Kona Hawaii fishing report – Sept. wrap-up.
Normally September is a very slow month for tourism but this year the number of boats out fishing was pretty good. There were two tournaments this month lasting several days each and just a little more activity in the charter fishing sector than in the past few years. So how was the bite? Pretty good! The amount of fish caught in a month is always in relation to the fishing effort. More boats fishing = more fish caught and that’s why the local catch statistics always show that the summer (peak tourism months) is the best time to go fishing in Kona. If the stats were actually based on fishing effort divided by the number of fish caught, I think September would prove to be one of the best months of the year to fish in Kona and not just for marlin. Ono and ahi (yellowfin tuna) also show a peak in the yearly catch rate during the summer months. The ahi bite remained pretty active in September for both charter and commercial fishermen. So much so that the commercial fishermen who rely on a decent price for their tuna are complaining loudly! Fuel and fishing supplies are costly so you want at least a few bucks a pound for your fish but with so many tuna on the market right now, some of the guys have just given up fishing for now ‘til the price comes back up. So here we go again…. Less fishing effort, less fish caught, price goes up so more guy fish, price goes back down, we start all over again.
Some mahi mahi, some spearfish and even a few sailfish were caught this month. August and September is usually a good time for the big skipjack tuna called “otado” or “otaru” in Hawaii and even though there are some around, they’re not here in big numbers like they usually are for this time of year. We’ve seen several big runs on these fish throughout the year in the (so called) off season so I can’t complain. The otado and the ahi are fantastic when cut into small strips and sun dried. It’s kind of like a fish jerky. I eat it almost every day and I affectionately call it “The Captains Candy”.
I spent a lot of time jigging this month. A long time fisherman and friend of mine, Arjen Waldus travels all the way from Holland to fish with me for several days. He is a tester for Shimano and always brings lots of nice new toys to play with so we had lots of fun! We did some FAD jigging and casting and came up with some good eating fish though we missed every single mahi mahi that we hooked. That was pretty frustrating! Targeting the bottom with jigs and also with cut bait got us some good eating snapper and some almaco jacks and it also got Arjen’s name and photo in the Kona paper! He caught a 100+ lb. giant trevally (also called GT and ulua) on one of the Shimano toys he brought to play with. GT rarely get over 100 pounds and while I catch more GT’s than any other captain here, I’ve only seen a few 100+ GT’s in the 16 years I’ve been targeting them. This is the 2nd GT that’s been caught with me that was way over the 100 lb. mark but just like with the first 100++ caught, I didn’t have the heart to kill it. So just like that first 100++ (that one made the cover of Hawaii Fishing News), we released it and it swam away strong but anyone who knows these fish and also sees the photo has no doubt of its 100++ status. This is Arjen’s 2nd time making it to my “Hall of Fame” page, a page on my web site where I have several state and world records along with many other fish that have made news. Some boards allow for photos so here goes;