The marlin bite remains good for Kona. So, “good” being a relative term, what exactly is a “good” bite for Kona? Any day you catch a marlin is a good day but the yearly average for Kona boats is only one marlin for every four days of fishing or a 25% chance at catching one. Some boats beat that average consistently while others consistently come under the mark but I’m talking about the yearly average of all charter fishing boats in Kona. I go into more detail about how the “average” is calculated on my fishing Season Calendar page under the chart at http://FISHinKONA.com/calendar.htm but the Kona bite is considered “good” if 50% or better of the boats going out marlin fishing are catching. We have times where it gets even better than that as we saw last month but right now Kona is still hitting above average at close to 50%.
Marlin isn’t the only thing biting right now. The yellowfin tuna are less common right now but the ono bite is good. In fact, hardly anyone is even fishing for them. That doesn’t make sense to me seeing as how the majority of the people I take out are looking for food fish to eat during their stay here. The otaru tuna are biting also and make good table fare. There’s some mahi mahi and spearfish mixed in with the Kona bite also. Make sure you check with the captain/crew of the boat you’re going out on BEFORE you book it to make sure you know their policy on keeping fish. Each boat has it’s own policies and some won’t let you keep any! While many of the boats here have veered away from that policy, I’m giving you a “buyer beware” notice. My fish keeping policy is clearly spelled out on my web site’s FAQ page.
Today is the re-opening of the bottom fishing seasonal closure. The price of snapper is very high right now so the first guys to hit the fishery hard will make the most money. I get to go bottom fishing year-round because the closure is for the type of fishing gear you use to catch certain kinds of snapper and the Hawaiian grouper. I don’t use fishing gear that is specifically designed to target snapper but I do catch them (and grouper) once in a while anyway. The most common snapper I do catch is the gray snapper and there is no closed season on those. When dropping to the bottom I’m doing more of a sport fishery than a food fishery. The most common fish I catch while dropping bait or jigs is amberjack, almaco jack, giant trevally and sharks and they get released to fight another day. At least now it’s legal to keep the few of the other kinds of snapper I end up catching. While I’m on the subject of releasing fish, just like each captain/crew has their own food fish policy, each one also has their own marlin kill policy. While most Kona boats now release the majority of their marlin, some boats still have a “kill `em all” policy. If the boats web site doesn’t make their policy clear, make sure you find it out BEFORE you book the boat. Imagine you booked your first Kona fishing adventure just assuming that you would get to keep that ono you just caught to cook up back at the condo and you also assumed that the marlin your now fighting would be released, just to find yourself horrified as you look upon the dead marlin laying next to you in the boat for the rest of the day and your thinking, “well, at least we got some tasty ono for the dinner table …… ooops! Wrong again!
See ‘ya on the water ,
Capt. Jeff Rogers