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THE ONO ARE COMING Fishing Report - April 24, 2017

Date of trip: April 24, 2017
Posted April 25, 2017 by FishTrack Member
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How can you tell the ono are coming? Some are already here. Many boats caught at least one and some caught multiples. On Saturday, Capt. Jim Wigzell sent in a photo of 4 ono on Hooked Up with the caption “Ono are snapping this morning.”

The same day, Capt. Brad Damasco and crew Andy Diehl hit an ono hole and boated 3 fish out of 4 or more strikes. Their catch demonstrated the “Oh, no,” aspect of ono fishing. “We got dinner but donated $50 worth of skirts to sharp teeth,” Brad said. Ono tend to whack lures from the side and chop the skirts off in the process. Good time to begin skirting your lures with remnants to stretch the budget.

Many found ono action close to home. Others ranged far afield with good results. Cherry Pit began the week with a long-range trip to South Point and returned with 4 ono, 2 ahi, 2 mahimahi and a spearfish.

On Saturday, Night Runner came back from a South Point overnighter with 26 ono and a mahimahi along with an assortment of bottom fish.

Keep your fingers crossed. As we get deep into May, the ono should continue to round the point, move north along the coastline, and provide action for short-trippers.


Even when billfish action slows down here, some fishermen defy the odds with surprising results.

On Huntress, Capt. Steve Epstein started the week with a worthy 500-pound blue for Heather Warmus, the third largest reported for the week. Heather’s fish was released. Huntress got lucky again the next day with a 650-pound release for guest Jim Bowling. The 650 was the largest blue reported for the week. We called it luck, but did so with the note that Huntress has a long and impressive record of big catches with great captains. More than just luck at work there.

On Wednesday, skipper Shawn Palmer took out the boat El Jobean and found the largest blue weighed last week. As angler Christian Pedersen battled the fish, a hungry bystander waited to get in on the action. When it got its chance, the shark grabbed the marlin by the belly and left with a chunk. Shawn brought the marlin back to weigh because it would not have survived the injury. The “leftovers” weighed 615 pounds.

Capt. Larry Peardon, owner of El Jobean, ran the boat twice last week with very pleasing results. On Monday his angler, Wayne Peardon, boated a 173-pound ahi, a 37-pound ono, and a 24-pound mahimahi with no interference from sharks. All he needed was a marlin for a four-flagfish sweep. He had to wait until Saturday for the blue. Larry found a 325-pounder for Jim Ott, and released it intact.

Add “rubbah hook” to your vocabulary. If you are not familiar with the term, it describes a condition in which a hard metal hook instantly softens on a strike. When the point turns to rubber, it refuses to anchor in the fish. By the time you get to examine the hook point, it has returned to its normal rigidity. It may show signs of what happened because the hook point is folded back away from striking position.

Capt. Brett Fay described the effect in a report on Tuesday’s action on Humdinger.

“We started the day with rubber hooks, missing a blue marlin and a spearfish on our first charter,” the Humdinger log said. “The afternoon trip turned things around with a 100-pound striped marlin and 6 mahimahi. Our guests battled another 4 mahimahi, but we didn’t get them to gaff.’


If bonefish are your game, don’t be discouraged by the 10.5-pound o`io atop the leader board for the year. You still have a chance. O`io get much bigger here. An 18.5-pounder from Hawaii once held the IGFA world record. True, that was 60 years ago, but every year someone catches a 15- or 16-pounder somewhere. A few week’s back, a fisherman weighed a 14.4-pound o`io at Tokunaga Store in Hilo. It’s not on our list because it wasn’t in our coverage area — and also because it was speared, not caught on rod and reel. But the message is still clear. The big ones are still here.


Charles Iela pulled up a 63.5-pound hapuupuu, Hawaiian sea bass, to top the existing state record for the species. The deep-water bottomfish was part of a big school he and his fishing buddies located on a 100-fathom feature west of Mahukona. The day’s catch included a second hapuupuu just a few pounds lighter. The sea bass were biting chunks of opelu and the multi-hook rigs were snagging several at a time.

Hawaiian waters are also home to a rare giant sea bass for which the state record is 563 pounds. Charles and his fishing partners call their boat Reel Loser because they have lost at least two reels to fish that broke their gear. Perhaps their sea bass hot spot hosts a giant or two. The bigger variety can gulp down a fatty like this 63.5-pounder and still have room for a few more in its enormous belly. And you could not budge it if you hooked one.

Hapuupuu are prized food fish with firm white meat, lightly flavored. Too firm for sashimi unless sliced paper thin, the fish can be serve seared, steamed, blackened or in a chowder.


Capt. Bill Murtagh asked us to ID a catch he had never seen before. in fact, we had never seen it before a submission about 3 years ago when Alton Oye showed us one from the farside of the island. Since then, we have been getting a few pics a month. Dr. Jack Randall identified it as a “shortfin ariomma.” It has worldwide distribution but is so rare here the Hawaiians never had a name for it and might never have seen one. The increasing reports of these bottom dwellers might signal a change in the marine enviroment or just more interest in learning about fish.


Call this a catch within a catch. When Capt. Molly Palmer cleaned a tuna, she found a bright red sea horse in the belly. The 6-inch long creature is worth noting for several reasons. Tuna graze on everything they can catch, and the easier it is to catch, the more they like it. Reds and oranges are great colors for tuna lures because the brightly colored sea creatures make the color look edible. Even so, reds and oranges are not much protection for prey, even though they are the first colors to disppear below the surface.


Capt. John Bennett reminds us that entries for the 37th Annual Wee Guys Fishing Tournament are filling up fast even though the popular event is still about two months away (June 24, 25). Space is limited to 130 teams but the event already has 70 teams signed up. If you want to get in on this historic small-boat competition, pick up your application at the Queen K Tesoro service station across from the entrance to Honokohau Harbor. Queen K is a major WGT sponsor.

You might wonder why a big-boat charter fisherman like John might be so interested in a small-boat event, but that has always been the appeal of the WGT. John and fellow charter fisherman Ryan Lutes compete on John’s 13-foot Boston Whaler with astounding results. Visit the Weeguys facebook page and watch a video of Ryan battling a 203-pound ahi while hanging-ten off the bow of their tiny boat.

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 handline 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, 925, Guy Terwilliger, Capt. Cindy Cary, Cindy Lu. Apr. 2
Black marlin, 357, Todd Nakatani, Keola Toriano, Breezin. Apr 6.
Ahi, 242, Shawn Takaki, Clarence Minamishin Jr., Malama Lama. Apr 13.
Bigeye tuna, 121.5, Kelsey Bestall, Capt. Jah Nogues, High Noon. Jan 14
Striped marlin, 107, David Benson, Capt. Kevin Hiney, Kuuipo. Mar 31
Spearfish, 56, Mac Jorgensen, Capt. Kenny Fogarty, Hula Girl. Mar 13.
Sailfish, 93, Justin Kaber, Capt. Shawn Rotella, Night Runner, Mar. 25.
Mahimahi, 46.5, Brita Campbell, Capt. Bob Beach, Reel Screamer. Mar 2.
Ono, 75.5, Jason Wong, Donny Kobayashi, No Name. Mar. 22.
Kaku, (barracuda), 39, Chad Culbertson, Capt. Jeff Rogers, Aloha Kai. Jan 23
Kahala, vacant
Ulua (giant trevally), vacant
Omilu (bluefin trevally), vacant
Otaru (skipjack tuna), 24, Marie Hulletel, Capt Kevin Hiney, Ku`uipo. Feb 10.
Broadbill swordfish, vacant
Ahipalaha (albacore), vacant
Kawakawa, 22.5, Britt McCurdy, Capt. Shawn Rotella, Night Runner. Jan 31
Kamanu (rainbow runner), 20.5, Britt McCurdy, Capt. Shawn Rotella, Night Runner. Jan 31
Opakapaka (pink snapper), 14.5, Greg Hong, Kevin Shiraki, Erin Kai. Jan 12.
Onaga (ulaula ko`aie), 21, Greg Hong and Kevin Shiraki, Erin Kai. Mar 6.
Uku (gray snapper), 37.8, Billy Wakefield, Kiakahi. Apr 4
O`io (bonefish), 10.5, Hansen Gardling, shoreline. Mar 30.

Beasts of the week (marlin weighing 500 pounds or more, including R for releases).

Apr 16: Blue marlin (500 R) Heather Warmus, Capt. Steve Epstein, Huntress [Released]
Apr 17: Blue marlin (650 R) Jim Bowling, Capt. Steve Epstein, Huntress [Released]
Apr 19: Blue marlin (615) Christian Pedersen, Capt. Shawn Palmer, El Jobean

Apr 16: Blue marlin (250), spearfish (25), Vicki Picking, Capt. Chuck Wigzell, EZ Pickens
Apr 17: Blue marlin (350), spearfish (30 and 45) Russel Frank, Capt. Joe Schumaker, Fire Hatt
Apr 18: Blue marlin (175) unknown, Capt. Chuck Wigzell, Hooked Up
Apr 18: Blue marlin (400) Mark Rauske, Capt. Russ Nitta, Lepika
Apr 20: Spearfish (30) Heather North, Capt. Chris Choy, Sapo
Apr 22: Striped marlin (100) unknown, Capt. John Bagwell, Silky
Apr 22: Blue marlin (325) Jim Ott, Capt. Larry Peardon, El Jobean

Apr 17: Ahi (90 and 110), spearfish (30) Laura Kingsbury, Capt. Chuck Wigzell, Hooked Up
Apr 17: Ahi (173), ono (24), mahimahi (37) Wayne Peardon, Capt. Larry Peardon,

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