March has been BIG marlin month in Kona. This year’s first “grander” marlin (weighing 1000 + lbs.) was caught this month and just barely squeaked in at 1011 lbs. A “beast” marlin is one weighing 500 lbs. or more and those have been showing up here on a daily basis. Some are being released and some are being killed for food. The thing about the big marlin, as I have mentioned before, is that many of the big ones win the fight. There was another marlin fought this month that the captain and crew said would easily pass the “grander” mark but after 4 hours of fighting, the 130 lb. test line snapped. A lot of things need to go right in order to get a big one. The fighting will of the fish is the biggest factor. Some marlins jump all over the place when hooked and wear themselves out quickly. A fish that just swims slow and strong after being hooked can take a long long time to get in. My longest fight was with an 843 lb. black marlin that did just that. It took 7 hours (one guy fighting it the whole time) but we eventually got the fish. The longest fight I know of here in Kona was about 55 hours (burned through several anglers) and the marlin came up jumping just an hour before snapping the line and saying aloha. Another grander marlin a few years back was taken in just 15 minutes! It’s not always the size but the attitude of the fish that makes or breaks a fight.
Mahi mahi topped the list as the most common catch in March. There are still a few striped marlin coming in as are spearfish and a few ono. The ahi bite has slowed down but there’s still some big ones being caught.
The bottom bite has been really good for several kinds of jacks. Bottom fishing for anything else is soon to be a big no-no. Hawaii just passed it’s strictest bottom fishing regulations ever. Bottom fishing for snapper and grouper is now illegal between May and September. The deep snapper are heavily fished from the shores of heavily populated Oahu but here on the big island, only a few boats even target them. It was once a big fishery here but nearly all the old timers that did it are retired or dead. It’s just no longer a popular fishery. As a result, the numbers of bottom fish caught dropped. Scientists looking at the drop in catch numbers looked at it as a collapse in the fish stocks while the main reason (here on the big island anyway) is really a lack of fishing effort. We have always been lucky here in Hawaii that we have very few fishing regulations but the fish hugger mentality that all fisheries should be regulated is coming for us too. I went to a fisheries council meeting where a scientist gave a presentation about billfish larvae. In his conclusion he stated that Kona is the breeding grounds for many kinds of billfish and killing any big breeders needs to be stopped. At the end was a Q&A session. The scientist was asked if he looked for billfish larvae anywhere else than the near shore Kona waters, like 50 to 200 miles out? He claimed that he couldn’t take his little Zodiac out that far but also made the claim that he was sure that the larvae weren’t out there. That’s opinion and not science! The problem is, guys like this will most likely get their way if the fishermen don’t fight for their rights. After attending a few meetings, it appears to me that the people who are passionate about regulating (or stopping) fishing are a louder and a more active voice than the people who just like to fish. Tofu anyone?
See ‘ya on the water,
Capt. Jeff Rogers ,
<A href="http://fishinkona.com"> Kona Hawaii Sport Fishing</A>