big fish being towed back to port half a world away was not as big as estimated. Instead, it proved even bigger. It would take one of Kona’s historic granders to beat it, but no Kona boat has yet weighed a grander in 2016, and no Kona team was able to catch a qualifying blue (500-pound minimum) on July 4.

In an ironic twist, Kona’s last winning angler, Stephanie Choate, fished on Reel Addiction in Bermuda and won the companion Blue Water Challenge with a 625-pound blue. Stephanie had fished on the Kona boat Huntress in 2014 and brought the World Cup to Kona with a 656-pounder.

With no qualifying fish, the Kona fleet also failed in its third competition of the day, the Kona Cup. Kona boats compete with each other on July 4th to determine a regional winner for the day. With no claimants, the Kona Cup entry fees were returned to the teams.

The 2016 World Cup attracted 163 teams, which circled the world from Fiji to French Polynesia.


On Saturday, the first day of the two-day Firecracker Open, Team Bwana boated a 208.5-pound ahi and tagged a blue marlin. Taken together, their two fish scored the highest number of points for boats entered in the five first-day “dailies” (the $100-, $300-, $500-, and $1,000-entry levels). So even before the second day of the competition, their first-day payout totalled $49,050.

How much does that work out per pound? By doing a bit of crafty math (counting the marlin weight as zero — it was released, remember?), that works out to over $235 per pound for the tuna.

What’s more, the big ahi was definitely a lucky strike. The fish hit “in the blind” (no tuna school activity showing on the surface). Craig Linder pulled it in as Capt. Teddy Hoogs handled the helm.


On Friday, angler Tom Schachet fished on Night Runner with Capt. Shawn Rotella and boated a 23-pound kawakawa. It takes over the Big-Fish List lead for the species, which also goes by the name “wavy back skipjack,” according to the International Game Fish Association. Night Runner had already filled the kawakawa slot with a smaller fish but the 23-pounder definitely gives Capt. Shawn a much firmer grip on the lead. It’s the biggest KK we’ve seen in six years (2015, 18.5 pounds; 2014, 21; 2013, 13.5; 2012, 17.5; 2011, 21; 2010, 24.5).

On Thursday, angler Ray Mohammed of Vancouver, BC, texted me from the boat Go Get Em to report an aku (“skipjack tuna”) estimated at 30 pounds. If the weight held up, the aku would top the 28-pounder in the lead at the time.

The fish probably lost a few ounces during the remainder of the fishing day. The official weight turned out to be 28.5. It was still big enough to take over first place until somebody catches a bigger one out of the summer schools of big skipjacks running up and down the coastline now.

Ray says that his fish took an Aloha Lures “Deep Six” lure on the long corner. He and his son Solly also caught an ono trio they stumbled on in 500 fathoms, far offshore from ono lane. Maybe the razor gang is getting fat on big aku these days rather than cruising inshore among the opelu schools.

Ray is no stranger to the Big-Fish List. He took the 2015 mahimahi title with a 53-pounder, which he also caught on Go Get Em with Capt. Jim Wigzell.


On Tuesday, Bite Me 1 weighed a 584.5-pound blue marlin. Two days later, Hookela II brought in a blue of exactly the same weight. Not a scale malfunction. Lots of other fish tested the Fuel Dock scale between those two weighings.

The twin weights are a huge and very unusual coincidence. My 15-minute scan of catch reports over many months showed no other 584.5-pound catches, let alone two marlin of exactly the same weight to the half-pound in the same week. The Bite Me fleet now weighs its fish at the Fuel Dock rather than on its own scales as in the past, so you can ignore any possible difference between two different scales.

Angler Vaughn Mordecai caught the Tuesday fish with Capt. Chad Contessa. Allan Liftee found the Thursday fish for friends on his boat Hookela II.


On Wednesday, Carol and Bruce Herren boated an ono big enough to challenge the 62-pounder at the top of our list. They kept fishing and tagged two blues for their efforts. But even if you count pounds lost from the delay in weighing, the ono wouldn’t have toppled Night Runner’s leader. It came in at 59 pounds.

Last week may have been the best tuna week of the year-to-date as dozens of charter boats and private boats reported catches. Capt. Guy Terwilliger’s High Flier boated three to score the most reported for a trip. Meanwhile, fishing alone on his own boat, Stephen Chun brought in a 215-pound ahi to record the biggest of the week.

With tuna that size for granders to snack on, the big marlin may be groaning and burping rather than trying to chase down the lures whizzing by overhead.

Report by Jim Rizzuto

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