The beginning of September was pretty good fishing but I havenít been getting out much. September is the slowest month for tourism. Iím one of the busiest captains in Kona so if Iím not going out, hardly anyone else is either. Itís not that bad of a thing though because the water has been real dirty and that hurts the bite. We call it ďdirtyĒ here when the water clarity is low but in this case, itís not dirt. Itís all living organisms. Coral polyps are released at certain times and float to the surface. Usually itís not much and the current takes it away pretty fast but this time it was a lot more than usual and it stayed around for a longer time also. As the coral grows it gets heavier and starts sinking. Thatís how it distributes itself. As it starts that slow sinking process, it stratifies in the water column and the fish donít like it. Especially if there are several layers of it. Along with that we had a bloom of Sea Wasps, Portuguese man-o-war and some other stuff I couldnít identify. The water clarity got pretty bad for a while and although there were still some marlin, mahi mahi and ono around to be had, it wasnít our normal bite. I havenít been out lately but Iím sure itís cleared up and the fish are back by now.
The yellowfin tuna bite has been hot way down South. Thatís more commercial fishing territory because itís so far from the harbor in Kona. There are a few launch ramps down South for skiffs to launch but for the bigger boats, it takes most of the day just to troll down there and back. You can blast it down there if you got lots of fuel money to spare but because so many skiffs are down there catching yellowfin, the price on the tuna has gone way down and even hard to get rid of.
The bottom fishing season opened up for the protected snapper and grouper on the 1st but there wasnít a whole lot of commercial boats out there trying for them. Iím not sure, but I think the dirty water may have affected that fishery too. Iíve been catching sharks and jacks from the bottom when I have been out but Iím generally not going as deep as it takes to get into the red snapper. They hang out in about 800í of water, or the pink snapper in about 600í of water. A couple of years ago Hawaii implemented the first ever recreational fishing license requirement for fishers targeting the deep snapper. It was a foot-in-the-door tactic that was forced on Hawaii by the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council. They have jurisdiction in federal waters starting three miles from shore but most of the deep bottom fishing is closer, within state waters. The Council forced the state back then to regulate the fishery as they deemed necessary and now they are wanting to go even further! Today there is a WPRFMC meeting and on their agenda is the proposal to mandate reporting of all fishing activities in not just federal waters but in state waters also. In other words, federal fishing licenses and reporting for all fishing activities even if those activities are within state waters! And it looks like the state is going to protest but still bow down to their demands. Hawaii has another option and that is to implement their own fishing license program but it doesnít look like they are going to do that. The fedís are going to cram this down our throats. Get ready Hawaii fishers. Like it or not, itís coming.
See Ďya on the water,
Capt. Jeff Rogers