We had some big tournaments this month. The Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament (HIBT) was a huge success with a huge amount of marlin and spearfish tagged and released but almost all of them were the small. The biggest marlin killed and weighed in was a 566 pounder. There were some bigger ones hooked up but the biggest tackle you can use in that tournament is 80 lb. test. For using 50 lb. test you get even more points for your fish so many of the boat only used 50 lb. test. The chance of getting a huge marlin in on that light of tackle is slim to none. The World Cup tournament was surly a disappointment for Kona. Bermuda took the prize this year so now they are tied with Kona at 6 wins each. The only saving grace is that, as I stated last month “Without a doubt, Kona is the Pacific Blue Marlin capital of the world” and that still holds true. Bermuda doesn’t catch PACIFIC blue marlin, they catch ATLANTIC blue marlin. As far as the “blue marlin” title, we’ll have to wait and see what happens next year. In the Marlin Magic tournament, just 30 minutes after the fishing started, the boat “Marlin Magic” called in the first hook-up and 45 minutes later they boated a 782 pounder. No other qualifying fish were even landed in the 2-day tournament. As for my “(not so) secret weapon” I mentioned in June’s report, on the first day of the tournament the 12 oz. Gatorade bottle was caved in by a marlin. We didn’t see it but it must have been a big one to do that. On the 2nd day my 10 oz. bottle was inhaled by a marlin that was well over 500 lbs. but the hook came out after a short run. Our only prize and surprise in the tournament was catching a 50 + lb. ono out in the deep so there was plenty of fillets to go around.
Yellowfin tuna are still biting in the blind. Otaru tuna are biting also. During all of HIBT week (no I wasn’t in the HIBT) I fished with a guy that has come to fish with me 6 years in a row now all the way from Holland. He brings lots of cool rods, reels and other tackle to test out and that really adds to our fun. We caught the biggest Otaru tuna of the year with one of his light rigs and made Kona’s “Big Fish List” with a 31 pounder. We also caught what would have been the biggest striped marlin of the year but we released it. It was an easy 130 lbs. and the biggest on the list so far this year is only 117 lbs. No big deal though, we were happy to see it swimming away strong. The mahi mahi and ono are still biting good too so we added some of those to our catch list also.
The bottom bite hasn’t been good at all but bottom fishing gear is the majority of the tackle my Holland buddy brought. We had a lot of testing to do and luckily I found a spot that consistently produced bottom fish for us. Our biggest goal though was to match or beat the 1000+ tiger shark he caught with me in ’03. There have been rumors of a couple of tigers that “live” by the green buoy right in front of the harbor. All I can say to that is a big B.S.!!! We spent hours fishing the area with live, dead and chunk bait at various times over several days. We raised a shark but it was far from being the big tiger we were looking for. The local dive shops have perpetuated the rumor and have even named the tiger shark(s). There’s no doubt that some of them have seen tigers in the area but I’ve always known that same area is a major corridor for all kinds of sharks. I’ve been fishing it for years. Tiger sharks that have been satellite tagged have all shown to be highly migratory. I once thought that there was a tiger that “lived” out by the airport when I worked underwater construction there years ago. The satellite tagging data made me realize that this too is just part of that same corridor. Hmmm, maybe I just need some more enticing bait. And adventurous divers want to volunteer?