Grander Country

Hawaii still holds the title as blue marlin grander capital of the world.
Jody Bright

What location has caught the most blue marlin over 1,000 pounds?

This question was recently posted on social media, and asked everyone around the world to count up the granders (marlin weighing 1,000 pounds or more) caught from their home waters. We wanted to see, statistically, which location would stand out as the best place in the world to catch a grander blue.

Utilizing the Hawaii Fishing News Grander list, we counted up about 144 from Hawaii.

With that in mind, the following may be inexact, but it will give you a pretty dang good idea where the granders were caught in Hawaii:

Big Island: 87
Oahu: 43
Maui: 7
Molokai: 3 (Two were caught the same day!)
Kauai: 2

Of all the grander marlin caught in Hawaii, however, three fish stand out as extremely noteworthy catches. These fish include Capt. George Parker's 1,002-pound blue marlin caught in 1954, the first grander in Hawaii. Capt. Bobby Brown's 1,376-pound blue caught in 1982, a world record that still stands today. And, the largest marlin ever caught on rod and reel, Capt. Cornelius Choy's 1,805-pound blue caught in 1970.

The best "Big Fish" months appear to be July with 21 granders, while June and March each have 20. May has tallied 14 granders, with 13 caught in August, 12 landed in April 12 and 10 in September. The winter months of October through February average less than five, but for some reason January posts nine, which offsets the lowest months of November and December, with three each.

June 10, 1970 is an especially notable date because it was on this day that Choy brought in his monster marlin. This year, on June 10 and 11 the Hawaii Marlin Tournament Series will pay homage to Choy's 1,800-pounder at Leg One of the aeries, The Kewalo Big Fish Chase.

A $75,000 bounty has been placed on Choy's monster and whoever catches a marlin larger than 1,805 pounds will walk away with the purse. Jungle rules do apply, in deference to the favorite way of fishing by Oahu folks. However the rod and reel must adhere to IGFA tackle specs. This "bounty" is open only to teams entered in the Kewalo Big Fish Chase. There's also a guaranteed $10,000 purse to be split among the largest marlin, ahi, mahi and ono - on top of the purse generated from the $500.00 per team entry fee.

Rules for the Bounty and the tournament can be found at:


During the online discussion, folks from all over the world chimed in, but in the end, it was apparent that Hawaii is still the Blue Marlin Grander Capital of the World. Honorable mention went to Madeira, Cape Verde and the Canary Islands. Mauritius was noted as holding the potential to give Hawaii a run for its money, if only it had a large fleet of boats. They estimated 40 granders weighed in Mauritius with the largest weighing 1,430 pounds. Very respectful!

An interesting tidbit from the conversation was that known hot spots that catch large numbers of blue marlin such as St. Thomas, Panama and Costa Rica had very few granders to speak of. That doesn't discount the great fishing that the offer, with the Costa Rica FAD fishing reporting sometimes 20+ blue marlin a day - from one boat!

Capt. Bomboy Llanes caught a 1,258.4-pound blue marlin back in 2003 at the Firecracker Open tournament, and it was long thought to be the largest marlin ever caught in a tournament. However, Capt. Tim Dean chimed in from Australia and reminded is that he weighed a 1,278-pound black marlin at the Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic.

Therefore, Bomboy had to adjust his claim to having caught the "largest blue marlin in a tournament, anywhere in the world." Small adjustment for such a big fish, on a world-wide scale.

The story of Molly Palmer went viral back in 2012 when she was fishing in the Big Island Marlin Tournament. She refused to cheat and decided to disqualify a 1,022-pound marlin that was not only the tournament winner but also a potential woman's world record because of a technicality.

Going in to its 31st year, the eight tournament Hawaii Marlin Tournament Series, the features the return of Taj Mahal and the Hula Blues Band in their only performance for the year. Taj will be taking a break from the TajMo tour with Keb Mo, following the release of their new record "TAJMO" featuring cameos by Bonnie Raitt and more.

Taj had his own tournament in Costa Rica for a few years and loves to fish. Last year at the BIMT he tagged and released a marlin to get back in the groove. This year he has a brand new plan.

For a complete schedule of all eight events in the $1.5 million Hawaii Marlin Tournament Series visit

Hawaii has a long history of big marlin, but none of the fish landed here can top 1,805-pound marlin brought in by Capt. Cornelius Choy's 1,805-pound on June 10, 1970. Choy's monster still stands as the largest marlin ever caught on rod and reel. Anyone who catches a bigger fish in the Kewalo Big Fish Chase tourney will win $75,000.
On May 27, 1982, angler Jay De Beaubein set the 130-pound class IGFA world record with a 1,376-pound Pacific blue caught on No Problem with Capt. Bobby Brown and Doug Haig. The record still stands.
Tournaments are probably the best time to catch a grander, as you can win prize money and bragging rights. Two notable Hawaii tournament catches include the 1,258.4-pound blue caught by Bomboy Llanes in 2003, the largest blue caught in a tournament. And, the 1,022-pound marlin caught by Molly Palmer. Visit for info on the Hawaii Marlin Tournament Series.

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