Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – September wrap-up.
The blue marlin finally showed up. The standard that I use to determine if the marlin bite is good or not is two fold. Number one is, are some boats catching more than one marlin in a day? Number two is, are close to half of the boats fishing for marlin all day catching? A 3 day marlin tournament near the middle of the month provided me with a ‘yes’ answer to both standards. also, as I mentioned in last months report, marlin flags flying.
It seems like the ahi have started to show up too but still not in the numbers that we normally have. The otaru tunas still haven’t shown up.
Mahi mahi season starts now. I only had a shot at one on a trip this month but it jumped and threw the hook. I also spent one whole 8 hour trip fishing for any straggler ono but didn’t even have a single bite. They really are GONE!
Bottom fishing is now ALL shark catches and ALL of them are oceanic blacktips. It’s been about a decade since the last time I caught an oceanic blacktip and back then, it was only one. Now they’re everywhere and anything we hook up that isn’t a blacktip is soon eaten by one.
The most common shark I usually catch is the sandbar shark but even they have run away from these blacktips. Oceanic blacktips are crazy fighters, making several runs especially when they get near the boat. At the boat, they’re harder to deal with than most marlin are and range in size (so far) from 120 lbs. to just over 300 lbs.
Recently I came real close to getting smacked in the head by the tail of a real big one when it did a somersault and flew into the back of the boat. It hit hard and one of the people on the boat got it on video. I had no idea how close I was to getting hit until I watched the video. WOW! I just got lucky that it missed me.
Sharks have basically ruined our fishery for snapper and grouper. Just like with these blacktips, it was a little over a decade ago that hundreds of galapagos sharks showed up.
Normally you would see around a dozen bottom fishermen on “The Grounds” fishing along the ledge but when it became nearly impossible to get any of your catch to the boat, they just gave up. On top of that, the state of Hawaii imposed a closed season and catch limits further making it a fishery that just wasn’t worth your while. When the galapogos basically moved on, sandbar sharks moved in and took their place.
Since then and to this day, on most days there isn’t a single person bottom fishing for snapper and grouper along the Kona coast and if you do see someone trying, generally they’re not doing it for long because of the sharks and because there aren’t many bottom fish anymore. The state thinks that over fishing is the problem with the bottom fishery. Common sense, talking to the fishermen and just a little research on “fishing effort” would easily prove that it’s sharks and not fishermen that ruined the fishery.
See ‘ya on the water ,
Capt. Jeff Rogers ,