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Kona Offshore Update Fishing Report - August 31, 2016

Date of trip: August 31, 2016
Posted August 31, 2016 by FishTrack Member
  • Fishing alone on his boat Sandee, Sueto Matsumura hooked a 197 pound ahi in ono lane but needed help to pull it aboard from Tyler Hams. Photo courtesy of the Charter Desk at Honokohau Harbor. 1 of 2
  • Fishing alone his boat Ai ia, Tyler Hams hooked a 701-pound blue marlin and fought it for three and a half hours before boating it. Kona Alana (left) came out in his own boat to help secure it for the trip back to the scales. Photo: the Charter Desk 2 of 2
File this one under “Good deed, good karma, great catch.” On Friday, Tyler Hams responded to a call for assistance from another fisherman, which would later put him in the right place to catch the biggest marlin of the week.

Tyler was fishing alone on his boat Ai`ia when he saw Sueto Matsumura waving to him off for help. Sueto’s boat Sandee was dead in the water, so Tyler thought the veteran old-timer had engine problems and needed help getting back to Honokohau Harbor. Without hesitation, Tyler pulled in his trolling lines and headed over to set up a tow.

To Tyler’s surprise, Sueto’s problem was much more interesting. He had caught a tuna too big for him to get aboard his little boat. Sueto had hooked the big ahi on a chrome jet in ono lane, which was unusual by itself. Yellowfins prefer to stay much further offshore in the deeper waters Tyler was trolling. After the two solo fishermen slid the tuna (a 197-pounder) aboard Sandee, Tyler wished his new friend well and headed offshore to keep trying for tuna in places he was more likely to catch one.

Because he was fishing alone, Tyler set out only two lines. He wanted tuna, so he rigged both with skirted bullet lures and headed toward the Kampachi buoy along the 1,000-fathom edge. Straight out from Honokohau Harbor, the big one came up and whacked the smaller of his two lures but didn’t hook up. The marlin swung its bill back toward his second lure, an old-reliable he has used successfully for over a dozen years. This time it stuck.

A half-hour into the fight, his reel broke. From then on, he had to handline the very stubborn fish or break it off. If he broke the line, he would lose what would be the largest marlin he had ever caught on his own and also say aloha to his all-time favorite lure. Things got even worse when the marlin wrapped the line around the leg of the engine on his 19-foot skiff. Now the marlin could pull the boat backward with the powerful strokes of its tail.

He called a friend onshore, Kona Alani, who then kept tabs on him as the fight dragged on throughout the rest of the morning and into the afternoon. Kona became more and more concerned, so he launched his own trailer boat and set out to find Tyler. He arrived in time to watch the last half-hour of Tyler’s 3-and-a-half-hour struggle and jump aboard to help finish the fight.

At the end, the marlin was a 701-pound dead weight that was all the duo could handle.

The 701-pounder was the biggest ever for Tyler on his own boat. A week ago, he caught a 204.5-pound ahi which was also his biggest tuna on his own boat. Then, again, he has only had the Ai`ia for less than three weeks.


Tyler Yams, now 25, has been fishing his whole life and recalls hanging around the harbor as a kid, fishing from shore for whatever would bite on his “small” tackle. One of his first paying jobs was washing charterboats at the end of fishing trips. For a lad of 10, earning $5 a boat wash was a thriving business.

Main thing, it led to bigger things. He got to know the boats and crews and gradually moved into apprenticing on charterboats. That’s how he learned the secrets of fishing offshore. Back when Tyler was 12, Captain Kevin Hibbard gave him the Marlin Magic Baby Blue lure he used to catch the 701-pound blue marlin on Friday.

The fact that that the lure has been good luck ever since is a testament to the care he has taken of it. He re-rigged it with a new leader often and, most important to this story, right before the trip on which he caught the 701. An old leader would not have held such a heavy fish.

Over the years, the hooks have gotten rusty and the skirts a bit tattered. Though he never uses it in ono lane, a 38-pound offshore ono hit it and cracked the head. He says he has no plans to fix the head because it might ruin the magic. When you grow up in the life of a fisherman, you believe in magic. And you make a lot of friends who are ready to offer a hand.


On Friday, while young Tyler Hams was fighting his big one, David Magallanes, 75, was busy with four marlin. The first one hit while David was just starting out from Honokohau on his venerable boat Kona Pearl II, but it shook free.

Later, two marlin hit at once and both stayed hooked. Imagine a solo fisherman running back and forth accross the deck from reel to reel and stopping at the helm to guide the boat. If that’s your picture, you have it all wrong.

Back at the dock, I asked my 75-year-old crony how he did it and the answer was the same way he did it back when he was 25.

“You pull in the one closest to the boat first, and you let the other one run out line,” he said, as he waved his hand as though waving away the fish. With both rods staying in the rod holders, David worked on the rod closest to the helm. When that fish was secured, he moved the other rod into that position.

His only “mistake”? With two marlin on the deck, he headed back to Honokohau but couldn’t resist keeping one line out just in case he ran over an ahi or ono. Instead, he hooked another marlin. None were huge. All three were in the 120- to 175-pound size range. Just as well. Even 75-year-olds have limits.


Capt Chip Van Mols was on a hot streak last week, but even though his guests were catching marlin almost daily, he was frustrated by the blues that got away. Capt. Kevin Nakamaru was feeling the same way on Sunday when his party had seven strikes and no hookups.

All skippers see marlin chasing their lures without being able to catch them and wonder why. After all, catching food is how they make their living. Chip was pondering that next to an image of a 500-pound blue that couldn’t manage to grab a straight-running bullet lure.

Could the problem be the bill getting in the way? It’s supposed to be a weapon and an aid to catching prey. Which leads to our quote of the day (offered by Capt. Derek Knott but probably not original to him). “If they didn’t have bills, we’d catch every one of them.”

As much as I like the quote, I can’t resist a question. Tuna don’t have bills. Do we catch every one of them?


From now until the end of the year, we should be seeing more striped marlin and shortbill spearfish. Their presence in Kona waters at the same time begs for a DNA study suggested by some unusual results from the Atlantic. When researchers from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science conducted DNA studies on white marlin and longbill spearfish, they discovered a small but definite number of fish that showed DNA from both the white and the longbill. In other words, when the two species spawn at the same time, they occassionally produce hybrids.

White marlin are very close to striped marlin genetically. Shortbills are close to longbills, too. Some billfish scientists think that our striped marlin might be crossbreeding with our shortbills. This might be a good project for a budding scientist looking to build a reputation.

Big-Fish List for 2016. The list recognizes the biggest fish caught on rod and reel (except opakapaka and onaga, for which we'll accept hand line catches) in West Hawaii waters for 2016 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 2016 by Jim Rizzuto). If we have overlooked you, give us a call (885-4208) or send an e-mail (rizzutojim1@gmail.com).

Blue marlin, 865, Louis Paulo and grandson Kalamaokalani Kelekolio-Crivello, Anela okaikea. April 16.
Black marlin, 310, Tim Flint, Capt. Butch Chee, Duck Soup, June 21
Ahi, 233, David Diaz, Capt. Bobby Cherry, Cherry Pit II, June 5
Bigeye tuna, 173, Dave Remillard, Miles Nakahara, Puamana II. Jan. 11.
Striped marlin, 136.5, Mitchell Romero, Capt. Guy Terwilliger, High Flier. Jan 22.
Spearfish, 54, Nick Humpries, Capt. Shawn Rotella, Night Runner, Feb. 26
Sailfish, 91, Mike Foster, Capt. Shawn Rotella, Night Runner. Mar. 24.
Mahimahi, 53, Nainoa Murtagh, Aulani. Feb. 10.
Ono, 62, Charlie Ford, Capt. Shawn Rotella, Night Runner. Mar. 18.
Kaku, (barracuda), 49.5, Koi Lorance and Tyson Fukuyama, Miki. May 7.
Kahala, 70, Jessica Yell, Capt. Shawn Rotella, Night Runner. Jan 22.
Ulua (giant trevally), 74, Bochan Johnson, from shore. Apr 3.
Omilu (bluefin trevally), 18.5, Mikey McCrum, Shoreline. May 13
Otaru (skipjack tuna), 28. 5, Ray Mohammond, Capt. Jim Wigzell, Go Get Em
Broadbill swordfish, 224, Matthew Bolton, Kahele, June 14
Ahipalaha (albacore), 52.5, Devin Hallingstad, kayak, Aug 13
Kawakawa, 23, Tom Schachet, Capt. Shawn Rotella, Night Runner. July 1
Kamanu (rainbow runner), 12.5. Tom Britton, kayak. Apr. 13
Opakapaka (pink snapper), 9.5. Butch Chee, Sueto Matsumura, Sandee. Mar. 12.
Onaga (ulaula ko`aie), 19.5, Greg Hong, Kevin Shiraki, Erin Kai. Feb 25.
Uku (gray snapper), 31, Josh Fulton, kayak. July 31.
O`io (bonefish), (vacant)

Beasts of the week (marlin weighing 500 pounds or more).

Aug 26: Blue marlin (701) Tyler Hams, Ai’ia

Report by Jim Rizzuto

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