Let the tournaments begin! It’s officially summer and that means back-to-back fishing tournaments in Kona. We just had the two day “Rock ‘N Reel” and “Wee Guys” tournaments and both resulted in a bunch of fish caught. The June bite for marlin was a bit slow but the nailbiter of a tournament coming up is the “World Cup Marlin Tournament” held on July 4th. Kona and Bermuda are tied at 7 wins each for the title of “Blue marlin capital of the world”. Kona has always had that title but if Bermuda wins the World Cup this year, they will also take our title. The only saving grace for both Kona and Bermuda is that through genetic studies, it is now known that Pacific Blue marlin are slightly different from Atlantic Blue marlin so whoever wins, they still get to keep their regional title. I won’t be reporting on the outcome until the July wrap-up but if you can’t wait to see what happened, just go to bluemarlinworldcup.com
The ono bite is still going strong and is now the most commonly caught fish for two months running followed closely by the ahi tuna bite. The ahi ranged in size from the 100 lb.+ size in the porpoise schools and “blind strikes” out in the deep blue but the ledges and FAD buoys have been holding the smaller 15 – 40 lb. size commonly called “shibi” in Hawaii. The skipjack tuna bite was good for most of June but when the current switched a few days ago, both the tunas and the ono (for the most part) were gone. The current started moving again yesterday so those fish should be back on the ledges soon. The skipjack are just considered bait fish (aku in Hawaiian) when they’re below 10 lbs. but once they are over 10 (now called otaru of otado), they’re generally too big to use as bait and make a good eating fish if bled out and iced down. When you buy “chunk light” tuna in the can, it’s mostly skipjack that you’re getting. Skipjack makes up more than 60% of the tuna consumed in the U.S.
Although the spearfish season is nearing the end they made a pretty good showing for June. Spearfish sometimes bite all summer long and are as good an eating fish as ono or mahi mahi. Mahi mahi season is over but a few stragglers were caught this month and a few will probably be caught throughout the summer.
I didn’t do much bottom fishing in June because the ono and otado bites were so good and of the few drops I did make to the bottom, most were coming up empty. When the current switched and the trolling bite died, I set my eyes back to the bottom and found several spots holding fish but with no fresh tuna or mackerel around to be caught for bait we went with the jigs and caught a variety of fish. When the bait fish come back I’ll be going back to using live, fresh dead and cut bait like I usually do. Jigging is fun but it’s also hard work because the jigs are heavy, deep and need to be moved fast to produce a bite. Bait on the other hand is more of a waiting game and usually produces bigger fish on average. Frozen bait is an option but only works good if the fish are really hungry or desperate. Kind of like pulling that old frozen burrito out of the bottom of the freezer with the ice caked all over it. If you’re really hungry or desperate…..