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Solo Marlin and Mystery Fish Fishing Report - January 09, 2017

Date of trip: January 09, 2017
Posted January 09, 2017 by FishTrack Member
  • ?Fishing on Camelot with Capt. Molly Palmer, Lucas Ruiz and his family boated a 141-pound? ahi to top the Big-Fish List tuna slot. Photo courtesy of The Charter Desk. 1 of 5
  • A Spanish mackerel which seems to have strayed from the West Coast, where they are common. Caught here by kayaker Richard Potter. Photo cour 2 of 5
  • ?Biggest ? kawakawa so far in 2017, 16.5 pounds, Miles Nakahara, Dave Remillad, on boat pumana II 3 of 5
  • Bobby Cherry, captain of the Cherry Pit II, got the Big-Fish List competition off to a great start with a ?557.5-pound blue marlin. Bobby's happy family joined him for pics at the dock. Photo courtesy of The Charter Desk. 4 of 5
  • This mystery panga attracted lots of fish and is still floating offshore somewhere now. 5 of 5
The 2017 Kona Big-Fish List competition is off to a flying start. Ten of the 22 slots already have worthy entries. Last week’s hottest skipper, Capt. Bobby Cherry, fished alone on Wednesday and took both the blue marlin and shortbill spearfish leads in a single trip. The day did not start off well for Bobby. His charter had cancelled and he had found no replacement. Rather than waste the day, he set out solo in hopes of catching an ahi to capitalize on a good tuna market. After checking likely tuna spots with no tuna action, however, he switched from baits to lures and began trolling further offshore.

While talking with Capt. Jah Nogues on High Noon by phone, Bobby saw a big fin come up behind his long rigger lure and cut his conversation short to go to work. By the time he climbed down the ladder to the deck, the marlin had switched over to a pink Koya bullet lure on the stinger. The billfish slashed at the lure the way a striped marlin hits, so Bobby free-spooled the reel to drop the lure down below the attacker and back into its face. At the sight of the escaping lure, the marlin pounced and ran. When Bobby tightened the drag, the hook anchored in the corner of the fish’s mouth.

Because he was alone, Bobby had to handle the boat and the rod at the same time. For most of the next hour, he worked the marlin closer and closer. During the final phase, the excited fish made ten spectacular jumps — a flying finish to a flying start.

After he secured the marlin, Bobby began towing it slowly back to Honokohau. At only a few knots, the fish would take forever to get back, but Bobby had seen the boat Capt. Jack working nearby. Skipper Marc Schubert agreed to lend his deckhand Dante Leuenberger. After Dante swam over to Cherry Pit, the two heaved and hauled for 20 minutes until they got the fish aboard the swim step. With the fish out of the water, Cherry Pit could high-speed back to port. Back at the harbor, the scales officially proclaimed the weight at 557.5 pounds.

It joined a 40-pound shortbill Bobby had caught on a triple strike while he was on the hunt for ahi. He saw three shortbills charging his lures and hooked one of them on the stinger lure. After the first was hooked, he tossed out a live opelu on another rig and hooked the second. The third spearfish lost interest and swam away. Then the second one pulled free of the hook. Fortunately, the first fish stayed pinned and was bigger than all others so far this year.


Topshape is targetting light-tackle world records for shortbill spearfish this week. At this writing, the Ladies’ 16-pound-class record is 48.5 pounds, which makes it vulnerable to attack by the present run of shortbills in Kona waters. The 16-pound class record is special because breaking it would bring the record to Kona, which already holds the 6-, 8-, and 12-pound class Ladies’ records.

But you never know what is going to hit. Light-tackle record attempts have been interrupted by strikes from marlin in the grander range. Fiona Beck, Capt. Al’s angler for the current try, hooked two fish on light tackle but neither was the one she wanted. She broke off an estimated 250-pound blue marlin on 16 and released a 200-pound blue on 30-pound class after a 40-minute fight. The 200-pounder on 30 took 40 minutes, including 20 minutes fighting stand-up and the rest in the chair.

Topshape has a very special weapon for fighting big fish in rough water. During the boat’s last haul-out, Al installed a Seakeeper gyro stabilizer. With no wild bouncing around during fish fights, anglers have a lot more chance of avoiding an uncontrolled jerk that breaks the line unexpectedly.


Six years after the Japan tsunami of March 2011, the flotsam from the catstrophe continues to drift into Hawaii waters, bringing surprises with it. For the third time on record, the surprise was an overturned skiff surrounded by schools of fish. Robert Ventura found the third skiff last week and set off a search of a different kind because this boat may not have come from Japan. After catching aku and ahi from the waters around the most recent skiff, Robert left it to drift on its random route.

But he did post a photo of it on Facebook and the photo began making its rounds, according to Talexii Ancheta-Ross. Talexi works at the Charter Desk and tracked the story down for us. After the Facebook post, Robert got a message from a lady asking for more information about the boat, Talexii said. Robert told the lady that the boat had the brand name Yamaha on the side, which suggested it was one of the boats made in Japan for export and not debris from a tsunami of Japanese origin. The caller told him that she was from the Marshall Islands and her brother was in that exact same boat with the same wording when he and a friend were lost at sea. They were never found.

This may or may not be the boat, but the caller posted a request that anyone who finds the boat should bring it ashore for examination. If nothing else, the finder has a very seaworthy boat to repair and use. Two previous skiffs were towed to Honokohau by their finders and restored to use in local waters.


There is no Hawaii state record for Spanish mackerel. No one has ever reported a “Spanish” from Hawaii waters. Not until last week. Kayaker Rich Potter sent me a photo of a fish with the claim that he had caught a “dogtooth tuna.” We often get claims of a dogtooth tuna catch but the fish has always turned out to be an oriental bonito. “Doggies” aren’t found here.

This mystery fish was so unusual that I sent the photo to Dr. John Randall, formerly of the Bishop Museum and Hawaii’s leading authority on fish of the Islands. Dr. Randall is confident that it is a Monterrey Spanish mackerel, that wandered away from the west coast and strayed to Hawaii. There are several very large varieties of Spanish mackerel throughout the Western Pacific. This might turn out to be Scomberomorus commerson which grows to 70 kg. If so, there may be more and we may be able to do some DNA testing on others that might have wandered here. Contact me if you find another one and keep it chilled until I get back to you.

To answer Rich’s question to me, yes, it is edible and some think it is the tastiest of the mackerels. To answer my own question, yes, there would be a Hawaii State Record for Spanish mackerel if Rich had weighed his on a certified scale.


Have a great day of fishing and help out Kona Hospice at the same time. Sign up for the 11th Annual Hospice of Kona “Love 2 Fish” Tournament, scheduled for February 11th in the waters off the Kona Coast. You can win monetary prizes for marlin, ahi, mahimahi and ono. In keeping with the “Love” theme, there is a special division for couples who fish as a team. Sign up directly at the Charter Desk in Honokohau Harbor or by calling 808-329-5735. To donate prizes for the silent auction, contact Hospice of Kona at 808-324-7700.

First 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 hand line 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, 557.5, Bobby Cherry, Capt. Bobby Cherry, Cherry Pit. Jan 4
Black marlin, vacant
Ahi, 141, Lucas Ruiz, Capt. Molly Palmer, Camelot. Jan 2.
Bigeye tuna, 18.5, Jadelynn Carvalho, Robert Ventura, Lil Allexii. Jan 1.
Striped marlin, 81, Luke Mcallum, Capt. Tim Hicks, Illusion. Jan. 3
Spearfish, 40, Capt. Bobby Cherry, Cherry Pit. Jan 4.
Sailfish, vacant
Mahimahi, 42, Nick Docken, Capt. Kenny Fogarty, Hula Girl. Jan 6.
Ono, 31, Jack Mccall, Capt. Chip Fisher, Hanamana. Jan 7.
Kaku, (barracuda), vacant
Kahala, vacant
Ulua (giant trevally), vacant
Omilu (bluefin trevally), vacant
Otaru (skipjack tuna), 18, Larry Chu, Capt. Kent Mongreig, Seawife II. Jan 5.
Broadbill swordfish, vacant
Ahipalaha (albacore), vacant
Kawakawa, 16.5, Dave Remillad, Miles Nakahara, Pumana II. Jan 7.
Kamanu (rainbow runner), vacant
Opakapaka (pink snapper), vacant
Onaga (ulaula ko`aie), vacant
Uku (gray snapper), 24.5, Brent Masunaga, Holly Ann 3. Jan 3.
O`io (bonefish), (vacant)

Beasts of the week (marlin weighing 500 pounds or more, including R for releases).
Jan 04: Blue marlin (557.5) Capt. Bobby Cherry, Cherry Pit II

Jan 05: Blue marlin (100) Larry Chu, Capt. Kent Mongrieg, Seawife II

Weighed Fish:
Jan 01: Blue marlin (87) Ryan Scales, Lawai’a
Jan 01: Mahimahi (36) Capt. Jim Wigzell, Go Get Em
Jan 01: Ahi (71.5 and 56) Talexi Ross, bigeye tuna (18.5) Jadelynn Carvalho, Robert Ventura, Lil Allexii
Jan 01: Striped marlin (74.5) Jack O’Brien, Capt. John Bagwell, Silky
Jan 01: Spearfish (30.5) Marlon Galigo, Capt. Tony Clark, Ihu Nui II
Jan 01: Ono (32) Jeanie and Larry Peardon, El Jobean
Jan 02: Ahi (141) Lucas Ruiz, Capt. Molly Palmer, Camelot
Jan 02: Ahi (105 and 68) James Herregsell, mahimahi (38) Hannah Herregsell, Capt. Jah Nogues, High Noon
Jan 03: Ono (15) Jack Becooman, Capt. John Bagwell, Silky
Jan 03: Blue marlin (139) Matt Filbern, Capt. Chad Contessa, Bite Me 4
Jan 03: Uku (24.5) Brent Masunaga, Holly Ann 3
Jan 03: Spearfish (27) Yngavar Halvorsen, Mike Hamilton, Invader
Jan 03: Striped marlin (81) Luke Mcallum, Capt. Tim Hicks, Illusion
Jan 03: Spearfish (30), ahi (120 and 60) Marlan Nelson, Capt. Marlin Parker, Marlin Magic II
Jan 04: Spearfish (40), Capt. Bobby Cherry, Cherry Pit
Jan 04: Spearfish (26.5) Bob Smickland, Capt. Kent Mongreig, Seawife II
Jan 05: Aku (18) Larry Chu, Capt. Kent Mongreig, Seawife II
Jan 05: Ahi (110.5) Capt. Chad Contessa, Bite Me 4
Jan 05: Mahimahi (40.5) Jerry Case, Capt. Kama Desliva, Foxy Lady

By Jim Rizzuto

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