Mahi mahi tops the list as the most common catch of the month. Normally these fish are caught in the deep either “in the blind” or around the FAD’s (Fish Aggregating Device’s), or on any floating debris (called a floater here) you can find. BTW, Hawaii water is VERY clean so floating debris is rare. Putting your own floater out there might seem like a good idea but first and foremost, it’s illegal. Second, what makes a floater work is that eventually algae and other organisms grow on the floater. That attracts very small fish and that starts the whole food chain in motion so a new floater won’t attract fish. Last, have fun finding any floater that isn’t somehow anchored to the bottom. Currents and winds move objects in unpredictable patterns so going out to search for a floater that you fished on the day before will be nearly impossible to find again. That’s why we have the FAD’s. Floater Anchored Down. No, no, no. I just now made that up. The correct acronym is the one above. Same idea though. So, notice I said “normally” they’re caught in the deep and there’s a reason for that. While some are being caught in the deep, most of them are being caught near shore in the ono lane. We had a nice ono run in November and that changed recently from mostly ono being caught in the “ono lane” (40 – 60 fathoms) to mostly mahi mahi being caught in the lane.
I normally lead the Kona fishing report with the marlin bite but with an average of only one being caught every other day, there’s not much to report. There’s no doubt in my mind that the reason for this is due to a lack of fishing effort. There are few boats going out, me included. Staying in the ono lane will get you fish but the marlin don’t go in that shallow. Forty to sixty fathoms is 240 to 360 feet deep. That may seem deep enough but not for marlin. They rarely venture in closer than 600 feet. They can see the bottom at 600 feet! I told you our water was VERY clean. In fact, a submarine driver for the Hawaii Underwater Research Laboratory (HURL, how’s that for an acronym) told me he could read a newspaper without a light on down to 1000 feet.
The FAD’s are still loaded with small tuna, some mahi mahi and so many sharks that only a good angler is likely to get a fish in. Poor anglers take too much time and that gives the sharks more opportunity to take your fish. The commercial bottom fishermen would normally be hitting an area called “The Grounds” pretty hard this time of year for snapper but the sharks have been giving these fishermen a hard time too so not many are even trying. A fish that is being fought on the surface can zig zag away from an attacking shark but a fish being pulled straight up is an easy target. Again, visibility is an issue. The sharks see the hook-up, hover above the action and wait for the food to come up to them. I don’t mind the sharks at all. In fact, I love it! They put on a hard fight and it’s an easy way to get an angler onto a fish that weighs more than they do.
See ‘ya on the water ,
Capt. Jeff Rogers ,