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Kona Offshore Update Fishing Report - November 08, 2016

Date of trip: November 08, 2016
Posted November 08, 2016 by FishTrack Member
  • On Kona Buzz, anglers Kimbo Boeringa and Bruce Coelho, celebrated Halloween with a 37.5-pound mahimahi and a 10 pound aku. Photo courtesy of the Charter Desk in Honokohau Harbor. 1 of 4
  • Capt. Tony Clark pulled Ihu Nui up to the weighing scales with the week's biggest blue marlin, a 406.5 pounder. Photo courtesy of the Charter Desk in Honokohau Harbor. 2 of 4
  • The moi, Pacific Threadfin, was the fish of royalty in the days of the monarchy. Some are still caught in the wild from shore. Moi are also cultivated in offshore caages so everyone can eat like a king. Photo by Hector Robles. 3 of 4
  • On Saturday, Josh Fulton hooked a 79.5-pound sailfish on his kayak. Photo courtesy of the Charter Desk in Honokohau Harbor. 4 of 4
For offshore fishermen, November is a season of surprises. This month, when the line snaps free of the outrigger release and the reel starts buzzing, you don’t know what might be ripping line off the reel. Last week’s mixed bag of catches is proof. Anglers reported catching marlin, spearfish, sailfish, ahi, mahimahi, ono, aku, rainbow runner, ulua, amberjack, and sailfish. The fish paid no regard for the calendar, lunar cycle, weather, sea temperature, current or prognastications of fishing pundits. But they all followed the time honored rule of fishing — right place, right time, right stuff.

Wednesday’s catch on Cherry Pit II may be the best example. Capt. Bobby Cherry and his pro-angler for the day, John Bennett, had all the “rights” lined up in their favor to catch a blue marlin, an ahi and a mahimahi. That’s 3 of the 4 fish needed to claim a rare flagfish sweep. And the Cherry Pit II boys would undoubtedly have gotten the 4th, an ono, if they had spent more time towing lures down ono lane where others caught ono last week.

John and Bobby’s hard-fighting 30-pound mahimahi was a nice prize but not the biggest of the week. That honor goes to Kimbo Boeringa and Bruce Coelho, who caught a 37.5-pounder on Kona Buzz. Their catch came on Halloween, which is fitting when you realize how rapidly mahimahi change costume from electric blue and silver to banana yellow and forest green.

November is when the mahimahi are bigger and more abundant as the currents cool down into mid-70s. Anglers are still reporting sea temps as high as 80 in some parts of the Kona eddy, but those numbers should begin to drop a few degrees in the weeks ahead. Whatever the sea temperatures, however, the mahi are here to snack on the expanding numbers of opelu (mackerel scad). Right now, the opelu schools are loaded with 10-inch fish, which mahimahi of all sizes find very snackable. They’ll grow to 12 or more inches in the weeks ahead and the schools will widen out to the size of a football field in the best opelu koa (opelu grounds).

The inshore schools of opelu are forming over bottom features in 20- to 30-fathoms, which also makes them easy prey for ono, ulua, kahala and the occasional surprise sailfish. For kayak fisherman Josh Fulton, the opelu koa is an ideal fishing grounds because the schools produce easy fishing for so many different gamefish. On Saturday, Josh was towing a rigged opelu behind his slender red kayak when his bait got snatched by a 79.5-pound sailfish. His a`u lepe (sailfish) isn’t the biggest of the year but it puts Josh on record among fewer than a dozen fishermen here who have caught one this year.

Kayakers aren't the only skilled anglers who work the opelu grounds. Night Runner is one of several charter boat operations that entertain their guests by baiting the inshore ledges with opelu. Capt. Shawn Rotella filled out our list of November possibles with ulua, kahala and uku.

The summer ahi runs have gone elsewhere, but there are enough resident tuna to keep reels turning for fishermen who find them further offshore. Don’t be fooled by the skimpy tuna catch in our dock report. Most of the boats that are catching ahi now are dressing them and packing them in ice before taking them directly to market rather than bringing them to the scales. Resident schools hold big fish, too. In past years, November and December catches topped 225 pounds to take the year’s tuna title.

As for big blue marlin, this is the first week in a while that none over 500 pounds have been reported. The two biggest of the week were a 400-pounder released by Topshape and a 406.5-pounder weighed by Ihu Nui. Capt. Tony Clark said that he and crew Carlton Arai had planned to release the 406.5, but angler Clyde Johnson’s marlin didn’t recover its get-up-and-go after the fight.


Bodyboarding champ Shawbaz Soaia checked into the Fuel Dock scales to weigh a moi that looked much bigger than the 4-pounds showing on the digital display. Though the weight may not impress you, the fish should. Moi are one of the four catches most prized by shore fishermen. The other three, giant trevally, bluefin trevally and bonefish, are much more common. In fact, Shawbaz’s moi is the first we’ve seen at the dock in years.

The hard-hitting “Pacific threadfin” has an unusual history and a unique life story. Moi gather in schools to hunt in the most turbulent spots along the shoreline. “Moi holes” tumble with water so foamy that you can’t imagine a moi could possibly see anything even with its giant eyes. As an aid to locating dislodged crustacea and confused baitfish, they have flexible feelers extending down from under their chin. Six feelers, as a matter of fact, which gives them their scientific name Polydactils sexfilis (“six fingers”).

Even so, at times they do tend to bump into hard objects. To protect itself, the moi has a rubbery nose to bounce off objects without damage.

Look for their fingerlings (moi-lii) in tide pools along rocky coastlines where the surf recharges them with spray. When they reach 5 or 6 inches, all moi mature as males. As they grow to 10 or 11 inches, all change sex and become females.

As a foodfish, moi taste great. Back in the earliest times, moi were so prized that only male alii were allowed to eat them. A commoner could be killed for daring to ignore the ban.

Early Hawaiians farmed moi in fish ponds specially constructed with lava rock walls. As the moi population has declined in modern times, modern propagation methods have replaced the old ways. Moi are now being raised in large, offshore pens. These fish are sold commercially while some are released to help replenish wild populations.

If you do hook one while “whipping” in a moi hole, be prepared for a battle. The fish has a muscular body with an oversize tail. If you do succeed in bringing it to shore, take a quick photo, and then honor the old custom by releasing this female back to the wild. I guarantee the release will make you feel like royalty.

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 Matsumoto, 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, including R for releases).

None reported


Nov 2: Blue marlin (250) Ken Johnson, Capt. Tony Clark, Ihu Nui II
Nov 3: Blue marlin (400) Derrick Linman, Capt. Al Gustavson, Topshape
Nov 4: Blue marlin (200) Capt. Tony Clark, Ihu Nui II
Nov 4: Blue marlin (250) Suzanne Gustavson, Capt. Al Gustavson, Topshape
Nov 4: Blue marlin (150) Justin Maio, Capt. Chuck Wigzell, Hooked Up
Nov 5: Blue marlin (150) Peter Ingram, Capt. Mcgrew Rice, Ihu Nui II


Oct 31: Mahimahi (37.5) Kimbo Boeringa and Bruce Coelho, Kona Buzz
Nov 2: Moi (4) Shawbaz Soaia, Shoreline
Nov 2: Blue marlin (120), ahi (100), mahimahi (30) John Bennett, Capt. Bobby Cherry, Cherry Pit II
Nov 3: Blue marlin (406.5) Capt. Tony Clark, Ihu Nui II
Nov 4: Spearfish (45) Mark Dunkerldy, Capt. McGrew Rice, Ihu Nui
Nov 5: Sailfish (79.5) Josh Fulton, Kayak

Report by Jim Rizzuto

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